“When you get your, ‘Who am I?’, question right, all of your,’What should I do?’ questions tend to take care of themselves”
Who am I?
I am a father, a husband, a son, a friend, a colleague, a minister, an author, a Mets fan, a listener, and a feeler. I am an introvert most days, funny to some, a messy and improving cook, a person of faith, and very human.
At the core of who I am is God’s beloved.
My wife’s grandfather, when he speaks of his wife, who is with God for over 20 years, still calls her “his beloved.”
There is such an intimacy and affection to this descriptive title.
The term beloved is found at the start of Jesus’ ministry when he is baptized in the Jordan. “You are my beloved on whom my favor rests,” God says from the heavens (Mark 1:11).
Henri Nouwen writes the following in Parting Words about our own place as God’s beloved:
“Prayer, then, is listening to that voice—to the One who calls you the Beloved. It is to constantly go back to the truth of who we are and claim it for ourselves. I’m not what I do. I’m not what people say about me. I’m not what I have. Although there is nothing wrong with success, there is nothing wrong with popularity, there is nothing wrong with being powerful, finally my spiritual identity is not rooted in the world, the things the world gives me. My life is rooted in my spiritual identity. Whatever we do, we have to go back regularly to that place of core identity.”
At our core identity, who we are is God’s beloved. We are intimately loved. This is enough, even when we do not realize it.
We seek fulfillment elsewhere. In the words and affection of others, in social status, the number on our paycheck and in our bank account, in vacations, in pursuits of dreams, in where we live and what we drive.
Within this all, and beyond this all, there is God and God’s love. It is enough. And as Richard Rohr reminds us, once we claim our identity, the subsequent questions of “what should I do” tends to take care of itself.