Are We Living from the Culture or God’s Gaze?
CHASING THE WIND Too often we forget who we are. In our current media saturated culture we are constantly bombarded with images and messages telling us who we should be and what we need to be happy. But our hearts tell us otherwise. We can spend a lifetime chasing after success, achievement, and stuff, trying hard to look good and play the part, but underneath the surface the scene is different. Beyond the laughter and fleeting pleasures, we’re actually feeling unsettled, empty and alone—longing for so much more. We ask, “Where’s the purpose and meaning? I thought I would be happier.” We tend to silence these deeper desires and keep ourselves busy and distracted, wondering, “Am I the only one who feels this way?”
THE GAZE: FINDING ME…IN HIM There is another way. I shed the masks and become who I really am. It’s that simple. Our deepest and truest identity lies in the unshakable gift of our Baptism, the reality that we have been made God’s children. It is not something I can earn or merit; it is a pure gift, and no one can take it away from me. The truth is, God is my loving Father, who is constantly looking upon me with love, awaiting me, thirsting for my love. It is within this loving gaze that I discover who I really am and find the courage to live in freedom.
STEPPING AWAY / TIME WITH HIM By living within His gaze, I find the courage to step away from all the subliminal messages and currents of the culture and make time for Him—daily. I leave fear behind, and I find time to listen to Jesus speak truth into the lies I have believed about myself. I give Him the space to reveal His personal, unconditional love for me—the real me, with all my limitations and weaknesses, and let Him love me there, to show me those special places in my heart that make me uniquely me, those things that make me unrepeatable and loveable in His eyes. Most fundamentally, my identity is not something I create, it is a gift that I receive.
THINKING BIG. TOGETHER. As I spend time living within God’s loving gaze, I begin to look at myself and the world differently. We look together— with His eyes. My goals begin to change, no longer limited, fleeting, and superficial, I dream big. We think big, together. My goals go beyond tomorrow, they are eternal. The most mundane can become exciting, for He weaves everything into His eternal plan. My world begins to change from ME to YOU. And I forget myself and all my self seeking habits. I begin really living for others. My choices and decisions are now not rooted in what others think about me, but in truth, in what delights the Lord and is most loving and life-giving to the other. And in this process, I find myself. I find my identity and lasting happiness — and the profound meaning of my life.
Originally printed in IMPRINT Magazine Winter 2016.