Who Am I?

Who Am I?

I am not all I want to be,

Not all that I have been

Nor all I think I am;

I am not all that

At all.

If not these, though

Then what am I?

I am, that’s what!


When what I am

Tries to do

What I am not,

Then what?

Everyone loses:

A house divided against itself

Cannot stand.


James 4:1-12


Humility requires us to explore who we are, and who we are not. When we stretch beyond our capacity, even for the sake of doing good, it often backfires on us: we over-exert serving others, for example, and then have little energy for our families. We damage our bodies by pushing them too hard; we get caught up in the stress of the world and end up exhausted and miserable. I have had seasons like these, and they definitely cause “fights and quarrels” (v. 2)!

Currently, I am in a season of letting go: letting go of parenting; of many things I did because I thought I should; of what everyone else was doing. I also let go of a secure job to follow a calling into spiritual direction. I am less fit, less accomplished, and sometimes less eager to please. I have stronger boundaries around time for sabbath, silence, and meditation, which mandates a slower pace and more no’s than yes’s: saying no in this case is accepting my limited capacity, and trusting it is enough.

It is very scary to come before God and ask, “What is my life’s work now?”, because then you must wait in the unknown; it’s pretty faith-stretching. But the alternative—being too busy to take the time to think about it—is even more frightening when we hear that we are either for God or against Him, and if we have “wrong motives” (v. 3) in our prayers they will not bear fruit.

Some of the most challenging words I ever read were from this prayer of Thomas Merton’s: “Set me free from the laziness that goes about disguised as activity when activity is not required of me, and from the cowardice that does what is not demanded, in order to escape sacrifice”.

We are all in different seasons in our lives, but wherever we are at, may we all be humble enough to admit that we are not all that, but rather, take time to discern what sacrifices God is asking of us, and where our “activity” is in fact keeping us from humbly following our individual calling from God.

Kathy Sperling                                                                                                                                                                         June, 2017

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