How likely are you to go to work this week thinking about the kenotic problem, or the doctrines of hypostatic union, and communicatio idiomatum?
More likely, you may let your mind think about who you really are, as you reflect on roles you play, identities you adopt, or confusion in your soul as you apply for a new job in 2015.
What about “how long does it take me to really know who I am?” (or for that matter, what I want to do)
Perhaps you get a bit impatient with the question, crying out “let’s just get on with it, shall we?!”
If you’re all sorted, then fine. But as I advise others, I come across many who are not sure who they are, what they want to do, or even what to get on with.
It’s not necessarily paralyzing, but if you are working right now with an unease about your identity, or whether you are in the right job for your personality, and not too sure about what you want, then your stress levels will rise, while your performance and satisfaction levels will fall.
So how long does it take to figure out who you are?
We have spent thirty-four editions of WorkTalk Weekly looking at the Son of Man, attempting to see everything through his eyes. We have been reflecting on his early months, boyhood, and so-called silent years, right through to his profound understanding of his identity, culminating in the choosing of his team, engaging with opposition, to travelling his own path. We have been watching him solve the puzzle of love and work.
As I have been writing, trying to do my work to help you in yours, one theme keeps forcing its way into the narrative.
Perhaps I can put it like this: “Jesus figuring out who he was (is)”. I shouldn’t be surprised, I just re-read Son of Man 1 from 3rd February 2014, which predicts this theme. But then I did not know at that point where the writing would take me.
Well, it’s taken me to the Son of Man’s use of the words “I AM”.
As a baby, a boy, an apprentice, words were applied to him like: “he will be”, “he is”, “he shall be called”. But over time his voice resolves into “I AM”.
As this year closes, we will turn back to the baby of Bethlehem, reminding ourselves of his arrival. But before that, let me describe this turning point for you.
How long did it take him to figure out the “who am I”, and turn it into “I AM”?
Well, it looks like thirty years, and after those thirty years, it looks very intricate, complex and interconnected. I’m going to suggest to you that although there are countless meanings, he gives us twelve profound insights into his “I AM”. We will explore them in 2015.
So I’ll close this part of the Son of Man series with a few statements.
It took the Son of Man thirty years to figure out the meaning of “I AM”. You and I should not be surprised if it takes us at least thirty years to know at a deep and complex level who we are.
It would be arrogant and presumptuous of you to think that you could figure it out quickly, wouldn’t it?
Again, it clearly took him huge amounts of energy, effort, study, growth, learning, submission and prayer to figure this out. It required the power of the Spirit of God, and a vision of the Father. Surely it will for you?
Last in the current list is this: the “I AM” issues resolve the “what should I do?”, “What do I want?”, and the “what should I get on with?” issues.
Here’s a myth by the way: you don’t have to stop doing everything to explore who you are.
Doing everything can be harnessed to explore who you are.
The skills to make the journey to “I am” are the most important part, for it will empower you to focus, drop the things you shouldn’t do, do other things, do what you want, and in so doing, be the best version of who God designed you to be. That will be fruitful, sacrificial, satisfying, and meaningful.
Finding your “I am” matters. From it, all else springs.
Those long theological words at the beginning all represent human attempts to wrestle with understanding how Jesus of Nazareth was both human and divine. I am suggesting we keep looking at how he wrestled with it, because that way, our “I am-s” will be nurtured by his.
Rather like branches, nurtured on a vine.
Next week: Christmas shadows x4. Next year: I am x12
5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.
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