Bear one another’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. (Galatians 6:2)
“Finding Yourself Won’t Make You Happy.” This is a wonderful article title by Niklas Goke. Goke is a great writer and even better at preparing titles. I intentionally did not read his article, because this title alone inspired me. If you are like me, you have any number of friends who spent years trying to find themselves. I had friends who thought they could find themselves through illegal drug use. I had friends who thought they could find themselves through running away from responsibility and living in a home in the woods without indoor plumbing. I had friends who thought they could find themselves making more money than everyone else they know. Sadly, each one of those seekers failed to find their long-sought-after happiness.
Personally, I believe you cannot find yourself on a mountain, in the woods, or through psychedelic drugs. God is the one who helps you find your happiness, and like so much God does; God turns it upside-down. In order to find yourself, you have to give yourself away. The more you look for yourself, the more elusive you will be to yourself. Like most things God does, you have to turn it upside-down. In order to find yourself, you have to give yourself away.
Giving yourself away isn’t as hard as it sounds. My call, in part, as a pastor, is to develop disciples. You know you’ve become a disciple of Jesus Christ when you give yourself away. The mission of our congregation is to give ourselves away. We give ourselves away when we spend time with children and their parents at Monroe Elementary School. We give ourselves away when we spend our vacation traveling to El Salvador and helping our sister church with their farming. We give ourselves away when we teach preschool age Sunday school, or visit a shut-in. There are any number of ways our church provides opportunities for our church family to give themselves away at any given time.
Jesus gave himself away on the cross. We, too, are called to sacrifice. In the sacrifice, we find ourselves. When I sacrificed my time, energy, and sleep, as a new parent, I found myself. When I spent a week with the High Schoolers on their mission trip to Alabama, I found myself. When I stayed overnight, visiting with Family Promise parents, I found myself. Today, think about ways you can find yourself, by losing yourself. If it was good enough for Jesus, it is probably a good plan for you and me.