Rex and Mark discuss the false self in regards to the spiritual life and identity. Relying on the wisdom of Merton and Nouwen, they unpack how we construct a false self and how to discover our true identity in Christ.
Welcome to Jessup think I’m your host Mark Moore and your co host Rex Gurney. And on the show today, Rex, we’re going to talk about the false self and the true self, which is probably actually a good topic because I worked really hard and bringing my false self in here.
Yes, we’re gonna do I was hoping to interview your false self today. And that way we can hopefully get to the true self Okay, behind there the truth self that finds its identity in God,
the issue is, I don’t know what voices is it is really connected to the false self or the true self actually, well, what
we’re gonna discover that today, and and our hope for this episode is for pre listeners, that you can start to grasp these concepts as a concept in the spiritual life. And how we so easily build a life around a false self, that finds identity wrapped up in in everything society says you should be and Mrs. identity in Christ, and who we really are and who we’ve been called to be. So we hope you enjoy the show and get a lot out of it.
All right, Rex, we’re, we’re definitely are we talking to the real Rex or the false? You
know, I’m already confused. Actually. I’m hoping that by the end of this podcast, through, you know, either just self talk or perhaps seeing right to lead from you to figure out what’s what’s up
basically a counseling session. Okay, so so listeners, you’re, you’re invited into this counseling session, but we want to Dr. Mark, and we want to talk about this concepts within the spiritual life of the false self and the true self. What does that language come from Mark? And that language, really, for me kind of comes from two riders that we’ve talked a lot about on the show, Thomas Merton and Henry now, the language itself has a background in psychoanalysis, right, or psychology. And that’s really I think, where Merton and now in our are not stealing, but maybe borrowing the terms are they’re definitely re directing them. It’s kind of interesting in the 60s, which both Merton and now and would have been writing heavily in the 60s, in the 60s in psychoanalysis, false self and true self. There’s kind of this movement by a professor and a psychologist named Winnicott that our our false self was the self that that placated to everyone else around them like placated to our parents placated to teachers, whatever expectation Yeah, and just people we want the right honor form to those. And our true self was that kind of an unrestrained self, the self that wanted to scream when it wanted to. So
the wild man would be my true self and right, complacent Rex
would be my wanting to fight when I wanted to bite, you know, one two punch. And so it’s kind of interesting, that it’s it put this position on your true self is that selfie? You know, society has been telling you to, to contain
it historically. I mean, you can actually look at that philosophically, because right, I think a lot of the philosophically speaking, the whole romantic movement was sort of like that, like, you know, Rousseau and the noble savage and civilization has corrupted us. So really, right, you know, and then that sort of find yourself wild man movement, which actually impacted even some churches to where Oh, yeah, really, we all have to go out and put more paint on our faces, and do all sorts of politically incorrect things in order to, right somehow connect with that with, interestingly enough, I would say connect with someone else’s expectation of a false,
right. Yeah, someone else’s vision of Riot should be exactly. And yeah, and that’s what was they’re saying. So I think Merton and now when took that, took that terminology, and said, Well, that doesn’t seem to solve any problems either. Like, and there’s no question that there’s maybe some truth, right. We have to, you know, we kind of hide ourselves in order to maybe placate you know, if we didn’t think so rowdy would be having this pod. Right. Yeah. And but, but I think we’re Winnicott missed it right. And coming from a completely secular position, is the idea that the idea that we find our true self is this unrestrained self, but it’s completely outside of the realm of God, or identity in God. And it’s still kind of this vision of what someone else right maybe a vision of what Winnicott thinks you should be exactly
and yeah, and disconnected from what I would call Under the real world, but honestly, you know if I’m so wrapped up in my false self perhaps I’m so you know, in the matrix that I don’t even recognize what is real anymore. Right. So but you know, that’s a that’s a psychological and philosophical cul de sac there. So
yeah. And that’s maybe one of them too is that with with Winnicott, it would be hard to know, what is your false self and true self? Right? If you don’t have a concept of the imago dei, yeah, where you go with and just as unrestrained, unrestrained, selfish, that being your true self, it’s like, well, if we all live like that, society would be
better, I guess, in some way, from an evolutionary standpoint, if, you know, that could sort of make if one was into that some sort of sense because, yeah, no, we, if what we call culture and society is no sort of a construct anyway. That just helps us to survive. Yeah, but those are artificial sort of things that help us survive. And so the real self re, what he was saying the wild man, yeah,
but it doesn’t seem that the opposite is that if we were just all selfish and acted on our impulses, then it would be better said it would be like, yeah, it’d be like Viking period. Right?
Do you think that this is somewhat what john Dominic Crossan was kind of talking about when he wrote his book on the historical Jesus and Jesus as sort of a wandering cynic in Palestine, you know, because the cynics were sort of the anti social, anti cultural anti constraint. Yeah, you know, yeah, I’m working against all the, you know, mores of society. And I, you know, honestly, I guess you could look at Jesus if one wanted to see right as that cross and definitely definitely does. But yeah, in I guess, in his estimation, and I have to admit it, even though I have that book on my shelf, and I have actually heard him speak once. It’s a long book, and I haven’t actually read the thing. So my assumption is, though, in some sense, that would be a good thing about Jesus, I guess in his estimation, yeah. Sort of as you know,
one there’s there is a positive in what Winnicott was saying in the sense of and this is kind of what Merton and now and we’re gonna say is we do need to question our the society and who society is wanting us to be right so that so there’s a little bit of truth to that I definitely think cynicism right but if it’s just radical cynicism right or unrestrained that all of us living for ourselves doesn’t you know, and that’s where we’re Merton is able to change this and say that it’s not just this you need to find this true wild self, but rather recognize your false self as a fabricated self as a fabricated self that is actually driven by social compulsions. And and when we have to live up to social compulsions on on at what is definitions of success? What is definitions of maybe even masculinity, definitions of femininity,
and this has implications often negative to actually your spiritual life. I right. Know what he’s talking about. And we probably be sharing some stories about that in this podcast. Right. Right. And, and, you know, we know that our stories are not unique. Mm hmm.
Exactly. And the, the, the idea, I think of the false self being this fabricated self again, it’s this, I often think of it as this external facing self, it’s the self that we, we want others to think we are or face to the world. Yeah. And, and then we in many ways, it’s disconnected from finding our identity in God. Finding our identity away from what and notice in the church this can happen the church can put can put you know, compulsions on Sir, we think we just Okay, let’s put up the facade. And everyone can see us on Sunday and be like, hey, they’re doing great because they’re here, they’re smiling. And we know, hey, check that box off, and everyone thinks it’s good. And, and so we’re able to hide behind this and I have this. It’s actually a quote a little bit longer quote. I’m working on my side podcast, which is going to be me reading Henry now and books. Okay. It’s going to be storytime with me now and
hopefully modulating not to put us to sleep.
Right, exactly. That’s right. This is from Nouwen’s the way of the heart. And he’s actually talking about Merton and Merton’s view. of the false self, okay? And he says this he says, Why do we children of the light so easily become conspirators with the darkness? The answer is quite simple our identity our sense of self is at stake. secularity is a way of being dependent on responses of our society. The secular or false self is the self which is fabricated, as Thomas Merton says by social compulsions compulsive is indeed the best adjective for the false self, it points to the need for ongoing and increasing affirmation, which I think is a good description of the false self. And I mean, it’s really a great description of anytime we struggle with finding identity, right? It’s never satiated, ever. No, ever, right? It is. I need constant affirmation, right? Yeah. And so for ongoing and increasing affirmation, who am I, I am the one who is liked, praised, admired, disliked, hated or despised, when we can even find our false identity in the fact that we are hated by others, right? That we are disliked by others. Whether I am a pianist, businessman or a minister, what matters is how I am perceived by my world. And then these are some great Wednesdays he hits home and he’s writing this. He published this in the early 80s 1981. He says, Well, if being busy is a good thing, that I must be busy. I would say that’s still true for our culture today. being busy like you never, you never go up to someone and say, Hey, you know, what are you been up to lately? And they’re just like, absolutely nothing. Just been laying around. We’d be like, What is wrong with this person? Right? Like, we’re in and even like, when some Yeah, when someone comes over to your house, you’re like, Oh, yeah, I was just doing stuff. It was I was definitely wasn’t sitting on the couch.
It’s interesting. When you see people do that, you know, you you understand that they’re just it’s like they just suddenly started getting interested in something or you know, something. Yeah, it’s pretty bright.
But being I mean, it’s and think when we meet people and I love that now when is often going to bring this into a ministry context. But you know, at ministers conference, sometimes people we lead often with all man so busy doing this, doing this doing this, and it’s like, because that’s something our culture, that’s even something our Christian culture value.
I talked about that and Christian perspective, actually, and, you know, I don’t have unlimited stories. So I hope I haven’t given before in the couple years, we’ve been doing this, but yeah, you know, an acceptable question to ask at any sort of social gathering or party or anything that you’re at at that you are around a lot of people you don’t know, but you feel that you need to somehow, you know, be sociable. Yeah, yeah. Small Talk. You just have to write Yeah. And so, you know, unacceptable question, eventually. And it usually happens often, it’s not the very first question, but it’s within the first couple is is what do you do? Yeah. You know, what you don’t ask is probably the most important question and that would be Who are you but if I went up to somebody, you know, and said, Tell me who are you they would be like calling the police Yeah, maybe like I’m not talking that guy. And the interesting thing is what’s actually the most important question but of course I’m socialized into never asking that right and I wouldn’t I you know, I’d call the police on myself if I was doing
and and we make often make value judgments of people based on that certainly. Oh, I do this. Oh, wow. Well, we post she has we both have been in the ministry and you know, the hall we know how to go well, we know you know, especially when we meet people outside of church. I know how to kill the conversation. What do you do? I’m a pastor. Oh, wow. Oh, great, you know, and then immediately leave and it’s awesome. Um, but yeah, so we have what do you do and we’re gonna get to that, because that finding, finding our identity and what I do is something that the false self is very drawn to. So, being busy is a good thing, then I must be busy. If having money is a sign of real freedom, then I must claim my money. Wow. If knowing many people proves my importance, I will have to make the necessary contacts, the compulsion manifests, manifests itself in lurking fear of failing and a steady urge to prevent this by gathering more of the same more work, more money more friends. And then he gives us two things from from now on is going to give them to us that I hadn’t really thought of and then they just keep coming coming up in my life and coming up in my understanding of, of enemies of the spiritual life. He says these very compulsions are at the basis of the two main Enemies of the spiritual life, anger and greed. And, and it’s this idea of when he goes on to say when my sense of self depends on what others say of me. Anger is a quite natural reaction to a critical word. Right?
And you can always tell, you know, what’s what’s important in your false self. And this has happened to me a lot. And it’s only been, I mean, I’ve kind of vaguely been aware of it for. It’s only been recently in the past couple years that I’ve really noticed it and tried to do something, you know, about it, or let God basically heal that part of me. Right. But you know, it’s, it’s what, what just makes you angry? Yeah. You know, in interactions with people, what makes you angry, what what in what they do is a threat to you somehow that would cause this sort of anger response. And it’s almost always a threat to a self that’s constructed. That’s really not you. But you know, and of course, the insidious thing about all of this is most of us are experts at doing this. And we’ve been doing it so long that it feels like us, right? Even if it isn’t, it feels like us. And so we play to what we think is us. And you know, and we actually don’t like the US that we’re playing too often. And so we’ll invest in all the things that are, you know, going to want to deal with that right, without actually dealing with the root issue that that that was never us in the first place.
Yeah. And Merton said, I mean, that we are, we are very susceptible to illusions, especially illusions that we hold dear. The illusions we hold dear. Yeah. And dare mess with that. Right. And, and, and I’ve just been really thinking about from from now. And his idea that the two main enemies of the spiritual life, anger and greed and other places, now in writing, he says, anger and lust, and so he really, he really brings lust and greed in that same getting is helpful. Because often, you know, in the Christian world, when we think of lust, we only think of sexual lust. But really, lust is is so much more than that. It’s this, it is this greed for more. And, and, and particularly I like how now in attaches both of those to identity. So if a if a critical word, if I find my identity and what others say about me, and someone has a critical word. Oh, I get angry, if someone questions what I just did, right, or questions, did you do that correctly? And of course, this
happens at the end of every semester, Mark, because we have to read student evaluations. Right. Right. Yeah, I have actually, this is, you know, I have been, you know, I mean, I’ll read. I mean, not that this happens all the time, but occasionally happens, that I’ll read a bunch of positive student responses. Right, right. And there’ll be one negative one, that actually you even know, makes no sense. I mean, how could these even be in the same class, honestly, right. Right. But but it’s the negative one that just I mean, it’ll it’ll almost put me into a spin out in depression, and I’ll obsess over that negative thing. Yeah. Like, you know, I couldn’t, I couldn’t get everybody. Right. You know, but that’s interesting, though. So my performance, I guess, yeah, you know, couldn’t get everybody in this like, so really, that’s what I, you know, got into teaching for? Yeah. I’ve actually learned that if I’m planning a trip, like in the summer, summer vacation, yeah. And the trips, like, you know, in May or something like that. I will not read my student evaluations. And we made a mistake. A few years ago, when I went to Europe. And you know, it was one of the things that we’ve been planning for a while and yada, yada. And I made the mistake of reading student evaluations. Right. Before we I know, it was like on the airplane. Well, no, but right before and it was just like, you know, and then, interestingly enough, saw obsessing about this. And I mean, I had a wonderful time, but it could have been a better time. Right? I hadn’t obsessed about this. Yeah. But then I reread them when I came back and was like, honestly, you know, this wasn’t that bad. And I don’t know why I put my so I don’t even you know, since I know I’m gonna misinterpret everything. I’ll leave those misinterpretations until I get back. Yeah.
Yeah. But we I mean, in it. And in terms of the spiritual life, I mean, again, it’s this identity. We we even when we say in the church, we kind of know the churchy word or the phrase, I find my identity in Christ. Right? We know that. But when when we get angry or depressed or something because of a critical word that should cause us to say, oh, why am I anger and now Oh, and this is where discernment comes in. And this is where it is like, God help me see this right. Right friend. They can help, you know, can gently help is like, Oh, I’m angry because that’s actually because I find my identity in everyone thinking I’m the best of this or I’m perfect or, or even just competent, you know anything, right? And if someone has a critical word, this, and now I’m not angry because I’ve built up this false self and I have to protect it. Right? Right. And right, and then greed. So now and this is something that now in is known for, to talking about identity and false identity. He has three things that we often and they really do kind of sum up where we find our false identity. I, I am what I can do. Right? I am what I have. Right? And I am what others say about me, or think about me, the trifecta. Yeah. And, and I actually use that in the freshmen intro class. Every fall semester, been teaching for almost a decade now. And every time every semester I teach it, I’m like, oh, man, and I tell this, it’s like, this doesn’t get easier when you get older. You may be hoping, and it doesn’t, and sometimes
you don’t even I mean, because the identity, the false self that you’ve constructed somehow, you feel is a positive thing and a good thing, because there’s a lot about our false selves that we love, and we actually feel are noble. And maybe they are actually they’re just, you know, for the wrong reason, right. And then when, when that’s taken away for some reason, then you kind of don’t know why you suddenly feel rudderless. Yeah. And I, we were talking about that a little bit before the podcast, I realized that happened. When my boys finally left home, my two sons, you know, finally both of them in college and then out of college and living their own lives. And I had a pretty much a non relationship with my father, and almost everything that was relational was negative. And so my parenting style was everything that my father did, I would do the exact opposite. Right. And so I had I had, you know, I guess constructed this ideal dad, of course, this right, talk to my son. That’d be the next episode. Right. But but yet I, you know, I thought I’m a pretty good father. And I’m doing I’m doing a right. Yeah, yeah. And you know, whether that’s true or not. But then when they left home, I just, you know, my wife actually had to really get on me about that, because I just felt lost and rudderless. And I didn’t know why. Because I still had a job that I loved. I still had a home, there was no breakup in the family, there’s no, you know, I mean, you know, I thought I already dealt with my midlife crisis by growing my hair long for a little bit. I didn’t want to do the other things, because I can’t afford it. And I have morals. Right, you know, but at least I could do that. And then, you know, the hair doesn’t look the same when you’re five in gray weight. And it did. You know, so I quickly nixed that. I have some embarrassing pictures. Oh, yeah. That we might have to but but Instagram, I felt lost. And and it’s actually my wife that pointed out to me. So I was so invested in in being the great dad and doing everything right, that that when actually everything almost went right. I mean, you know, it’s like, failure to launch is failure to launch. Right. Successful launches are launches. Yeah, exactly. But that also means that suddenly that you’re right. I was I was I was sort of lost. And I didn’t know why. And, of course, I, you know, took it out on the wrong people, right on myself and my wife and cetera. And I didn’t even know why I was doing that. I was feeling that. And she pointed it out. And as with much that my wife points out about me, I immediately recognized that actually, that was true. Right? And that surprised me, because I hadn’t I had actually not thought about that.
Yeah. Yeah. And when I think that story is, brings up a good point that things we can find our false identity and aren’t necessarily bad, right? Like, that’s a great thing, to be a father and to and to want to be a good father
and to be a good good pastor. And you’re bringing bring people to Jesus and as you’re using you and things were, you know, yeah, but yet it’s,
yeah, yet, if that is if the function alone is where you find the identity when things change, because they’re going to change, because, yeah, the goal was that they would grow up and move out. Right, right. He would actually be unhealthy. Exactly, not and you maintain this good father and they’re in They’re 50s and they haven’t moved and you’re making their lunches every day and right like that would that would be unhealthy. And so that change element and I think that is the the danger, especially if finding identity and what you do, right? When that maybe as we age to that is what happens when it’s like, Oh, I can’t do the same things I could do 20 years ago, and we have this kind of identity crisis. That’s why people get lost when they retire. Right. Right. And, and, and again, it’s, it’s reaffirming, that we have a deeper, truer self, right? That has an identity that is unchanging, right. And, and that even though these, these functions or roles may change our identity, and it’s actually having a stronger inner true identity, that then allows you to, to be a better father. And
so, since I’m so wrapped up and I still am, I think because I have several false self that I think I’m still indebted to how what do I What do I do help me here? Yeah, actually, Mark helped me, you know, what, how do I, you know, false self, maybe for good reasons, but still false self? I recognize that and yeah, and I recognize that, you know, a false self is well, ipso facto false. So how, how do I, I know, I know, my true identities. And Jesus, I understand that, you know, and I believe that you pass a test in Sunday school, Brian, but how do I suddenly connect that into my heart in my head?
Yeah. I mean, we’re, we’re both now in in Merton go, which I think it’s been really helpful for me and Dallas, Willard and others have picked us up is this is where the role of the spiritual disciplines come into play, particularly disciplines that that help you rely less on what others say about you. Right. So now in particularly points out the discipline of solitude, you remove yourself for a period of time from others, in order to just be you and God. And, and, and to be in that moment to where you can’t be propped up what others are saying about you. You can’t be torn down by what others say about you. But you have to kind of come face to face with God, saying, okay, who am I, beyond all of these things beyond what I do? beyond what I have beyond what others think about me? I think that’s what is important, even in this this past, this past Lent. There’s a handful of people in our congregation when you talk about giving some hope for land, right? And I would say a handful, gave up social media, which and I’m sure there’s kind of two things at play that was maybe happening with social media. One is a anger often comes in, because you see people posting join water, they think and I can’t believe they believe that right? And then you kind of have to ask yourself, and I would have to catch with them. Like, why am I angry right now? Like, cuz you’re right there. Yeah, exactly. Obviously. So anger, but then also think about what we post on social media. And then we want Yeah, even out there anyway. Yeah, we want, we want this, we want the likes we want. And I think maybe for a period being like, Oh, I’m going to, I’m going to remove myself from that. So that I can really talk to God and say, Wow, where am I finding my app?
So what might be the link between? I mean, I’ll, you know, while we’re talking about this, all sorts of things are spinning around, I think, yeah, both of us and probably with you all who are listening to this, right, because we all are in the same boat. But what what might some people talk about the curated self Hmm. And, and I would assume that the curated self is always a false self.
Yeah. Right. It has to be if it wasn’t you are not who you are right putting together Yeah. The and I think it’s, it’s really trying to we need those times of solitude, those times of prayer, those times of silence so that we can talk to God and it has been for me in those moments. When when God helps Turn the light bulb on of like, hey, wow, you’re really your anger issue with this person or you’re even if the anger doesn’t have to be outward explosive is right. It can be inward turmoil. The while that’s really because you’re, you’re scared of them thinking you’re not as good as you think you are. Fill in the blank.
Yeah, yeah. And because you’re afraid somehow, yeah. Because you’re so indebted to the false self that you actually are that.
Right. Right. And without that, and what’s funny is sometimes our false self is reinforced in a positive way, right? You know, I mean, like, because maybe as a kid, you know, as I was the youngest of four, and so I was able to kind of observe my siblings, older siblings rebel, and I was able to see them get in, you know, fights with my parents. And so it was easier for me to just be like, oh, hide any of that. And then my parents were like, Oh, yeah, marks the good was the golden boy. And, and I was able to, and and then that’s affirmed. And then which is good, right? I mean, like, it’s everything is good that there’s, there’s, you know, affirmation, like, hey, you’re not being openly rebellious. But then that causes me maybe to then stuff my rebellion more and just hide it better. I didn’t, when I was less rebellious. I just got better at hiding it because I was keeping up this facade, and
I assume our culture is not going to help us much because, right, honestly, I think almost everything in our culture, at least everything that is trying to sell itself to me is marketing itself to my false self.
Right. Right. Right. And it’s, it’s have more of this and you’ll be happier, you know, have more of this and people will think you are successful people will say good things about you. Right? And, and this is where bringing in and now and brings in Romans 12. Two, which is a great, a great passage and and we often know it may be an IV or you know, if you grew up memorizing the King James, sometimes I’ll slip into the King James, from childhood. After all, Jesus spoke that so he definitely spoke Elizabeth in English, Victorian English, even though the Shakespearean English even though it’s probably more of what it was,
are you are you are you marketing yourself to your false so that we know that you know, arriving different? Oh, yeah, I was impressed. I’m impressed.
Thank you. I’m trying the Indian IV, right. It’s like do not conform to the patterns of this world. And, actually, no one who’s a Catholic priest and bow and Merton was a Catholic monk. Now in quotes out of the Jerusalem Bible, which was a kind of mid century kind of Catholic translated the RSV Well, yeah, yeah. Yeah. And it was a little more like, reader friendly.
Kind of a link, like the Living Bible slash with the RSV for Catholics would be the Jews. Yes.
Yeah. Right. And, and the translation of it hit me in just a different way. And it says this, do not model yourselves on the behavior of the world around you. But let your behavior change, modeled by your new mind. This is the only way to discover the will of God and know what is good, what is what it is that God wants, and what is the perfect thing to do. I kind of liked that, like, yeah, and often we think of the behavior of the world around us, as you know, we have all you know, sex, drugs, rock and roll. But actually, it’s this behavior of propagating the false self right, with success with finding identity in what your ability, finding your identity and what you have, and finding your identity and what others say about you like that. That is the message you get, whether overtly or kind of subversively, in, in culture, maybe both within and outside of the church. And this idea of not changed a renewed mind. Don’t model yourself after that behavior. But model yourself after this, this new mind, which is a new mind that that understands. Well, I don’t have to impress anybody. Right. I don’t have to
because the career reverse already. You know, you. You’re his favorite, Mark. Yeah. And, you know, thank you. So is everyone else. Right? Which actually what I think about that sometimes it’s like, That’s not fair. Yeah, you’re like, the favorite. I mean, I’m okay if if a few other people are that way, but not this person. Understand that at all. But yeah, they are.
And I think part of it within within the spiritual life is to continue to remind ourselves, wow, God, God sees us. Beyond all of those things, right. God loves us completely. We, and and God is calling us to see others the way he sees them. Right? We even have to retrain our mind not to look at people based on and make any judgment based on what they do, what they have, what we hear others saying about them,
you know, oftentimes when you’re growing up, people would would use, you know, God sees you as sort of a negative sort of thing to keep you in line. You’ve got the clipboard, but honestly, you know, when God sees you, he sees your real self. That’s, that’s, that’s not a, you know, that’s actually a good thing. Right? Right. Even if it’s terrifying, it’s a good thing, because he sees who you really are. And yeah,
yeah. And it’s in maybe for too long, when you when you do get wrapped up in building up this false self, it does become, does become difficult to even recognize that right? And, and that is where being in a Christian community, and having people close to you, that can reaffirm to you like, Hey, no, I, I love you, sweetie, regardless of any of those things, right. And, and, and have friends and have spouses that can say, hey, maybe, maybe you’re, you’re feeling this way, because you found identity in this role. And now the role has changed, right. And, and, and it’s helpful to be reminded of that, and, and we so desperately need these times with God, that we are separated from anything else, that we can hear from God, and that we can hear we are loved, right? Because that’s now ends, like conclusion is, is that your true identity is that you are the beloved of God, you are the beloved. And, and, and starting there. And now that actually frees me to, to respond to others with compassion, right with empathy, because I don’t have to prop up the false self. Now what happens is, it still creeps back up, right? And, and in a secular setting, and in the church, right? And addict at a Christian university, it’s so easy for us to, to know what other Christian university exactly this ever happens, it will adjust, it’s easy to know, oh, these are the markers that people are looking for. And I just present that right. And while we need to, but it is it is a rare thing that we sometimes like, with our true selves, it can be a little overwhelming. And if someone comes up to you, and it just presents, you know, their true self, you know, you’re going like, Whoa, we just met, we’re, we’re because you realize, Wow, we have just gone to another level in the relationship. And so it is important to be in community and to you know, you don’t have to, you know, take everyone to the deepest part of who you are in every conversation. But it’s but it’s important to recognize, what am I constructing, you know, identity on? Yeah,
I heard, I don’t know who wrote this, and maybe some of our listeners will recognize the quote, but, um, someone talked about, you know, people that are so just filled with integrity. And so in tune with as much as you can be in tune with your true selves, that when you have a conversation with them, you feel that actually you haven’t aged any. And I actually loved, like, the time that you know, that you spent with them, actually, you know, was was total Kairos time and non Kronos time now, you know, I don’t see how you can possibly do that if you’re just operating out of your false self. And I want to be that guy. Yeah, I’m not that guy. But I want to be that guy, where people actually feel that, you know, something timeless has happened. And I’m talking with him, I feel I have an age. nobody’s asking me anything. He’s not selling anything.
Right. You know? Yeah. And it’s that, you know, and what’s interesting is, I think within our culture, there’s this cry for authenticity. And that’s really what that cries for, too. You know, and it’s funny like we how we started, you know, we’ve tried to answer that by well, being authentic is just whatever your impulse is, and just acting on it. It’s like well, we can we can look from the 60s till now practice to see what happened with that. Yeah, it didn’t didn’t pan out, like, like when it caught thought they would pan out. And so we know that that’s like we understand to for us, being in this biblical storyline, we understand that we are in a broken world, right. So our impulses our rights are our misguide. are going to be broken. Even if they feel natural on any of these other things that have, you know, adjectives that are placed upon them, we have to realize, well, we can’t just trust them, right? I can’t, and we can’t build our identity on those either. Again, it’s this relationship with God, and understanding that he loves us, in that giving us that solid foundation, and that integrity, to then be able to relate to others. And I don’t have to get mad if they make a critical word of me because I’m solid. And I don’t have to be greedy for more when I see that they have good things, right? Because I’m okay. Yeah. And but it’s because I’m finding, you know, and I’m saying all those things as I want to do that, right. Not that I wish those things, right. These are aspirational.
Yeah. But you know, we should aspire to them. Because actually, when we are aspiring to that, I really feel that we are aspiring to our, our true selves. And our false selves. Yeah. Right. The reason why we want to be that even if we don’t know exactly what that that is, because we’ve been so alienated from the that for so long, because of our constructions of our false self. The reason we would even, like, you know, think that that would be a good thing is because it is a good thing. And it’s a good thing, because we were created by our Creator to be that.
Yeah. And that seems to be where more posts headed in this idea of new creation. Right? Right. That that is the new creation is is that getting rid of that false self? Right and, and being acquainted reacquainted with our true self? And so we hope, you know, over over the course of this episode, you know, maybe you even brought up like, wow, yeah, maybe? Maybe a good way to approach it is, oh, how? How do I find my identity? Do I find my identity and what I do? Maybe it is a role that I play, father, mother, my occupation? Maybe it’s my enneagram number, I don’t know. Could be anything really good? What I have my possessions and we, I mean, there are culture that is that’s, that’s based on that right? And then especially what others say about me, right?
And you know, the Christian faith is always countercultural in some ways. Yeah. Always. Yeah. And this is an example of that.
Right? And we’re called to be that and called to find our true selves, in how God sees us in His love. Thank you for listening to Jessup. Think Be sure to follow us on Twitter at Jessup think we would love to hear your thoughts on the episode and engage with any questions you have. Our aim is to provide a framework for further reflection and deeper exploration of these important topics. You can also help the show by leaving a review on iTunes these reviews help the podcast reach new listeners. Until next time, I’m Mark Moore and this is Jessup.
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