The Gift of Self

When we are born a millions things have got to be taking place our body, at least I think so. And not the least of these is an awareness that something big just happened. Think about it, we were really up, to that moment, very comfortable. Didn’t have to do a thing except hang out and grow. Everything we needed came to us.

Then, all of a sudden bright lights and noise; talk about a traumatic shock. We’re very rudely brought into a living world that we didn’t know existed. The act of our natural birth is a one-time affair; another individual – me - makes that grand entrance into the world.

Word goes out to family and friends that you are here. Specs are given out; height, weight, and of course gender. Your uniqueness is stamped with a name that follows you for the rest of your life. We have become an individual, and we spend our early growing years attempting to identify with someone, or something so we can see ourselves and know where to go in our lives.

You have seen this type of action carried out in different ways dozens of times. A little guy sitting on a couch next to his dad will attempt to duplicate dad’s posture. Dad sees what he is doing and takes his son through all sorts of contortions. The son catches on and they both end up on the floor all tangled up laughing at each other. The son was saying I like my dad and I want to be just like him.

Our meter is running. We grow and life seems to get more complicated.

We come to realize that we are physically different from others; then another shocker. We don’t all think alike. In fact we all have our own way of going through this thought processing, and this is where the self comes in.

No one else can lay claim to it (me) because I am an individual a “self”. I can do what I want. Check this out; If I want to roll left I can, or right, I can, pretty cool. Maybe we will just sit for a while or pick something up. If we want to stick our finger in our mouth we do. It’s just that simple.

We continue to learn. We act, interact and mature into an adult while consciously making these day-to-day decisions required of life. Decisions collected through all the physical and mental sensors this most wonderful unique entity called me possesses.

Obviously the environment we are introduced to plays a big role in this identity process. We find, mostly through experience, that we are responsible for our own actions, but to whom? Society, our family, associates? Yes, to all of them because we are responsible to the society we live in. Yes there is a social order that requires us to pay our debt, and that payment can be in many forms depending on the requirements of that society.
What about that part of me that evaluates good, bad and all that is in between? It shapes such things as:

The very things that determine how I am going to act. Did the ability to evaluate come from my environment? No, it didn’t. This is a gift that God gave each and every one of us. Like it or not He is the giver. And he gave it with no strings attached.

Yea, but I’m not a Christian and I do not believe in God, or any of those other religious things either, well maybe something. I am a good person though. I don’t kick my spouse, kids, dog or cat. I help my neighbors and all that stuff. Ok, just where did you get the desire to be that way? You pick it up from someone else; great, but listen to me, you still have to consciously make that decision. It was a self made one. No one came up to you and said you must do it. Even if your spouse said you must do it. It was still your choice. A choice based on the probability of what the consequences would be. (At least we hope so).

In the Bible there is a verse that talks about when a tree falls there it lays. In other words when you do something there it lays. That laying could come in many shapes and sizes affecting such things as career, social interactions, physical well being, personal relationships, and self esteem. How do you know you are making the right decision? Obviously many of them are based on your knowledge, skills and abilities. Many are just gut feelings and instinctive reactions.

Where did this knowledge come from that we draw on? Can we sort of do a block diagram for a minute? In one square we write down all the knowledge used in our profession, and that could be a very long list. Now let’s take another square and write down what we know about how to relate with our self and those around us.
Here is a short list to get you started:
The Good
love joy peace patience kindness goodness gentleness self-control

The Bad
envy, jealousy, anger, lust, hate, fighting, greed, criticism

Who tells you about all these and how to respond to them? “Everything is beautiful inwayyyy, la da,da,da dada

It’s Friday, you’re driving home after a great day at work, sunshine, just right temp, thinking about all the great things your go to do over the weekend. All of a sudden this “jerk” cuts you off. Not one of those oops things, this is a blatant disregard for your well being. The gloves come off and the inside of you car receives a new color code. You signal to the other driver the grade that you just graduated from, and in doing so find out you both have something in common; that person just graduated from the same grade. Temps cool down, and the headliner in your car returns to its original color while you get back to the business of driving (total time for this scenario, about 15 seconds). Then it starts; the hot wash, the Monday morning quarterbacking. You lost it, big time.

Just how deep is our love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness and self-control? Just whose shelf did we pull all this information from? These dear words are called the “fruits of the spirit”. Yes, they are in the Bible. You can use someone else’s interpretation for them if you want (just can’t get away from this self thing) or you can go directly to the source. Course you could say to hell with all that fruit of the spirit stuff and stick with envy jealousy, anger, lust, hate, fighting, greed and criticism. (You will find that list in the Bible as well).

The good list the bad list. What side will you be using? In all probability you, just like everyone else, will find yourself (there’s that word again) diving in and out of both to a greater or lesser extent. Let’s all hope it’s always to the lesser in the Bad List

Well, you have the gift of self given to you from God to do with what you want, your call. Just remember the consequences. The gift is from God, the consequences, like the fallen tree, are from your decisions. Life is but a blink of an eye compared to eternity. What you do here will have eternal consequences; your choice your call. God did give you the gift of self, the free agency to call your shots. Choose them wisely.

The Bible is your operator’s manual and filled with instructions from the man who was nailed to the cross for all of us. If you think your error free? Find a quite place, sit back and mediate over the 10 Commandments.