Who am I? What is my story? What does my voice sound like? What is my message?
I’m a 20-something. I’m conflicted. I’m a pioneer, a wanderer, a seeker, a nobody and a future somebody, a creative and logically abstract artist, an activist, a photographer, a lover of creation and the Creator, a leader, a social change architect and lover of people in the process.
My hobby is learning, but don’t just inform me; show me, guide me, lead me into your soul, listen to me, learn from me as I learn from you. I want to know you and me, and what we’re supposed to be all about.
I don’t believe everything I hear. I don’t know what to believe because I don’t want to simply accept your version of reality as my own. I don’t know to whom I should listen who will help me figure out what I believe about God and Jesus, peace in war, injustice and compassion, wealth or poverty, and consumption and simplicity.
I can’t get my hands on enough books, but then I feel like I’m just consuming knowledge instead of experiencing life. Am I collecting status symbols on my bookshelf and names in my address book? Who do I really know? Who knows me like I need to be known?
I’m a conference/seminar/learning community junkie, but the community I experience there is only a fix for the intensity of missional community that I’m still trying to inspire in my locality and the one which seems so far off from my reality.
I’m a lover of the Creator and creation, living and inanimate. But, I’m discovering how much I abuse people and exploit nature as I consume and live. I don’t know how to stop doing that. I can’t seem to learn fast enough to stop this cycle as I try to learn about the products I buy, the neighbors I’ve overlooked, the car I drive and the energy and resources I’m consuming. I’m lazy and working hard to be a moral consumer.
I’m sensitive about your suffering and your words. Sometimes I hide from you because I don’t have the energy to feel that deeply, in that particular moment and I feel inadequate to do anything about it. I know I should lean into your pain and mine, so that I’m changed and moved to sacrifice myself, sometimes I do lean and learn, sometimes I run and hide in my cave. In those moments of leaning and sometimes when I’m hiding, I hear the whispers of my soul and yours that contain the answers to where I should go, what I should be doing and how I can get there. Busyness, music, noise, products and entertainment all too often drown out the whispers and distract me from the screams of the ones that are hungry and desperate. Maybe I’m not being distracted as much I’m drowning myself in them and drowning you out because of my own pain of inadequacy, vulnerability and weakness. Maybe I’m the one that needs to be visited by a relief worker, a counselor, and a healer. Aren’t I the one who’s starving and abandoned, lost, broken and hopeless?
Who am I to save the orphans, the refugees, the widows, the civilian casualties of war? Then, the other voice kicks in and asks, “What can I do that will have the greatest impact on the most amount of people and how can I do it fast?” Is that even the question I should be asking? Isn’t that such an American question? How many people can I really love and influence? How much good can I really do? Why do I evaluate time and money according to effectiveness and breadth of influence? What happened to simplicity, agrarian societies, community, neighborly love and the gift of presence and hospitality? Am I lost by saving the world and neglecting my own street?
I’m a believer. I believe in another reality that is possible here on earth, in this generation and era, lived out in pieces and slivers of light that break through the darkness of the haze that surrounds me. There are moments that I feel amazingly alive in that other reality and moments, or maybe days that I feel dark and lost and that all hope has passed me by. I believe that joy does come in the morning, but often several mornings pass me by and I don’t know which morning will bring me into the light. That knowledge keeps me waking up with a hopeful expectancy that maybe this will be the day.
I’m a wanderer, but not without purpose. I’m seeking. I’ve lost something, I’ve mourned and grieved and been angry and hurt, hopeless and pessimistic, and hopeful again. I’ve been wounded and abused, betrayed and unloved, ignored and unnoticed. I want to be known and loved and recognized, but I don’t want those yet unredeemed motivations to infiltrate my goodness and the purity of the love I want to share with people. Sometimes those things mess me up (well, a lot of times) and I hurt rather than love; I talk and make myself sound important rather than listen and draw out your story, I walk into a room needing to feel loved and honored, rather than focusing on loving and honoring your presence in my life. I’m sorry, and so I wander with a purpose seeking purity, passion, sacrifice, love and hope, so that I can share more of those things in me with you, and not as much of what’s been taken from me and that which needs to be replenished. You’re not the source of my nourishment and I’m trying to listen to my heart and ask myself why I do and say the things that I do, and how I can pay more attention to what you’re not telling me of your pain. Maybe we can invite each other into the search and wander together.
I’m just one person, broken and being restored, having been lost and sought after, loved and forgotten, a nobody and somebody, seeking and hiding, hurting and loving and wanting to figure out who I am, what I’m supposed to be doing and becoming and how I can get there. I’m just conflicted.