November 2, 2014 by Beth Hess
Because I have no idea what mine really look like.
I know there is a mole near the center of one. The left, I think. I take a peek. Nope. It’s the right.
Because the left is where I have a small scar from a vacuum cleaner (don’t ask.)
Turns out that’s the right hand, too.
Which means I don’t really know myself well at all. I, like others who know things “like the back of their hands,” may be kidding ourselves about what we actually know at all.
We build facades to impress or to hide or assimilate to a group. We often don’t know we’re doing it. And of all the people we wear masks for, perhaps we fool ourselves the most.
Early in any relationship, we ask a lot of questions of the other party.
Where did you grow up? What was it like? What were your dreams? What are your goals? What was your relationship with your parents like? Do you like your job? What do you enjoy doing outside of work? What’s your favorite food/color/ice cream/movie/….
We instinctively know it’s the best way to get to know someone. Questions. Listening. Time.
And we neglect all these things for ourselves.
We don’t ask ourselves who we are or what we want. We certainly don’t take time to listen to much of anything our inner self is trying to say. We fear time alone not knowing what we may discover.
And we learned a long time ago not to ask questions we don’t want to know the answers to.
So we walk through our lives not as our real selves, but as those we think we are. Which keeps everyone at arm’s length. Even our truest self — the one just bursting to make herself known.
I am challenged as I move forward in my recovery to take a full and fearless inventory of myself. My memories. My motives. My strengths. My stumbles.
As a trained reporter, I’ve asked many people many kinds of questions — even the kind you don’t really want to have to ask. I am a professional asker. It’s the answering part I have less experience with.
But here I am, poised for the most important interview of my life. The one with myself.
I don’t believe in reincarnation, but I have had multiple births in this lifetime. And I’m in the throws of contractions for yet another — the Beth who is free from thinking that filling herself with food will satisfy her soul.
The earlier versions of myself were bringing me to her, but the imprisoned me is not who I really am. Certainly not who I was designed to be. They have a lot of baggage to leave at this stop for a forward path of freedom.
I do not say this in a self-deprecating way. Not as a way to dig up dirt on myself or point fingers or scold any earlier Beths.
But I speak as an excavator now aware that ALL the root must be removed before a new tree can thrive in its place. As a surgeon who can leave NO infected piece behind lest the wound never fully be healed.
Search me, God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting. (Psalm 139:23-24, NIV)
The Message version says it like this:
Investigate my life, O God,
find out everything about me;
Cross-examine and test me,
get a clear picture of what I’m about;
See for yourself whether I’ve done anything wrong—
then guide me on the road to eternal life.
This excavating — this surgery — it may be messy work. Discoveries I would prefer to leave hidden. There may, too, be beautiful finds in the deep places.
There’s only one way to find out. Let the interview begin.
I return each Sabbath for a fresh Word of the Week. For the God-breathed pages to come alive in a phrase or two on which to spend a 7-day feast. To meditate upon. To use as a jumping off point for whatever other words God would have me hear during the week. I would love for you to join the Word of the Week (WOW) discussion by adding your selected verse to the comments … or reflections on any scripture reading.
Linking with Unforced Rhythms — a wonderful community of writers who gather each Monday to share with you HERE.