This quote from the play Hamlet, “To be, or not to be? That is the question—”
this led me to a different question that seems very important to me especially in this time when there is so much chaos, so much confusion . . .
“what should I be?”
BE . . . you should be like . . .
I heard that one a lot growing up and it never encouraged me to want to be like whoever was being pointed out as a role model — it just made me feel like the me I knew must not be very good and the person pointing it out must not think very much of me and, if that’s true, why even try?
How could I ever BE anyone other than me?
Now the question is back on my mind? “What should I be?”
—There are many around who demand that I be like them and even tell me that if I am not like them, I am a bad person or a stupid person.
—There are some others who do not seem to care what I am, but I do not feel comfortable with some of the ideas they express.
SO, back to the question: “What should I be?”
My Judeo-Christian roots also provide more than one answer to that question.
Early childhood spent in a legalistic “my-way-is-the-right-way-the-only-way” church gave me a pretty critical, judgmental attitude with touches of self-righteousness thrown in. I became a pretty good debater and was always ready with a “proof text” argument on almost any subject someone wanted to challenge me on—and, in my twenties, I knew it ALL . . . yet, my life was filled with mistakes, relationship failures, bad choices . . . go figure!
The God of the Old Testament in the Christian Bible seemed to support my attitudes of harsh judgement with NO mercy, condemnation of “sin” I saw, correcting anyone I believed was not doing something right (there was only ONE way, you know?) and, in general, forcing my way on everyone around me because it was the right way and it was my duty to set them straight!
BE . . . the Jesus movement
In 1980, I was planning to end my life after coming to the conclusion that my failures to that point made me not redeemable (I knew I shouldn’t have done the things I did, so it was willful sin and could not be forgiven). With no hope for a future, I thought there was only one “logical” resolution . . . this time period had brought me through the obvious failures of Christian theology that drew me to New Age seminars, occult practices, and many different belief systems as “answers” that left me seeing the deficiencies of them all and left me with no hope for the future — so why have a future?
BUT, GOD . . . a well-timed call, a heartfelt petition from mom, and so I, with no will left to fight, made the move from North Carolina to Arkansas and did not care in the least what anyone thought I should “be.”
A short while after arriving in Arkansas, I met some people who did not tell me what I should “be” but, instead, seemed to just accept me as I was—even with my many obvious flaws. So began the work of GOD to bring me to many new understandings of what it meant to “be.”
That was only the beginning of a journey to healing and to realizing that I did not understand the question . . . what should I be?
I came to understand that I did not even know what it meant “to be” so how could I find the answer to a question I did not even understand!
Clearly, I needed to start back at the beginning—what was the question I should be asking?
COMING NEXT: Park 2 – WASPS