Until recently, I’ve been desperately searching for a sense of meaning while loneliness, hopelessness, and restlessness swallowed me whole. Sickness moved in as I began losing confidence in myself and the world around me. I lost my ability to interact with others as people have been become more apathetic and the notion of the United States is changing under my feet.
Occasionally, I revert back to my old ways. I don’t always want to be around other people because I felt they were in a different place than me. I didn’t talk much as a kid because I had a lisp. I was an insecure and lost boy.
I struggled to fit in. I looked at my friends and family, and decided that I was going to just do the exact opposite of everyone. My mother had drug problems, never touched weed. My grandmother died of lung cancer, never smoked. Even going to school was a result of me looking around me saying, “I don’t want this life, so let me do something different.”
Most of my life was determined by other people, whether they knew it or not. I picked my career of being a doctor from wanting to be opposite from my Dad. I picked my school because I didn’t want to be depending too heavily on the legacy of my family’s name. I wanted to build myself from what I wanted to do instead of everyone else’s dreams.
Now, I find myself not being particularly sold on anything. I run head first towards my passions and when they shift, which they often do, I’m looking around lost. There are so many things I love and am interested in but it never stays for long. Suddenly, I am looking at picking up another language, instrument, hobby, or person to talk to.
I spent so much of my life like this that I couldn’t even see myself anymore. I have been able to tell what I am from just knowing what I am NOT, and that is a fundamentally flawed way to learn about yourself. I spend a great amount of time reflecting on my actions, their outcomes, and how I want to be perceived by the world. All this resulted in me being aware of my actions and how I want to be, but nothing about who I am.
Until recently, I found myself having massive anxiety and frustration about where I was in life. Where am I supposed to go next? How am I supposed to get there? Is this where I am supposed to be? I even had a moment multiple times moment that tore me up inside because a young lady I cared for didn’t know if she could feel comfortable with me because I lacked the strong, historic, cultural identity that she did. It’s happened MULTIPLE times.
I was sitting with my therapist and went over my problem of not being able to see myself. Even the story of my birth, my name, and even where I call home has more twists and turns than a Chubby Checker song. I just felt like I’ve always been transient, a drifter, nomad with no particular place to call home, and that’s when my therapist hit me with the truth.
“What does your name mean?” Miles means soldier. Michael means “like God” and my newly adopted Moses, from my great-grandfather and nickname, means “drawn out/to pull out (of water)”. Even the Magnificent moniker is connected to the light and glory of God. She then says, “Have you ever thought that your identity comes from heaven and not from the earthly realm?”
I paused and was shaken to my core. The reason why I can’t grasp a sense of self from the world around me was because I wasn’t supposed to. I get my identity, goals, and everything else I need from God. Stop worrying about defining yourself by the world, you have another purpose.
It started to sink in that it’s okay not to know everything. I started to feel that this sensation of transience is connected to me being able to move and change with His will instead of my own. The things I love and the passions I have change because He will require many different things of me in the long run. I found out that I have a hard time having an firm sense of identity, background, and history because they all come from God, not the world.
At that moment, I let it all go. The stress, fatigue, frustration, and anger, and realized it just showed that I was planned to be His and do something specifically designed for me from the start. And that is enough for me to have peace. I know who I am. A child of God.
Do you have any stories about how you discovered yourself? Have you ever struggled with these issues before? Are any of you still searching? (I am) Beyond that, what’s something that you feel has shaped you? Let me know in the comments below.
Turn Your Brightness Up