It started this way, with a text conversation. Their statement was, “And then there is the aspect of YOU finding out who you are.” My response was, “Is that possible? For a simple guy, I think I may be complex!!”
If you Google “Can A Man Know Himself?” you would find quotes and statements from Socrates to Buddha to Nietzsche to almost anyone else wishing to express an opinion. Here is mine.
Having just turned sixty-five years old, I thinkI should have some knowledge of who I am and what I believe. The context of the text message was in regards to knowing who I was after my wife’s death. She was central to all that I wanted to be or to do, but now that she is gone, the question of my identity arose, so in an effort to see who I am, I am writing because writing helps me to think and to reason things out.
I will write as a thought occurs to me as I make this list. I think there will be three list: this list, your list, and God’s list. Only His list is accurate and true. I do see myself as uncomplicated, but acknowledge that does not apply in every application.
Let’s start with this – I am a Christian. Because of my faith, I take a Biblical world view. Things that happen or don’t happen in the world are a result of God’s plan. All things political, social, financial, moral, personal are related to God’s knowing the beginning from the end and what part I play in it.
Most of my life, I have struggled with confidence issues. I believe it started on my fifth birthday, when I was given the honor of carrying my German Chocolate sheet cake down the back steps to the picnic table in the back yard. At about the second step I lost control of the cake and it landed face-down in the grass. The adults present, didn’t say anything bad to me, but I do remember some kids my age let me have it.
Moving multiple times as I was growing up didn’t help the confidence issues either. Ten schools in twelve years of public school meant that I was the “new kid” quite often.
I’m very shy. I don’t open up to people immediately. I have to study them for a time to sense if they will be kind to me or to make fun of me. And I have been the butt of jokes plenty of times.
Nearly all wisdom we possess, that is to say, true and sound wisdom, consists in two parts: the knowledge of God and of ourselves (Institutes, 1.1.1). John Calvin
In spite of that, I think the most important things on Earth are people. I enjoy the different races of people, different cultures, what people value and what they think are important. I like to compare those things with what the Bible tells me about people. I want to see what motivates them. I want them to see the light within me, which the Lord gave to me to shine in the darkness.
According to a personality test that I did a few years ago, I am a perfectionist in my work. I don’t like the word “perfectionist”, preferring to think of myself as just wanting to be accurate. I know errors will occur, but I’m not happy when I create them.
I have a strong sense of right and wrong. I’m a law and order guy. I see black and white, but I also see gray areas that will require attention. Having experienced God’s grace, I think you have to give people time to get right, especially if they are in the gray areas.
I have been described as stoic and as terse. I’m actually very tender- hearted and do not like people to be treated badly.
I did not learn social skills growing up, but I do study them currently and try to improve my people skills. I admire those who have learned those skills long before I was aware there was a category called “people skills”.
I am a sensitive person. I mean that in two ways. First, I have good discernment about the emotional state of others and have a desire to help them. Secondly, I can get my feeling hurt. I have toughened up as I have aged, but it can still happen if a person I care about does something.
I’m EXTREMELY Loyal! Loyalty is very important to me. I want to be loyal to those I care for and I expect them to be loyal to me. Having short term relationships, created by our moves, taught me to not waste time with those that don’t really care for me. But if I attach myself to you, you are ‘in’ and it’s hard to shake me. But if you break the trust, you are out and probably will not get back in.
I was faithful to my wife. I’m passionate, tender, caring and a one woman man. But I can be a brute. I don’t think I’m self-centered, but prefer serving others. I’m sentimental.
I’m truthful and I don’t lie. I don’t want to hurt anyone, so I try to be gentle in my character and tone. I don’t like to fight, but don’t push me or attack my peeps, because then you are in a fight. I’m very protective. I will not back-down if I think that I’m right, unless the Holy Spirit indicates I’m not being wise.
My spiritual gifts are service and teaching. My love languages are physical touch, words of affirmation, and acts of service. The word KIND means a lot to me. I have been through many things, hurtful things and things that could have killed me, but God has always been KIND to me. I believe I would have ended up in prison (probably for murder) had the Lord not be kind to me and changed my life.
I want to help people improve their life. Sometimes that means being generous with money, sometimes it is speaking words of encouragement to them, sometimes it’s helping them see the path they have slipped off of. I had someone invest in me and I want to invest in others. At the same time, I don’t suffer fools gladly.
I’m a responsible person. If I commit to something, I’m in with both feet. I’m optimistic, while being a realist.
I may get upset with something, but given a bit of time to think things through, I will come around. I consider myself a reasonable person.
I have a level of faith and wisdom that only the Lord can determine. I dare not. I am transparent with my emotions. That is not always a good thing. I have been called stubborn, but I prefer “determined.”
I have been influenced by the movement of Motown music, the elegance of Fred Astaire, the trendiness of James Bond 007, and the discipline of playing a French horn, which I would like to learn to play again.
I believe in strong traditional values, but understand not everyone does anymore. Adults are to take responsibility for their own actions.
I like to research, to study, to learn new things. I like to plan and I like to be spontaneous.
I would have liked to have been a father and think I would have been able to relate in a better way with others had I been.
I miss the thrill of discovery when I was a teenager, but I do not want to live that time over again.
I’m not a joke-teller, but I have an advanced (at least I think so) sense of humor. I like to add sarcasm with every serving for seasoning.
Well, I have grown bored speaking of myself and I didn’t do it nearly as well as Paul wrote of himself in Romans 7.
15 For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. 16 Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good. 17 So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. 18 For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. 20 Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. ESV
I should have just copied what Paul wrote and said “ditto”.