If Jesus were human like you and me, did he wonder who he was? When he asked Peter, “Who do people say I am?” was Jesus searching for a deeper understanding of himself? Like we do sometimes, did Jesus wonder, “Who am I? Why am I here? What’s my purpose?”
Sure, Jesus was Divine, but what if the human part of him struggled with his identity just like we do? What if he, too, had to discover his true self?
If we examine his life and his gradual growth into his authentic self as he embraced and claimed his human and divine nature, we might find a way to discover our own true nature.
When he was young, Jesus was a carpenter’s son playing with his friends, working in the shop alongside his stepdad Joseph. He was a child just like we were once. Jesus grew into his teenage and adult years making wooden furniture.
But something happened one day when John the Baptist poured water over Jesus’ adult body. A voice from heaven proclaimed, “You are my Beloved on whom my favor rests.”
Are the words—you are God’s Beloved—ones the Creator speaks over us? Do we need to receive and reclaim that truth each day on the path to discovering who we are?
After his baptism, Jesus went into the desert for forty days to continue his journey of self-discovery. He might have been perplexed and emboldened by God’s words calling him Beloved. But what did those words mean? How was he invited to live out that calling?
If Jesus took time to listen and wrestle in solitude, to let go of the negative voices in his head so he could hear the whispers of truth in his heart, then our daily alone time with God is vital in our quest to discover who we are. An annual retreat may be an important part of our transformation as we leave the world and its distractions to listen for God’s wisdom and guidance—to remember who we are, whose we are.
After Jesus returned from the wilderness, he surrounded himself with a handful of people, a community of friends who walked alongside him, encouraged him, and laughed with him. This small band of disciples reminded Jesus of who he was as they journeyed together doing good and proclaiming God’s unconditional love for all.
Like Christ, do we surround ourselves with a handful of people who encourage us, nudge us to grow, and teach us deeper wisdom and truths? Who are those people in our lives?
At the wedding feast in Cana, Jesus seemed unsure of himself. He was frightened when his mother asked him to perform his first miracle by changing water into wine. Jesus resisted, saying his time had not yet come.
But, with the encouragement of his mother, he placed his hands over the water jugs, looked up to heaven, invoked Divine Power, and the miracle unfolded. Perhaps Jesus was astonished by his power as the transforming energy of God moved through him.
Like Jesus, are we more powerful than we realize? Do we resist using our gifts to bring about the miracle of love in our lives? Can we, like Jesus, look to the Father, seek the power of heaven, and reach our highest potential?
Jesus’ life is marked by his continual journey to understand and embrace his divinity. He walked away from crowds to rest, recharge, and be alone with God. He spent early mornings and long nights in solitude so he could hear the voice of his Father, who guided and affirmed him.
Toward the end of his earthly life, he went up the mountain to discern how God was calling him to live out his final days. There he experienced the mystical presence of Moses and Elijah, was transfigured by the power of the Holy Spirit, and began his fateful journey to Calvary.
Do we also need to leave the noise and confusion of the marketplace and seek the empowerment of the One who is our Source of Life? Do we need to die to our fears and false notions of ourselves so we can rise again with Divine Wisdom and understand who we are and what is our purpose?
Even in the Garden of Gethsemane at the end of his life, Jesus doubted his ability to complete the human and divine task God had given him. Alone and filled with despair, Jesus called out to his Father, who then gave him the strength he needed to die so he could rise and show us the way of unconditional love.
We too have our Gardens of Gethsemane. They often appear out of nowhere. When they do, we may become confused, angry, or bitter. Our suffering can be triggered by a seasonal bout with sadness or depression, an illness, or the death of a loved one.
However our sorrows appear, with Christ’s life as our model, we can retreat into the quiet, pour out our lament to God, and seek Divine Grace to help us take the next step. In that healing space and time, we can remember who we are, let go of who we are not, and find the wisdom we’re being invited to learn. We can discover our true self.
Catholic priest Romano Guardini (1885-1968) reaffirmed that God is the Creator and we are the creature. Guardini also proclaimed this bold truth: “Although I am not God, I am not other than God either.”
Those words are what Jesus lived and taught us to embody. Jesus pointed to the Father as the Source of his love and power, and gradually came to understand and embrace his human and divine nature. “The Father and I are One,” he affirmed.
Can we, like Jesus, embrace our human and divine nature? With all humility can we declare we are the Divine Expression of God’s love in human form? Yes! It is true.
Ponder those words with your mind. Feel them in your heart. Notice how they come alive in your body.
You and I are the Divine Expression of God’s love in human form. We are not God, yet we are not other than God.
As we embrace this Truth, everything changes. We can lift our tired and anxious heads from the ground, dust off our bruised souls, and gaze into the eyes of the One who empowers us, emboldens us to be Divine Compassion in the world, and invites us to create more love in the Universe.
There is a freedom and a responsibility to this Truth. We must die to our false notions of who we think we are or what others expect us to be so we can embrace who we truly are. As we do, something shifts within us. The world becomes a better place as we embrace the power of love—the power of our true self in God.
On your journey to discover your true self, remember these Truths: You are not God. But you are not other than God. You are the Divine Expression of God’s love in human form.
That is who you are. That is why you are here. That is your true self.
—brian j plachta
Here’s a link to a Guided Meditation called “Embrace Your Divinity.” Listen and allow yourself to embrace the Human and Divine Essence of who you truly are:
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