Australian social commentator, Hugh Mackay, this week on a Radio National interview, said that “most Australians do not know who they are”. He explained that the focus of the mind and energies of the majority of Australians is taken up with an endless string of tasks. Consequently, few give time or reflection to understanding who they really are as a person – i.e., what is personally meaningful and valuable to them, why and how those things should shape and direct their lives.
COVID-19 social restrictions and isolation have confronted many with this reality. As their tasks have disappeared, and they’ve been left ‘looking at themselves in a mirror’ – so to speak, they’ve discovered that there’s nothing there. Much anecdotal evidence suggests that this is translating into devastating and widespread depression. Beyond all tasks, people need to know who they are as a person, and gain their sense of meaning, satisfaction and joy from that. We and our lives are not just the sum of our tasks!
The Christian Gospel has very good and liberating news about this. It tells us that who we are is a gift. In one place in the Bible, astonishingly, Paul says “Christ… is your life” (Col 3:4). This means that, through the salvation that Christ has won for us, who we are is identical with who Christ is; we too are dear sons and daughters of God the Father! That is enough to fill us with an eternity’s-full of meaning, hope, satisfaction and joy.
This will also motivate us to all the action we could ever desire, not out of frantically filling our lives with busyness to try and block out the meaninglessness, but rather in a relaxed manner based upon the great grace and hope that God has given to all of His children.
Grace and cheers, Jonathan