As an extension of the “practicing resurrection” theme of Circle of Hope this Eastertide season, we’re using this week in Daily Prayer: Water to reflect together on the Christian path of finding our true selves in God alone. We’re using a marvelous children’s story by Mercer Mayer to illustrate the path. Welcome to Herbert the Timid Dragon.
First a bit from C.S. Lewis about the self from Mere Christianity:
The more we get what we now call ‘ourselves’ out of the way and let [God] take us over, the more truly ourselves we become. There is so much of [God] that millions and millions of ‘little Christs,’ all different, will still be too few to express [God] fully. [God] made them all. [God] invented— as an author invents characters in a novel—all the different [people] that you and I were intended to be. In that sense our real selves are all waiting for us in [God].
It is no good trying to ‘be myself’ without [God]. The more I resist [God] and try to live on my own, the more I become dominated by my own heredity and upbringing and surroundings and natural desires. In fact, what I so proudly call ‘Myself’ becomes merely the meeting place for trains of events which I never started and which I cannot stop. What I call ‘My wishes’ become merely the desires thrown up by my physical organism or pumped into me by other [people’s] thoughts or even suggested to me by devils. Eggs and alcohol and a good night’s sleep will be the real origins of what I flatter myself by regarding as my own highly personal and discriminating decision to make love to the girl opposite to me in the railway carriage. Propaganda will be the real origin of what I regard as my own personal political ideas.
I am not, in my natural state, nearly so much of a person as I like to believe: most of what I call ‘me’ can be very easily explained. It is when I turn to Christ, when I give myself up to [Christ’s] Personality, that I first begin to have a real personality of my own.
Today’s Bible reading
My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not treat the grace of God as meaningless. For if keeping the law could make us right with God, then there was no need for Christ to die. — Galatians 2:20-21 (NLT)
More Thoughts for Meditation from Mercer Mayer’s Herbert the Timid Dragon
As we start the journey, Herbert has lots of dreams about himself. He can say out loud, this is what I want. He reads about it. He imagines himself as the person he longs to be.
Suggestions for Action
What do you wish to be?
To know God and know our true selves, we can make a good start by listening deeply to our hidden wishes. What do you wish you could be? The stories we tell ourselves about ourselves are important. The longings we often turn away from, perhaps because they seem childish, are important. Pause and invite your wishes for yourself to come into your mind. Maybe you’ll remember a childhood memory of what you wanted to be and do. Don’t dismiss these. Welcome them. Look within them to see what they might tell you about yourself that you have forgotten. Write a brief summary in your journal.
This week’s breath prayer (carry it with you today):
(inhale) Show me You; (exhale) show me me.