I'm not a theologian.
I'm not a scholar.
I'm not a fast reader.
But I AM always interested in learning more and more, however I can.
This summer I am studying this Dallas Willard book with one of our pastors at church. He is leading a group of us through interesting discussions as well as helping us see Dallas' thought-flow or outline. It's not at all an easy read for me, but I am learning quite a bit of things that I otherwise might not have ever learned.
We are also listening to the audiobook/lecture on The Spirit of the Disciplines: Understanding How God Changes Lives. Um. Wow. This is fascinating and deep, yet so relevant and easy to understand.
This week Dallas used this chart: (taken from http://www.dwillard.org/resources/CCCU2006a.asp)
He talked about how the center of my being is my spirit (and yours too). This is where change happens. This is what people mean when they say "I just love being with you - there's something about you that I am just drawn to." It's your spirit. Who you are is not what your body is capable of doing or not doing. Who you are is not what you think about or how you feel about people or things in life. Who you are is not how you are able to relate to others in social settings.
Who you are is all encompassed in your spirit.
Today this hit home with me. The weather is gross in Texas today ... and by gross I mean humid and raining on and off, and it's hot as always. See? Gross. For most people this might mean a bad hair day or it might mean getting their clothes wet on their way into work. But for me it means my body doesn't function well. I struggle to take deep breaths. My toes lock up. My hands hurt so bad that I can't hold a brush to pull up my hair. I have the kind of fatigue one might feel after running several miles. (ok, and in all truth high humidity means I also have a bad hair day) So because of all of these things I have had to cancel my plans and just rest. For a person who loves to be on the go, it's very hard for me to embrace rest and it causes me frustration. I find I am quick to point out all of the things that I "can't do" instead of being grateful for a chance to rest when the people going 200 miles per hour would love a reason to sit at home and rest!
But guess what? I'm not depressed about the state of my body today; I'm not even upset about the thoughts and feelings going through my mind. Because those things don't define me. They are not "who I am." My spirit defines me. And my spirit is very much alive and aligned with God's will and His love. My spirit has an impact on God's kingdom right here, right now - and my spirit is what will flourish in eternal life with my God in heaven when my body dies, my brain no longer functions, and I have lost the ability to think and feel. My spirit will remain.
I am a God-breathed spirit, eager to connect with Him over and over again.
That is who I am.