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Who Do You Think You Are?

Knowing and accepting yourself helps you be fully present without pretense
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Jesus left that place and went to the vicinity of Tyre. He entered a house and did not want anyone to know it; yet he could not keep his presence secret. In fact, as soon as she heard about him, a woman whose little daughter was possessed by an impure spirit came and fell at his feet. The woman was a Greek, born in Syrian Phoenicia. She begged Jesus to drive the demon out of her daughter.

"First let the children eat all they want," he told her, "for it is not right to take the children's bread and toss it to the dogs."

"Lord," she replied, "even the dogs under the table eat the children's crumbs."

Then he told her, "For such a reply, you may go; the demon has left your daughter."

She went home and found her child lying on the bed, and the demon gone (Mark 7:24–30).

She Knew Who She Was

She was a woman. Not a man. She was a Greek. Not a Jew. She was born in Syrian Phoenicia. She was neither of the Promised Land nor one of Abraham's seed. She was a mother, perhaps a new mom, as the text says her daughter was little. She was in deep angst. Her daughter was possessed by a demon. She was a listener, possibly a friend of some local Jews. She heard of Jesus' arrival despite his desire to keep it secret.

She was bold. She went as soon as she heard. She was humble. She fell at his feet. She was desperate. She begged. She was singularly focused and she knew something of who Jesus was. She asked this miracle-making rabbi for only one thing: to drive out the demon from her daughter. She knew who she was and she came as who she was. Not so hard, right?

Yesterday evening, I met with one of my spiritual direction clients who is about to get married. Because of some local scheduling conflicts, some old church politics, and an out-of-town location for the wedding, few of her church family are slated to attend. She expressed her deep hurt with many, many tears and very vocal anger. I had to fight to keep from smiling.

Don't misunderstand: I am not the least bit happy about my friend's pain. What made me want to smile was the fact that she came as who she was. She was fully present without pretense. She knew who she was and what she was feeling, and there was no gap between the internal identity and the external reality. For the last year since we have been meeting, most days she brought her brain but rarely her emotions or her body. Last evening, she was all there—a daring and vulnerable act of faith worthy of celebration (at another less painful moment). It is not a given that we always know who we are or approach others with bold and authentic relationship.

August31, 2012 at 10:22 AM

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