“Jody Williams, winner of the 1997 Nobel Peace prize, advises that the winners this year ‘Stay true to themselves’. This is advice we often here is kids or in movies, but what does it really mean?
First of all, how do you discover who your true self is? It seems many people don’t quite know who they are. Second, most people have some qualities that they wish they didn’t have, such as jealousy, envy, insecurities or prejudices. Staying true to those things wouldn’t seem to be in our interest.
What does it mean to you to stay true to yourself? Which part of yourself to you think about?”
This is a perfect topic for me today. I have been working on this concept all year. It used to that I would “rise to the bait” in every discussion. I would throw my weight and my mouthy opinion around all the time. I didn’t stop to think about how the other participants in and observers of the conversation might end up feeling after I finished talking. It took me a long time to realize that most of the time I should not join in the conversation. This is far different from the “stuff your feelings” that I thought it would require. Rather, it requires careful analysis on my part. What good thing will come from what I am about to say? I realized that that is my true self. To do what love requires. To speak and discuss as if I am talking to God. That is not to say I put everyone on a pedestal. Rather, it is time that I recognize and remember and be mindful that God is in each person. He is there whether I agree or disagree with what is being done or expressed.
So these days in order to stay true to myself I try very hard to add to the good. I don’t always succeed. But to stay true to myself I have decided I must be kind. I do not want people to think ill of me—I want them to see me as God’s handmaiden.
There are no political or economic arguments that are important enough to me to sway from that. Even though I serve God one way doesn’t mean that someone I disagree with isn’t also serving God. Scripture tells us the Spirit manifests in many gifts. Some serve Him through social justice, some through other ways. God needs many forms of service. I cannot justify my past way of being harshly judgmental. To be true to myself I must be true to God….I must wait for the appropriate and fruitful time to make my feelings and opinions known.
I hope this doesn’t come across as bragging or preachy. The only one I am preaching to is myself—my multifaceted previously impulsive self. yes, I am mellowing some—maybe like a fine wine and hopefully not like a sour, bitter wine! This perennial optimist believes I can be true to myself with the constant help of God and those I love and respect.