Put aside…and become

It seems like people are always talking about adolescents need to find themselves and solidfy their identity. I’d like to submit that perhaps…just perhaps…that’s something we keep doing our whole lives long.

In a few blog posts (the finding myself category might give you more than you care to read) and in many more private journalling experiences, I’ve been doing just that over the last couple of years. Let me let Elrond sum up the word from God that’s been coming up again and again in my life. Click the little triangle thing to hear:


I’ve had more than a half dozen people speak this thought to me lately…become who I was born to be, who I was created to be. And I think I’m ready to do that, to fight off pleasing others obsessively and be true to myself.

But exactly what does it mean for me to “put aside the ranger”? And what exactly does it look like to embrace who I am and live into it with joy?

Those are the questions I’m finding myself thinking through quite a bit.

7 thoughts on “Put aside…and become

  1. Gregg,
    I can look back at the last 10 years and see many ways that I have been changed by God’s lead. Many of my views that shaped me in high school and shortly after have been challenged and eradicated from my life. I am also excited to see where God is taking me in the future. I am excited for you in your quest as well.
    I am currently reading ‘The Courage to Teach’ by Parker J Palmer, and it addresses this issue in the life of a teacher, very interesting and freeing.



  2. Interesting that I wrote in my journal just last week that I think *everyone* is, in some way or another, trying to figure out where they’ve been, who they are and where they’re going. The only way to figure it out is by knowing who to listen to.

    Who do you trust?

    Who speaks Truth?

    Are you listening?


  3. A wise Quaker preacher once said, in my hearing, that being at peace with God does not mean you’ll also be at peace with people. In fact, it’s often quite the opposite.

    But God already knows who you were born to be, right? It is we who see as through a glass, dimly, even into our own hearts.

    Coming to know who I am has meant, in the last year, giving up money and prestige and a business-card-identity. But it has brought joy and peace and health and freedom to do what is most important. The price of my freedom, however, is courage and discipline, I’m learning.

    Which sounds unfortunately like an ad for the U.S. Army but is really a call to the Lamb’s War. 🙂

    May God’s peace be with you.


  4. Also, as one more evidence of the impact you have on others, I just read The Fellowship of the Ring. Chris was trying to remember who is Elrond talking to, and I said “I don’t know, I assume it’s a LOTR thing.” And he said “oh yes, he’s the King of the Elves.” He was/is a big fan too. And I sighed, and asked, “so should I read these books? I didn’t get very far in them in high school.” And he said yes, anyone who liked Harry Potter should read The LOTR. And he was right. I did like it. And now I know who the Ranger is. But like most people learning a new language as an adult, I’ll probably never be as fluent in Tolkien as those who studied it when they were younger. One down, two more to go.

    Like you said at the beginning of your post, finding your identity is not a one time deal – even a big first step has to be followed by others. And the roles we are called to (by God) change, even if some part of us in our deepest selves doesn’t. Maybe it was right to be a Ranger for a time, and then you grow out of it, or into something else.


  5. When we are born, we want our parents love and acceptance. When we are young we want the love and acceptance of our friends. It is good to have those good and loving relationships. As we get more of our lives behind us we can start to look back. We sometimes think that finding ourselves is closly related to what we do and who we relate to. By looking back we can also realize that it is utimately who we belong to or serve that defines who we are. By going back even farther to when we were created we find our creator. We find who it is that loves us the most and accepts us just as we are…and knows just exactly who we were born to be. God loves you so very much. I think that humans are always wanting to see the whole picture all at once and God probably wants us to know that the whole idea of our life is an ongoing relationship with Him. As we walk in His will we see the picture come together a piece at a time. And over the lifetime we live what we were born to be. Maybe we see that we were born to be His.


  6. I think I’ve been reading too much Reformed theology lately, but what this post reminded me of was Barth’s emphasis on Jesus as both the Royal Man and the Servant–in the aspect of Servant, God came to us, and in the aspect of Royal Man we’re lifted to God. So maybe “putting aside the Ranger” is taking on the persona of the King–going beyond just being with the God who’s here with us, and being willing to go to the heights of faithfulness and be lifted to God, with all the trials and suffering that still go along with that, if we’re following in the footsteps of the crucified Christ…

    Maybe that’s not where you’re at, but it helps me to think of going beyond the safety of the “God with us” to the “being with God” that requires a revelation of a new self that isn’t afraid of the hard stuff we’ll have to endure if we’re kings/queens in God’s royal family–like Aragorn, who had to deal with a bunch of evil and people who didn’t want to let him claim his throne, and like Christ who was killed because of his knowledge of who he truly was.


  7. And now, finally, I’ve seen the movie too. Thanks for the introduction.

    If my life were a book, the acknowledgements would have to include you for opening my eyes to the LOTR and Aj for opening my ears to U2. They have made a Godly impact.


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