Publisher: David C. Cook
Publication Date: February 1, 2014
Categories: Christianity, Religion & Spirituality
Source: I received a free e-galley of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.
Who are you? Anyone answering this question will come up with a number of answers. For me, I'm a wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend, teacher, blogger, writer, reader, bibliophile...you get the point. What do all of these have in common though? They come and go. And even if some are here to stay (such as mother), the role itself will change within different periods of my life. So, if so much of who I consider myself is changeable, who am I really?
David Lomas sets out to answer this question in The Truest Thing About You. He says that there are many true things about you - everything I stated above is true about who I am. But because these things are changeable and do shift in our lives, we shouldn't define ourselves by them. For example, if my whole self is wrapped up in who I am as a mother and my kids fail (which they will, because we all do), how will that make me feel or look? Apply the same logic to roles such as wife and teacher. Even as a reader - what if I end up blind one day?! (Oh God forbid!) What becomes of my identity? Lomas says this is why we are to look for the one truest thing that doesn't shift or change: our identity in Jesus.
He defines identity as "that which is identical about us in every situation. Identity. Identical." None of the roles I mentioned above are used in every situation in which I find myself, but everywhere I go and everything I do, I am a Christian trying to live a Christ-like life. Lomas uses the scriptures in Genesis that talk about Adam being made in the image of God as the basis for his point.
Lomas also gives the story of his own experience. An experience that he says was not instantaneous, but a process he had to work through. Often not knowing what was happening and sometimes fighting what he knew needed to happen, he came out on the other side aware that he is not defined by what he does, has, or desires.
I completely get this part of his book. I've experienced this. For years, much of what I thought about myself was centered in my role as teacher. I loved my job, my students, my daily work with books and writing...everything about teaching was absolutely glorified to me. I didn't realize how much until one day, three years ago, a parent unjustly complained about me and a colleague turned something I did to help into trouble - all in one day. I felt like my world crumbled. It was really hard to get over...and even now hard to explain unless someone has gone through a similar crushing feeling in a role in which they strongly identify themselves.
In the following months I felt extremely sad. I grasped at anything close to me, not knowing that I was supposed to be letting go instead. When a friend told me I was being difficult and cut me loose for a bit, it was the final nail in the coffin. Although she didn't understand what was happening in my life at the time, it was taking away that last crutch (dependency on other people) that finally caused me to let go...to stop trying to "find myself." Over that ten month process of sorting out feelings of "who am I if I've lost (my teacher-ness, trust in co-workers, friendship, etc)?", I found myself turning to my faith for my identity. The original book I found on this topic about two years after my experience was Who do you think you are? by Mark Driscoll. I didn't finish it partly because it was too in depth for me at that point in my journey. David Lomas's book seems a little better place to start off with the topic I think. Then again, it really may depend on the writing style and depth you are looking for. I do like Driscoll's books. But at that point I needed something simple and straight forward, which Lomas's book is. I wish I had this book three years ago.
Now I am a teacher, I have my friends (including the one mentioned above), and all the other roles I've discussed, but not always and not held at my deepest level. At my deepest level I am a person striving to live a Christ-centered life because He is where everything begins and ends and will never change. That's the truest thing about me.