It took me a long time to figure out that life isn’t a multiple choice question.
My father wanted me to be a nuclear physicist. My mother wanted me to be a wealthy socialite. My church wanted me to save my soul by having an unlimited amount of babies. It turned out that I wasn’t designed for any of these.
The reality was that I was a bottomless pit of needs and wants. The main one being to be loved unconditionally. I married a gentle, kind man, who has accepted me just as I am and never asked anything else of me. All he has ever wanted in our fifty-three years of marriage is to make me happy. Sadly for him, no human being can make anyone else happy.
Happiness comes from the paradox of first, realizing that we are fully known, understood, and loved by God just as we are. Then listening to God to discover the person God created us to be and at each stage and challenge in this life long process, staying open to the grace for the courage and perseverance to become it. It’s about who we become, not what we become.
Probably the most difficult part of the process is actually getting to know ourselves in our very unfinished state. Not a terribly pleasant experience and sometimes too discouraging to attempt without knowing with both mind and heart that God already knows us far better than we do, or anyone else ever can, and loves us anyway.
Ultimately, we discover that we are only called to play the hand we were dealt, and it may turn out we never find the card to the inside straight we’ve been bluffing hopefully with. But with God, it isn’t about winning a competition, it’s about how well we play the hand we were actually dealt, however humbling that may turn out to be.
A way of working on this is just reading the bible like a story or a letter written for us personally and discovering that Jesus also was unfinished and grew in holiness. That he grew through challenges, many of them from women, who had no credentials as women in Judaism, and some of whom were not even Jews. He recognized God in a Gentile woman challenging Him to minister to Gentiles. This was a world changing difference in His assumption that His mission was limited to being the Jew’s Messiah.
Jesus was familiar enough with Jewish Scriptures to apply them to His life challenges, while spending time aside praying and listening to God. He allowed God to speak to Him and call Him to growth through the people and situations in His daily life all the way to the very end. He was still growing even on the cross. There’s a big leap between, “My God why have you abandoned me?” and “Father, I commend my spirit into your hands.”
Christian spirituality is the dialogue between Jesus in the scriptures and our experiences in daily life, through taking time to go to God for understanding of what He is saying through those two, and for the grace to respond.
Our becoming only ends with our very last breath.