Episode 1. Lost Without a Passport
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Have you ever sat down and wondered – who am I? Where’s my life headed? Am I being the me that I was meant to be? Well, you’re not alone. We all ask those questions at some point. Join Berni, …
Have you ever sat down and wondered – who am I? Where’s my life headed? Am I being the me that I was meant to be? Well, you’re not alone. We all ask those questions at some point.
I remember once a few years back being in the airport in Christchurch, New Zealand. My international flight from Australia was late in getting in and I had to race to make the last domestic connection that night to my final destination Wellington, New Zealand’s capital.
And in the rush I left my passport lying in one of those luggage trolleys at the international terminal, something I didn’t realise until I was checking in at the domestic terminal on my next flight. Panic attack, can you imagine losing your passport while you’re overseas? No passport no identity, no identity now what?
How could I tell people I was me? I couldn’t leave the country; I couldn’t stay there. See it turns out that our identity is very important. Well I won’t keep you in suspense the domestic and international terminal in Christchurch are about ten minutes walk apart so I raced down outside the domestic terminal but the taxi didn’t want to take me because is was such a short fare. He said, “Catch the shuttle bus.”
Of course I didn’t have time to do that so I paid him thirty dollars and we raced back and I went into the police station off to one side of the international terminal in Christchurch. Now there was a young police woman on duty that night so I explained my problem to her and she said, “Well yes, an Australian passport has just been handed in.” And then she asks me, just get this, “Do you have any ID?”
I couldn’t believe it. I said “Yes”, I was a bit stressed at this point, “it’s my passport and there’s a photo in the front.” Oh yeah, it dawned on her. Anyway I received my passport and I just made my flight and all was well.
I’ve never forgotten that. You know, you can’t travel without your passport, it’s the clear and tangible evidence of your identity. And in a very real sense the same is true in life. We need to know the answer to that important question, who exactly am I and where’s my life headed?
Other people need to know who we are; it’s so basic, it’s so fundamental. So many people though don’t have a deep sense of who they are, it’s a problem deep down somewhere and it’s not something we talk about a lot but it’s there. And as I talk to people I think it goes something like this.
Often we live our lives just day to day without thinking too much, just go along and do the things we do and go to work or to school or we look after the children, whatever it is that you do but bubbling away deep down somewhere is a sense of, what’s this all about? Why am I doing this? What’s the point?
The reality is we have just one life to live here on this earth. It’s not a dress rehearsal, you can’t hit the rewind button and play it again and change things, when today’s gone it’s gone and that’s it. And every year, every week, every day, every moment that you and I have lived up to this point frankly is gone, we can never get them back.
The only thing left in our time here on this earth is the time between right now and when we breathe our last breath. Hey it’s a sobering thought and at the same time most people have some sort of sense of a destiny, whether or not they believe in Jesus or some God even, they believe in things that are meant to be.
How often have you heard someone say, “Well that was just meant to be”, or “If it’s meant to be it will happen?” Whether it’s karma or whether it’s “que sera sera, whatever will be will be”, we all have some sense of a future and a destiny to be fulfilled.
It’s as though some intelligent destiny or design that we just can’t quite put our finger on is out there for us. I believe that that’s there because each one of us, you and I and everybody have been made in the image of God – each one of us. And when we look at the time that we have left here on this earth in the context of some sort of destiny, a profound question of life emerges.
Am I being the “me” I was meant to be? Am I living the life I was made to live? These are huge questions. It’s not just about having things, it’s about being.
The turning point of my life was when I was reading a book and the author asked this question. Do you want to be or do you want to have? And I realised very clearly that I was one of those people who wanted to have and having isn’t being. Having is about, I don’t know, the next car, the next sound system, the next pair of shoes.
But being is about a profound sense of joy and contentment, about being really happy with who we are and what we’re doing and how we’re living, the relationships that we’re enjoying. When I realised that it was so incredibly unsettling for me because I tried to live it all my way, I tried to do that stuff my way but it turned out just empty.
Let me ask you something, as you contemplate the remaining time that you have left here on planet earth, when you ask yourself the question am I being the me that I was meant to be, what’s the answer? Yes or no?
If your answers yes then you’re talking about some profound sense of joy and peace and contentment, the sort of stuff I was talking about just before. But if the answer’s no then probably there’s this nagging sense that you’re missing out on something, is this all there is? Surely there must be something more.
You know in my experience most people, by far the majority of people live in the no category, they have a sense that they should be, that there is some destiny out there for their lives but they also have that nagging suspicion that they’re not really living it out to the full.
That’s why we’re kicking off a series of programs over the next few weeks that I’ve called Discover Your Destiny to, I don’t know, to help us unscramble all of that and maybe get a solid foundation of life sorted out in our hearts, to get our lives on track, to live them out to the full, to realise our destiny.
So that when we’re on deaths door we can look back on our lives with a deep sense of satisfaction and say to ourselves, “You know what, I’ve lived it to the full. I became the me I was meant to be and now I’m ready for my eternity with God.”
The starting point of all that is an understanding of who we’re meant to be. It’s knowing where we’ve come from and who we are. And what a tragedy it is for so many people to live their lives without knowing those things about themselves, without having a sense of what their lives are all about. Without having, in effect, a really good handle on their identity and their destiny.
See we live in a world that wants to tell us who we are. We live in a world shaped by commerce and sales targets and advertising that tells us if you’re this or if you’re that, if you buy this or you buy that, hey then you’re going to be happy, then you’ll have a sense of who you are and where you’re going. I lived out that life for a good many years, I mean I lived it out par excellence and so successful was that strategy that it drove me to the point of suicide.
God’s take is completely different. God tells us that we are made in His image you and I. He tells us that not only did He make us who we are but He also made every day of our life to fit with who we are. More about that another day.
Today all we’ve really done is to try and put our finger on the problem, that nagging thing that just doesn’t seem to want to go away. That sense that many people have, that they’re missing out on something, something that they just can’t quite explain.
Surely there must be more to life than this, this drudgery. Surely there has to be something that sets my heart on fire, that inspires me, that lets me be the me I was meant to be. Do you really know who you are? Who you were made to be? Who you were meant to be? Where your life is meant to be headed?
Or is your life like a bit of a cork bobbing around on the ocean completely at the mercy of the elements – sunny one day, stormy the next but just drifting, drifting? Well I’m hoping you can join me each day over these coming weeks as we go on this journey to discover the ‘me’ that you were meant to be.