DayBreaks for 10/27/16 – In Search of the Real Me
From the DayBreaks archive, October 2006:
British style writer Neil Boorman has decided to burn every branded thing in his possession. I am addicted to brands,” he confessed in a magazine article:
“From an early age, I have been taught that to be accepted, to be loveable, to be cool, one must have the right stuff. At junior school, I tried to make friends with the popular kids, only to be ridiculed for the lack of stripes on my trainers. Once I had nagged my parents to the point of buying me the shoes, I was duly accepted at school, and I became much happier as a result. As long as my parents continued to buy me the brands, life was more fun. Now, at the age of 31, I still behave according to playground law.
Boorman finally realized that the happiness found in his possessions is hollow and short-lived, leaving him with a “continual, dull ache.” So he’s taking drastic action and turning to a life of simplicity. He summarizes: The manner in which we spend our money defines who we are. … In this secular society of ours, where family and church once gave us a sense of belonging, identity, and meaning, there is now Apple, Mercedes, and Coke. … So, this is why I am burning all my stuff. To find real happiness, to find the real me.
I am torn over this poor man’s actions. He sounds like he’s recognized a problem in his life, and that’s good! We spend much of our lives in denial that we have problems. And when a problem does come up, we always try to find someone else to bear the blame for “our” problem. So, in short, we usually are still in denial that we have problems that need to be fixed. It’s a good thing that Mr. Boorman looked deeply into his heart and saw that something was broken that needed fixing.
And it’s a good thing that he’s divorcing himself from the pride and vanity that go along with designer clothes, Air Jordan’s, the latest and greatest brand names, etc. Those things invariably cost more than non-name brands, and chances are that they don’t last any longer. They can’t make us younger, and wearing the name label clothes won’t work magic on how much we weigh (or where we carry that weight!) I wonder if anyone has ever calculated, over the course of a lifetime, how much money could be saved and used in better ways (feeding the hungry, helping build houses for the homeless, etc.) if we bought generic instead of name brands. It might be an interesting exercise.
But, I think Mr. Boorman is destined for frustration in his pursuit to “find the real me.” He seems to think that by just getting rid of things that he’ll discover the real self. It can help, but the real self is only seen when we look into the perfect law of liberty and let it speak to us about the real us, the ideal us, and how God loves the real us, sees the ideal us, and is at work to make the real us something that glorifies Him. And is “real happiness” to be discovered by finding the “real me”? I don’t think so. The real me isn’t very pretty. What God knows I will someday become – now that’s something to bring happiness to us! But in the meantime, what I really need to find in order to have happiness in this life is the understanding of the grace and mercy of God that sees the real me, and loves me enough to not leave the real/sinful me alone, but sheds His blood, light and grace into my life to enable me to not become despondent in this world as I wait for the next.
PRAYER: Father, help us to see ourselves as you do, and to know that you love us infinitely. May be find our happiness in serving you, other and in becoming more like Jesus! In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Copyright 2016 by Galen C. Dalrymple. All rights reserved.