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Finding Others

August 17, 2010

by Jeremiah Kim

A reflection on self-discovery and the discovery of others.

The opportunity for someone to “find” himself or herself is unique, and for many, college is that great opportunity. Few experiences gift an individual the time, space, and permission to begin the journey of self-discovery like the four-plus years of college. It was no different for me.

In fact, it was an incredibly exciting period in my life and the process of self-discovery even became addicting. After all, uncovering new thoughts and feelings is heart-pounding business. I spent countless hours devoted to turning over every stone and trying to mine every secret of my heart. Nothing escaped my mind’s introspective eye. And for every new discovery, I stood proudly in the knowledge that I was learning, growing; becoming more human.

Recently though, that I’ve been challenged to look at my love for introspection as something else – not as a love of progress and growth, as I’d like to see it, but really, as a love of self.

Over time, my part-time hobby of introspection became a full time obsession. I became consumed with analyzing my thoughts and motivations as a pathway to “arrival” – becoming a better person, friend, even follower of Christ. In reality, all I was doing was focusing on myself.

What’s even more embarrassing to admit though, is that despite recognizing this, I’m reluctant to change. The truth is, I’d rather have it my way. I’d rather be focused on myself, my problems, my goals, than anyone else’s. And if I can justify it in the name of self-discovery, I happily will.

Thus, this entire process has been an invitation to humility. I’m seeing that I’m not as good in considering the needs of others as I thought I was. And I’m not even close to letting go of my own comforts and desires, let alone for the sake of the others. I’m finding out that I’m not very good in putting other’s before myself at all.

However there is hope. Ever so slowly, I am being changed. I am being changed to be more open to others, even if for mere moments. I am being pushed to look outward toward others, even when my initial inclination drives me inward. And that in itself is an exciting thing. After all, we are all called to lay down ourselves in the service of others. And in doing so, I am being shown that discovering others can be just as exciting and even more fulfilling than discovering self.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Jason Lee permalink
    August 18, 2010 11:44 PM

    Hey Jeremiah, good to hear from you via blog. I enjoyed reading about what you’re going through, as much as it might sound weird to say that I enjoy reading about your internal struggles. I guess that’s the whole point of testimony though. Well, what you are saying is really reminding me of this book, “Counterfeit Gods” by Tim Keller which is supposed to be a great read. He talks a lot about idolatry being often times turning things that are good into things that are ultimate. It’s a really tricky and bizarre situation, and it seems like as a Christian, we will always be walking a fine line in terms of that. You should check out the book if you haven’t already, here is a video that Tim Keller posted about it.

    Again, good to hear from you!

  2. August 19, 2010 10:25 AM

    Hey Jason, thanks for the read, and thanks for the video link.
    I’ve poked around your blog and really have enjoyed it – I just haven’t mustered the courage to comment since you and your friends are much smarter than I am.
    I really enjoy what I’ve read/heard of Keller – he appreciate his posture towards others, an area that I can obviously grow in.
    I think what you said about the process of faith, putting our trust in the unseen, is spot on – it’s a really tricky path to negotiate as we are always searching for things that can offer “certainty.” So often it’s really difficult to accept that what seems least certain at the moment offers us ultimate life and meaning and the things that seem most sturdy and life-giving will leave us empty and wanting.
    So it is in my process in learning to whole-heartedly pursue others – not just myself.
    Thanks again, Jason.

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