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Amnesia




In 2002, Matt Damon stepped onto the big screen to play the role of Jason Bourne. The movie opens with him getting picked up by a fishing boat only to discover he’s lost his memory. He has absolutely no clue who he is, how he ended up in the Mediterranean, and especially why there are two gunshots in his back. No matter your Rotten Tomatoes score, The Bourne Identity is an action-packed thriller. What I most connected to in the movie wasn’t the chase scenes or the gun fights, it was watching the main character slowly rediscover his purpose in life. Bit by bit as the information rolled in, Bourne began to see more about how his life fit together and what his true identity was. It struck me that all of us in life wrestle with the same problem. We’ll have to overcome some amnesia.


Now look, I’m not going to spiritualize The Bourne Identity and try and draw some sketchy comparisons between us and Matt Damon, but think about it, we’ve all had amnesia. Car keys anyone? I had some amnesia this week in the gym. After just seven days off, it felt as if my body completely forgot how to move. I found myself struggling to achieve basic positions, hit simple lifts, and finish WOD’s without completely self-destructing. I spent the better part of five days recovering my identity as an athlete. It was a process of self-discovery, or in this case, self-rediscovery.


I believe we’re in this process all the time, in so many areas of our life. Think about the evolution of your identity over the course of your life. Pretty crazy! But something happens when we migrate into adulthood, we lose the sense of adventure that once came with the journey. We settle into an identity that for most people is primarily physical. Not just physical in the sense of working out or staying in shape. I mean physical in the sense of tangible things, like your career or your financial worth. This is such a limited way of thinking, and I should know, because for almost 40 years it’s how I operated. Then one day I realized God is more interested in who we are than what we do. And because we are both body and soul, our identity must be both physical and spiritual.


But unlocking our spiritual identity can have us feeling like Jason Bourne (ok, only comparison, I promise). This however is where we find our true purpose, or our calling in life. More than a vocation, a calling is akin back to the childhood adventure of discovering your identity. Author Os Guinness describes it this way:


“Are you looking for more purpose in life? For a purpose big enough to absorb every ounce of your attention, deep enough to plumb every mystery of your passions, and lasting enough to inspire you to your last breath?”


Uh yeah Os, sign me up! This is the search for your spiritual identity, where you find answers to these two questions: Who are you in the eyes of God, and how has He wired you to change the world? Not surprisingly, a journey like this has the capacity to completely reorient your view of the world. Let me say it like this – your true purpose in this world will be formed around a legacy mindset. Legacy is the key, and it works in two ways. First, you focus on leaving this world better than you found it. You become investment centric. You’re investing time, talent, and resources primarily in the people around you. You’re building people up, helping fan into flame their purpose in life. Secondly, but just as important, you are building a Christ-like spiritual nature which you will carry into eternity. You are a caretaker in this world, but you live with Heaven in mind.


This is the adventure God is inviting you to step into. So, what are you waiting for? You don’t have to quit your six-figure job or liquidate your 401k. All you need to do is start by asking God to show you. Or maybe life has pulled you away from the pursuit of your purpose and today it’s time to ask God to lead you back. My identity as an athlete in the gym wasn’t going to be rediscovered by staying disengaged. Engage God today and let your adventure begin. Who knows, one day you may not be able to remember life without Him. And that’s not amnesia, that’s transformation!


Questions for Reflection:


Do you see a difference between a calling and a career? If so, how do you reconcile them?


Why do you think God reveals our purpose over time rather than all at once?

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