Letters to Jesus (Unhelpful Mindsets and Attitudes) -15
Despite what popular psychology might tell us, we are not created by other people. Who and what we are, at center, is Your creation. It might be more accurate to say that we allow ourselves to be formed by others, but they do not create us.
We are a people who beam with inner pride at our gifts as though they were our own, and quickly assign blame elsewhere for our faults and failings. I have more than a vague suspicion that certain aspects of psychology are driven by a need to place blame outside ourselves. We speak of our parents, siblings, friends, spouse, and children as having made us who we are. In our weaknesses they get the blame, but in our strengths we usually take credit. I have no doubt that these people, and many more, are influences in our formation as persons. But they do not create me anymore than I create myself.
The created being seated deeply in our center is not formed by any person. It is that which informs us, if we listen, about all the ways we and others form us. The words and actions of others that may influence our lives are often allowed to veil the child-creature in us. This is why contemplative prayer is so appealing. In it, ideally, we shed everything that is not at our core. We delve deeply through the litter and meaningless residue that clings to our daily routines to get at, and rest in, Your creature, Your child. No one created this but You.
Every attempt of psychology, counseling, therapy, etc., whether it recognizes it or not, is to get back to this true self, this child in the garden we spend a lifetime trying to hide. I don’t think we’re exactly assigning blame when we consider the conspiracy of the world, the flesh, and the devil against us. But our strength is in the truth that they do not create us. That has been done, once and forever.
By analogy, it is something like the influence of words in our lives. In every waking moment of the day (and sometimes even in our dreams) our thoughts and actions are shaped by the words we hear, read, speak, or think. But the words are all superficial to the simple child creature we are at center. Words may form and change us like the influence of other people in our lives, but they don’t create us. And so, the higher levels of the spiritual life consist in transcending people and words and presenting our unencumbered child creature attentively at Your feet.