So, have you determined who you don’t want to be?  Over the years I’ve told my kids that one of the surest ways to find out what you want to do in life is to find out what you don’t want to do.  This is in effect the process of elimination, a method used to identify something of preferred interest among a choice of several options.   The culminating objective of the process is intended to lead one to determine the best choice among several by excluding all choices but the right one.  Seems like I can even remember reading in years past how one of Thomas Edison’s most tried and true methods of inventing was to simply find out what didn’t work.  This methodology is what ultimately what gave us the light bulb. My guess too is that if you were anything like me, using the process of elimination was one of your most dependable methods of determining which answer was the right answer on those famed and highly preferred “multiple choice” tests.  I know I always preferred this method of testing since it kind of made me feel like I had a much higher probability of getting the right answer. 

So, I’ve been thinking recently about whether there are any parallels to consider between the process of elimination and how we go about finding the identities of our lives.  For example, is it even plausible to consider the question above and think that we can determine who we want to be by finding out who we don’t want to be?  My initial sense is this answer should be an emphatic “no!” since to do so would mean that the basis of our identity would in essence be found in comparing ourselves to other people.  I guess in large measure though this is how we do it today as we compare ourselves to those we might like to pattern ourselves after versus those we wouldn’t seek to emulate for anything.  But then when I think on this a bit more it seems to me that this idea of comparing ourselves to others might begin to be credible if the “other people” in the equation were us.  In other words, what if we were to compare ourselves to ourselves to determine what we like and didn’t like about ourselves?  At first glance it sounds a bit off the wall to me but doesn’t it seem like this is what we are doing when we look at ourselves in the mirror and recognize that we don’t like the person we see.  Isn’t it in this very tension where we find ourselves wrestling with the outward face we are presenting to the world versus the person we know ourselves to be on the inside?  Isn’t this the place where we come face to face with what or perhaps better stated  “who” we know to be true “behind the mask”?  And isn’t this the place where we wrestle with knowing the “real” us versus the “multiple choice” personas we present to the outside world?  

By now I imagine most of us have come to realize that even this approach doesn’t allow for long term authenticity.  It seems it too should be eliminated.  So, from where I sit we’re left with only one right answer and that is to find our identity as an image bearer of the One who created us.  No more need to play the higher probabilities of hoping we made the right choice.  Finding our immeasurable worth in the One who made us is one of those arenas in life where there is only one right choice. Maybe in the end we should be pursuing the process of illumination instead.  So, how about it? Has the light bulb come on for you?  Peace.