"Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it." - Matthew 10:39
Individualism tells you that you are special and unique. So go find that unique quality about yourself, then live by that quality and then you will be happy. In other words, the first thing to do is "Find yourself."
Here's the problem. As soon as I discover something unique about myself, I meet someone else with the exact same issue. There might even be a support group for it. There's probably even a support group for people who are incapacitated by the devastating realization that their problems are not unique.
What if finding yourself is just a trick to get us to find out about other people? What a rip-off. I went out to find myself and all I got was a bunch of other people. I want my time and money back.
Jesus doesn't try to trick anyone. He is honest about how he sees it. Instead of saying "Find yourself," Jesus says "Lose yourself."
I used to think that losing myself, while admirable and unselfish, would make me miserable. I assumed that I would lose what I want, what I seek and what I need so that someone else could have all my things instead. I put "losing myself" on my list of noble things to do in the future, once I have everything I need.
But now that I have had some experience chasing after myself and my own uniqueness, I can see the ways in which that quest to find myself has made me miserable, as well as a few other people along the way.
Individualism means you only have your own story. But if you let go of the quest for uniqueness, you can have a bigger story, one that includes you but is not solely about you.
Your life has meaning because it is not the only story. Lose yourself, you may like it.
Thank you, God, for finding me so I don't have to find myself. Amen.
Lillian Daniel's new book Tired of Apologizing for a Church I Don't Belong To: Spirituality without Stereotypes, Religion without Ranting is now available for purchase, but you can hear it all for free at 1st Congregational Church of Dubuque, Iowa.