WE might be tempted to complete this sentence in all sorts of ways, not all of them positive. Someone may say, ``I'm the kind of person who has trouble getting to know people.'' Or ``I'm the kind of person who can't speak in public.'' ``I'm the kind of person who can't work with numbers.'' Sometimes when we label ourselves in a particular way, the label seems very permanent. We may not run into any immediate problems with a limited sense of our abilities. But every now and then circumstances may demand of us something we don't think fits into our definition of ourselves. Then what do we do?
What if, at these times when we hear ourselves say (with some panic!), ``But I'm the kind of person who...'' -- what if right then we asked, ``Who said so? Who said I can't speak in public? Who said everything has to go wrong for me? Who said I'm not worthwhile?'' The Bible can give us some interesting answers.
The first two chapters in the book of Genesis offer two different answers. The first account is a spiritual description of creation -- God's, Spirit's, creation of man and the universe to express the goodness and perfection of His nature. The second account is allegorical -- a description of evil's lie that God would make man unlike Himself and capable of sinning. It is in this second account that we find a clue about who is doing all this negative name-calling. The Bible says, ``And out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof.''1
Mary Baker Eddy, a devout student of the Bible and the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, saw this account as allegorical, and she describes Adam's work in this way: ``Beholding the creations of his own dream and calling them real and God-given, Adam -- alias error -- gives them names.''2 Is that, in a sense, what's happening when we define ourselves negatively? Are we letting an Adam view of creation, this erroneous concept of man as created from dust, as sinful and inadequate at every turn, identify us and determine what we're capable of?
In the first account in Genesis it is God who names each of His creations, and we have the unequivocal statement ``God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good.''3 This is the record of creation we can trust, because it alone gives an accurate description of God and man. If God's goodness is variable at best, and He condemned man from the outset, what hope is there for us?
I once thought I was the kind of person who couldn't memorize things -- and I had successfully avoided such situations for years! But then I was faced with an important assignment that required strict memorization. I decided to apply some of the ideas that I had learned in Christian Science. I stopped saying, ``I'm the kind of person who is bad at memorizing.'' Instead I turned to God in prayer to learn more of myself as His likeness, as the image of divine Mind. I saw that it was God who had created man, named him, and so it was God who had created me and named me, or given me my identity as His intelligent reflection. I saw that I could trust God's work.
I was able to do the memorization with nearly perfect recall, and I haven't had any difficulty with memorization since. I've also had a wonderful time doing many things that I thought I didn't want to or couldn't do -- all because I stopped saying in a negative way, ``I'm the kind of person who...'' and instead let God tell me what I can do.
We really can stop telling ourselves and others that we are not capable, because God is lovingly calling us His own dear children.
You're the kind of person who can do anything good you need to do!
1Genesis 2:19. 2Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 528. 3Genesis 1:31. DAILY BIBLE VERSE: It is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure. Philippians 2:13