Every time you meet someone new, there are some standard questions that just about everyone asks as a means of getting to know the other person. The question that seems to be among the top three–that is, if it is not the very first question is: Where Are You From?
In answering the question, it is typical to name a place–perhaps the city and/or state where one was born or maybe the city and/or state of one’s current residence. Either way, it is typically a geographical location that you can find on a map–but is that really where you are from? That may be where you live or reside now or where you were born or grew up, but that is not where you are from–I mean it can’t be, if you are more than your physical self…if there is more to you than meets the eye. Sure, we can put a GPS on your physical self to pinpoint your location “in time”, but the essence of your being is from “beyond time” where a GPS has no access, no ability, and no authority.
You see, we are all born as embodied spirits under diverse circumstances and into a particular time period, place, and context “in time.” Simultaneously, we are also born from “beyond time” and from a place of commonality where our essence was pure spirit. So, our lives on earth and “in time” represent a journey to bringing these two truths into cohesion for the full expression of our embodied essence, and for a purpose greater than ourselves. The time period, the place, and the context provide clues that require our attention if we are to uncover the most authentic expression of who we “be” and what we are uniquely called to offer the world.
Let’s take a look at how these twin truths play out in the life of the prophet Jeremiah. He was born “in time” during the period of Jerusalem’s captivity at Anathoth in the land of Benjamin, and he was born the son of a priest. However, Jeremiah’s call confirms that he was also born “beyond time.” In Jeremiah 1:5, it states,
“Now the word of the Lord came to me saying, ‘Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.’”
The Hebrew word for “knew” is “yada”—which has a two-fold meaning wherein the knowing was a two-way proposition. On the one hand, God “knew” Jeremiah—which according to blueletterbible.org means “to perceive and see…find out and discern…distinguish …recognize…(or) know by experience.” The word “yada” also means “to make oneself known…to be perceived…(or) revealed,” in that God made God’s Self known to Jeremiah. Before Jeremiah was in his mother’s womb, before he was born into a particular time period, place, and context, God knew him and God knew the purpose for which he was created.
This journey is about recognizing that the question Where Are You From? is a complex inquiry and if you only have half the answer, you are only operating at half your capacity. It is also about bringing the truth of your “in time” physical self and your “beyond time” essence into cohesion for the full expression of who you “be” and the purpose for which you were created.
Tara LaShawn Seabrook is a self-proclaimed “free spirit,” a public, practical, and prophetic theologian; a spiritual and social justice activist; a creative and cultural artist; and a prolific teacher, speaker, and writer. Currently, she resides in Guatemala where she is finishing up a 2-year volunteer in mission commitment with a non-governmental organization before returning to her native Charleston, SC in the spring of 2017. Her book based on her original poem, “I Am She: The Anthology” will be released later this year.