Here it is, folks. My tattoo.
It’s a tad bigger than I originally hoped for, but the longer I’ve had it, the more I’ve grown to love everything about it.
But for those of you who don’t know the meaning behind it, here’s the full explanation:
The inspiration comes from a song called “In a Sweater Poorly Knit” by mewithoutYou. The song basically expands on Galatians 2:20 where Paul says, “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.” Aaron Weiss of mewithoutYou takes that a step further, and, based on many other passages in Scripture that speak on the Holy Spirit’s presence in the life of a Christian, talks about his and God’s existence. The more Aaron invited the Spirit to dwell inside of him and work through him, the more he felt his own self fading away. His worldly desires and selfish ambitions began to dissolve when the Spirit came in, and he was able to experience the fruits of the Spirit in a whole new way. Where “Aaron” would hate, the Spirit would love. Where “Aaron” would feel misery, the Spirit would bring joy.
Also, Aaron often speaks on the word “I” and how meaningless the concept truly is. “The ‘I’ is an unintelligible lie”. As humans, and in our culture especially, we are so unfathomably selfish. We are an individualistic society that always puts “I” first, and that gets us in so much trouble. The American church is one of the worst offenders of this theme, too. We get too wrapped up in our own desires, our own comforts, or own luxuries, that we don’t even see what a trainwreck we’ve become. We don’t love as we should. We don’t spread joy or peace. We don’t show patience or kindness or goodness, or even faithfulness. We aren’t very gentle, nor do we exhibit self-control. Why? Because we’re so wrapped up in “I” problems. “I” don’t want to love those people. “I” don’t think they deserve kindness. “I” don’t want to control myself. “I” problems are what gets us stuck in depression ruts, and “I” problems are why our culture is so screwed up. So, in reality, if I could eliminate my own “I” problems, that sure would make life a whole lot better. Not easier. Not more comfortable or more enjoyable, but better. And I can’t do it on my own, because after all, I’m just another “I” adding to the problem. If I want to eliminate the “I”, I need some divine intervention.
So basically, back to Aaron, his message in the song is essentially that. The more his faith grows, and the more he invites the Spirit in him, the more his own identity, or his “I”, shrinks to nothing. And the more the Spirit lives through him and in him, the more like Christ he becomes. He no longer desires things of the flesh, because he is no longer himself, but a much more whole form of himself. He desires the Spirit to be the only part of him that the world sees.
That’s what the tattoo means for me. I am now reminded every day to allow the Spirit to take over. I want to rid myself of the lies of “I”, and exchange it for the truths of the Spirit. When people look at me, I don’t want them to see me. I want them to see Jesus. I want my identity to be so intertwined with Jesus’s identity that I can no longer distinguish between the two.
“I do not exist. Only You exist.”