"Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. You will be with child ..." (Luke 1:30)
No matter how troubled Mary was, her heart had been cultivated by faith, and she responded to the news with composure, dignity, and faith. She did not scream or fall on her face. She simply asked the angel a question: “How will this be … since I am a virgin?” (v. 34).
He made you you—on purpose. You are the only you—ever. Becoming ourselves means we are actively cooperating with God’s intention for our lives, not fighting him or ourselves.
Identity is not something that falls on us out of the sky. For better or for worse, identity is bestowed. We are who we are in relation to others. But far more important, we draw our identity from our impact on those others—if and how we affect them. We long to know that we make a difference in the lives of others, to know that we matter, that our presence cannot be replaced by a pet, a possession, or even another person. The awful burden of the false self is that it must be constantly maintained.
If then you are wise, you will show yourself rather as a reservoir than as a canal. A canal spreads abroad water as it receives it, but a reservoir waits until it is filled before overflowing, and thus without loss to itself [it shares] its superabundant water. (Bernard of Clairvuex)