In this morning’s letter I want to challenge you. Give yourself some time and space to get away from the expectations, the conversations, the noise, the media, and the pressure. Take some time each day to go before the Lord and listen for His voice. Every person needs time alone, whether they're introverted or extroverted, single or in a relationship, young or old. Privacy is time for rejuvenation and God-talk, for utter peace and for realizing that purposeful "loneliness" is not a bad place to be but rather a liberating part of your overall existence.
It's very important to forget about what everyone else thinks because you cannot please everyone. And while you might not want to disappoint the people close to you, they should want you to be happy. As long as you continue to exist just to fulfill other people's ideas of who you should be you'll never know who you really are. A quote by Raymond Hull: "He who trims himself to suit everyone will soon whittle himself away." It’s ok to ask, “Who am I?" This question is not static. It should be one you continue to ask yourself throughout your life. A healthy person continues to reinvent themselves throughout their life. By asking this question regularly, it updates your understanding of who you are and how you change.
Instead of answering who you think you ought to be, keep it focused on who you actually are, because in all likelihood that's a very good answer! Even though I practice this religiously, finding yourself is a journey, not a destination. A lot of it is trial and error; but that's the price you pay in return for the satisfaction you receive: More often than not, you hit a bump in the road, and sometimes you fall flat on your face. Be prepared to understand and accept that this is a part of the process, and commit to getting right back up and starting over. It’s not going to be easy — it never has been for anybody — but if you learn to see that as a chance to prove how much you want to find yourself, then you'll find fulfillment and security in your pursuit. I have discovered when you know who you are; most people will respect you more and treat you better.
In order to be the most valuable person to the world around us, we have to first know who we are, what we value and, in effect, what we have to offer. This personal journey is one every individual will benefit from taking. It is a process that involves breaking down – shedding layers that do not serve us in our lives and don’t reflect who we really are. Yet, it also involves a tremendous act of building up – recognizing who we want to be and passionately going about fulfilling our unique destiny – whatever that may be. It’s a matter of recognizing our personal power, yet being open and vulnerable to our experiences. It isn’t something to fear or avoid, criticizing ourselves along the way, but rather something to seek out with the curiosity and compassion we would have toward a fascinating new friend.
In order to uncover who we are and why we act the way we do, we have to know our own story. Being brave and willing to explore our past is an important stepping stone on the road to understanding ourselves and becoming who we want to be. My research has shown that it isn’t just the things that happened to us that define who we become, but how much we’ve made sense of what’s happened to us. Unresolved traumas from our history inform the ways we act today. Painful early life experiences often determine how we define and defend ourselves. In short, they bend us out of shape, influencing our behavior in ways in which we are hardly aware. We should always be willing to look at the source of our most self-limiting or self-destructive tendencies. When we try to cover up or hide from our past experiences, we can feel lost and like we don’t really know ourselves. I know I’ve said a lot already, but you must understand unequivocally that TRUE identity is found in Jesus Christ. It is rooted in His freedom-giving mercy. Our TRUE identity is that of a child of God and a joint heir with Jesus Christ. Our spiritual inheritance is one of forgiveness, an intimate relationship with Jesus, and hope of spending all eternity enjoying fellowship with God. It is this truth that gives us unconditional love, intimacy, security and hope. And it is not based on our identity, but on what God has already accomplished at the cross. We need to take our lives back from trying to live up to these distorted beliefs and line our thinking up with the way God views us. Remember, God created us, and He can give us profound insight into ourselves.
Let’s pray: “Heavenly Father, thank you for the truth of Your word in Psalm 139. Help me to embrace your prearranged destiny for my life. In the name of Jesus, Amen”
One Simple Nugget: “Be yourself. Nobody is better qualified!”