In last week’s post I touched briefly on the value of knowing, understanding and accepting my true identity.
This week, I just want to briefly share the four aspects that I had to address in order to really decipher this personal truth of who I am in God for myself. As you read I want you to bear in mind that this understanding is based on the belief that everything about me starts in and with God and will therefore flow from my relationship with Him coupled with a desire to know His perfect will for my life:
- What I pretend to be and why – Whether or not we realise it, we are often put in positions where we feel we have to pretend to be something we are not perhaps to fit in with or be accepted by others. Sometimes, we see people who have certain characteristics that we wish we had and then we proceed to emulate them in hopes of becoming like them. Other times, we might be forcing ourselves to fit into a specific role at work or school or society because society seems to endorse it whereas our natural inclination is to a different and possibly unique role. This is why after job interviews, first dates, hanging out in certain social circles etc we can feel mentally exhausted because pretending is hard work; you’re basically juggling an act while trying to not let the “real you” slip out.
It is so important for us to remember that God knew exactly what He was doing when He created us with our different characteristics because He knows the plans and thoughts that He has for us…plans for peace and well-being and not for disaster to give us a future and a hope (Jeremiah 29:11 AMP). I’ve figured it’s quite silly pretending that I’m humbler than I am or smarter than I am or more hardworking than I am or feign that I pray more or know the Bible more than I do because God knows He didn’t make me that way so why pretend to Him and myself? The good news is we actually never have or need to pretend with Him.
God is more pleased with genuine brokenness than spiritual pretentiousness. If I’m interested in finding and fulfilling His will and purpose for me, I’m going to have to be honest about who I am and get comfortable operating as my true self – flaws and all – and leave the rest to God. After all, He has the Owners’ manual!
- What I think I should be – Comparison is not only the thief of joy but, it also kills spiritual growth.
I used to envy people who seemed to achieve certain things at work, school, life in general and as a result I would feel bad because I felt I couldn’t achieve those same things especially as these other people clearly don’t have two heads. Sadly, this type of comparison blinded me from seeing my own achievements like my natural ability to be a public speaker or my entrepreneurial flair or my creative writing tendencies or my ever increasing passion to talk about how awesome God is.
I also used to think I was less spiritual than other Christians because they were the known prayer warriors in church or their theological knowledge seemed pretty sound. I practiced ‘spirituality by comparison‘ so much that I stunted my personal relationship with God. One day whilst self-reflecting, I just felt a release within me and a licence to be free and I began to understand that I actually wasn’t less spiritual than others but rather, I had different manifestations of that spirituality like how much I enjoyed reading my Bible and discussing it with others or how I actually feel strong urges to pray while I’m in the shower or how I can spontaneously burst into full praise and worship behind closed doors for hours or how I like to pray when I’m on a walk rather than wake up at 6am everyday (God did NOT make me a morning person!).
- What other people want me to be – My friends want me to communicate MORE. My aunties want me to get married NOW. The high street shops want me to buy stuff I don’t need. My parents have their ideas of what my career path should look like.
While some of their expectations are reasonable and good, it just seems like everybody has an agenda for me and it is unrealistic for me to sacrifice my inner freedom and peace in order to keep up with these expectations. Seeking to become what they ALL want me to be is a shallow way to live and realistically, none of them can tell me exactly how to change because they don’t know. Only God knows! Even I can’t tell myself how to change because I didn’t create myself.
The truth is that when people offer us seemingly wise counsel, they are more likely to have an agenda of theirs that needs you to do something or be something for them. When you truly love someone, you desire and work towards them becoming the best possible version of themselves. God is the only person who qualifies to do this because unlike every single human being on earth, He doesn’t have any hidden agenda or unmet needs that He’s hoping we can help Him with. He is the one who actually knows what the best possible version of ourselves looks like and because of His untainted love for us, “…we know [with great confidence] that God [who is deeply concerned about us] causes all things to work together [as a plan] for good for those who love God, to those who are called according to His plan and purpose” (Romans 8:28 AMP).
This simply means that God is at work every moment to help us become His best version of ourselves. And we’ll only be able to balance outside influences with our own goals and visions when we make up our minds to be happy about being the person God meant us to be—the one He’s working on every day.
- The ‘me’ I’m afraid God wants me to be – We were created for much more than we can comprehend at any one time. When God actually reveals a glimpse of what He has planned for us to do – through our God given dreams and aspirations – it can be overwhelming and we might become afraid because it looks impossible for us to accomplish especially when we focus on our weaknesses.
One of the most liberating truths for me in my everyday living is that weaknesses are not our enemy but rather they were given to us by God so that He can show off through us. That way, His word will ring true in our lives: “My grace is enough; it’s all you need. My strength comes into its own in your weakness.” (2 Corinthians chapter 12 verse 9 MSG).
From a spiritual viewpoint, I have seen than many people confuse the Bible to be more of a rule-book rather than a Living Guide to a fruitful life. This confusion causes people to equate their spiritual maturity to how hard they try to keep to the rules and therefore, their Christian walk becomes one of obligation as opposed to a desire of the heart. God’s aim was never to produce a bunch of rule-followers and the Bible explains this,”The obvious impossibility of carrying out such a moral program should make it plain that no one can sustain a relationship with God that way. The person who lives in right relationship with God does it by embracing what God arranges for him. Doing things for God is the opposite of entering into what God does for you. Habakkuk had it right: “The person who believes God, is set right by God—and that’s the real life.” Rule-keeping does not naturally evolve into living by faith, but only perpetuates itself in more and more rule-keeping, a fact observed in Scripture: “The one who does these things [rule-keeping] continues to live by them.” (Galatians 3: 11- 12 MSG).
Rigid adherence to rules and regulations produces a desire-smothering, emotion-controlling, self-righteous person.
Embracing what God has arranged for me is the key to fearlessly being who He wants me to be.
That’s all from me this week lovelies!
Sending you warmth and love and joy and peace for the week ahead,
The Steph Way