Ok, this one is tough to share. Lol. What will you think of me?! 😉 Ironically, I am practicing my resolution today by sharing with you!
“This is your life.. are you who you want to be?”
This little phrase developed into an anthem for my life a few years ago taken from a 2003 Switchfoot song. I began daily listening to it first thing in the morning as I brushed my teeth, combed my hair and stared at the getting-close-to-forty face looking back at me.
Am I who I want to be? Or am I who I think everyone else thinks I should be? Or am I stuck being someone I don’t want to be? Or am I someone I don’t like, but seem to keep on being that person anyway?
You see sometimes in our life we grow up thinking that everything around us defines us. People in our life, community, leaders, culture.. And, when we think that, guess what? Our actions follow. So, we allow those definitions to take root, and limit our actions to fit in the little box afforded us.
Oh, their family is just that way. Oh, people with that color of skin are just that way. Oh, women are just that way. Oh, he’s always done things that way. Oh, that temper just runs in her family. Oh, people that age just always think that way. Oh, he won’t ever be anything else, he’s just not capable.
Oh, she just IS……
But, all that stuff doesn’t define me. Nope. It contributes to my life. Like a recipe with a dash of this, and a tablespoon of that.. It all becomes part of who I am. But, it doesn’t define ME.
Define: To explain the meaning of : to show or describe something clearly and completely. (Merriam-Webster).
There are things that we are so grateful for in life! We are happy for their contribution, and glad it’s part of who we are!
But, here’s the thing.. there are things in our lives that we really don’t want to define us. But, we feel restricted like they do. Trapped. One of my very favorite songs right now is John Mayer’s “In The Blood.” I cried the first time I heard it, because it reached deep into my soul, and straight to the lies that whisper to me that I am limited by my past to deter becoming who I want to be. Maybe you can relate? Mistakes we’ve made, failures, abuse from others, family struggles.. the list goes on and on. “Could I change it if I wanted, can I rise above the flood? Will it wash out in the water, or is it always in the blood?” (Mayer, 2017, In the Blood).
So, my resolution I’ll share with you is this!
Practice the courage to be myself.
Who do I want to be?
I guess the first step is us being intentional to think about it. And, to realize we aren’t limited by that other stuff. I’m not stuck… my Father made me free!
You aren’t stuck either.
I know these things:
1) I am made in the image of God! (WHOA!)
2) I am a sinner that tries to find other things to fix my cravings. I desire stuff that’s not for me, and sometimes I over-desire stuff that might be good in my life, but it still isn’t Him! And, over-desiring that stuff still gets me off-balance because it’s temporary! He is eternal!
3) God’s grace is sufficient for yesterday, today and forever! When I am one with Him, I am balanced and complete. Seeking Him reveals more and more of my definition!
Some ways for me that help me practice….
-Being vulnerable, always truthful and sincere with my thoughts, but also kind and sensitive to the needs of others.
-Listening to others, and sharing with others in safety. Staying away from gossip.
-Enjoying the moments of bliss I find! For me often with music, (or other awe-inspiring gifts from God) that completely jive with who He made me. You know the moments that you sing along with to the top of your lungs in the car. Or, you listen to with tears. The moments were you have to just sit spellbound at scenery that doesn’t seem real. And, then, for me that Beethoven symphony that leaves me with chill bumps and a sense of awe EVERY TIME?!
-Stopping to enjoy the sunset, or savor the coffee. Giving myself the OK to rest, play, and create!
-Not stressing about what people want, need or try get from me… But give freely of the right things at the right time. What’s on my plate? Take care of those things step by step… and practice the word, “no” when it’s needed. 😊 Every time I say yes to something, I am also saying no to something else. So, make sure my yes’s are the ones I want, and the no’s are the right ones for me.
-“Where ever I am, being all there.” ~Elisabeth Elliot. Wholehearted living!
And, when I mess up (because I surely do and surely will…) getting back on the path and taking a step at a time back in the right direction!
Hey, remember as Dr Seuss says… “There’s no one you’er than you!” And that’s not a mistake… God shaped and fashioned you!
The practice of being ourselves takes courage, insight, and honesty. Not just simply, well folks – this is me and this is what you get kinda courage… ‘cos honestly that can leaving us feeling very dissatisfied at the end of many days. Rather, the courage to be who we truly are. Who we are created to be! And all with the flair of the individual ways He made you and me! To practice shedding ourselves from lies of our image that weigh us down – hate, fear, insecurity, pain… and then practice putting on compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, patience, and strong love for ourselves and others!
Bearers of the image of God
Here’s what is fascinating.. our God is a God of ubiquitous diversity! Just take a look around, and then in the mirror! I’ll leave you with this quote that I heard once in a lecture…
“Every man is in certain respects like all other men, like some other men, like no other man.”
The same Switchfoot song also has this line.. “Don’t close your eyes.” Ahhh. That’s what I’d like to do some days.. lol.. but, courage isn’t always some big, bold hero with a cape and a big S on the chest… courage is taking the right steps today. It’s opening our eyes to look at reality. Steps. One by one by one… Not always an easy road, but the one that brings harmony inside, no matter what we are walking through on the outside.