4 Steps to Finding Your True Self

-Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to finding yourself, your true self. What good would it do to get everything you want and lose you, the real you-- Luke 9-25 The Message

Have you lost the real you?

Frederick Buechner wrote in his book Telling Secrets:

We try to make ourselves into something that we hope the world will like better than it apparently did the selves we originally were. That is the story of all our lives, needless to say, and in the process of living out that story, the original, shimmering self gets buried so deep that most of us end up hardly living our of it at all. Instead, we live out all the other selves which we are constantly putting on and taking off like coats and hats against the world’s weather.

Do you find this to be true in your life as well?

Sometimes I find myself putting on a “coat and hat” in order to feel good about myself, and later a totally different set of clothes when the first set didn’t work. I keep trying on different outfits, none of them fitting exactly right. I begin to lose the real me. I cover up the “original, shimmering self” that God made me to be.

4 Steps to Finding Your

Ironically, Jesus tells me that the way to finding my true self is not to add new clothes to my life but to give my “self” away.

For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself?  Luke 9:24-25

When we try to protect ourselves from difficulty, we may lose our true lives. When we try to fit into the world–acting as someone it would like a little better–I forfeit myself.

It seems counter-intuitive, but the best way to find my true self is to sacrifice my rights to myself. To lay my life in God’s hands so He can restore the shimmering self, the person I was meant to be.

Of course, this is easier said than done. My sinful self is always arguing with my authentic self that this will be too difficult, too scary, too painful. And truthfully, sacrificing my rights to myself is almost always challenging and agonizing. But when I have been able to quiet the sinful self and lay my life with its hopes and dreams in God’s hands, He has led me to joy, hope, and self-discovery.

So how can you find your authentic self?

  1. Ask God for wisdom. Pray to our loving Father, asking Him to show you if you’ve been wearing a self that you hope the world likes better than the real you.
  2. If you realize you’ve been wearing a “coat and hat” to please other people, ask the Holy Spirit to help you lay it down.
  3. Receive God’s grace and forgiveness.
  4. Place your life in God’s hands and realize He loves you just as you are.

Let’s abandon the “other selves” we are tempted to wear and shut out the arguments of our sinful self in order to find the “original, shimmering self” that God intended each of us to be.

Next step: Follow the steps above. Write out a prayer to the Father, thanking Him for His grace, love, and acceptance.

When Your Part Seems Small: Playing in the Symphony of Life

If you are feeling unnoticed read why you are really indespensible.

Every so often I persuade my husband to attend a concert of classical music with me  A while ago we traveled into the city to hear the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

As soon as we found our seats, I knew something special was going to happen. On the stage, behind the chairs set up for the string section, sat six harps. I had never seen so many harps in one place! I could hardly wait to hear what fantastic part they would play in the opening music by Wagner.

But wait is what I did. The harpists sat for almost twenty minutes while the violinists and cellists moved their bows over their strings, while the flautists and oboists blew their horns, while the percussionists banged drums and clashed cymbals.

Finally, at the end of the Wagner pieces, the harpists pulled their harps toward their shoulders and began to pluck strings. But still I could barely hear them because, as they were plucking, drums were pounding, trumpets were blowing.

I wondered if the harpists were disappointed that they didn’t have a bigger part to play in the performance.

Truth be told, I sometimes feel like those harpists.

In the performance of life, it often seems like I do more waiting than performing. And when my time comes to play, hardly anyone notices. I sometimes feel that in the grand symphony of life, the part I play is very small. I wonder if I can make any difference at all.

When I read 1 Corinthians I wonder if some of the people that the apostle Paul was writing to in Corinth were feeling the same way. Paul uses the analogy of the body and tells the Corinthians that as Christians we are all part of Christ’s body. Some of us are eyes, some are ears, some are hands. But we are all important.

In fact, he writes:

Those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable.

(1 Corinthians 12:22)

When Wagner composed the piece for orchestra, he considered the harpists indispensable. Otherwise, he would not have included them. The timbre of the plucking strings was necessary for the sound he wanted to achieve. Though they waited a long to play and had a small part, the music would not have been the same without them.

Though we may wait for a long time to play our part, even though our part may seem small, it is crucial in God’s symphony of life. He made each of us for a specific purpose and role. He wants us to know our worth in His plan.

In God’s symphony of life, you are indispensable.

Question: How do you see your current role in God’s symphony of life? Waiting? Playing?

indispensable

Finding Your True Self

true self

Finding your true self–it’s a quest we are all on.

Because too often we live in a disguise.

Did you put on your funny self today to hide the pain in your heart? Did you dress up in the competent, confident self even though you feel like a failure? Are you wearing the bubbling, outgoing self to cover up the loneliness inside?

We’ve all been there.

We don’t think anyone will love the real person inside and so we cover up the authentic self with a closet full of disguises. Or we’ve neglected the true self for so long we aren’t even sure who that is anymore.

God is in the business of resurrecting our true selves. We can find that authentic person when we believe that God truly loves us as we are. Not the disguise. Not the mask. He loves our authentic self.

Now, finding that authentic self sometimes requires a bit of discomfort as Jesus peels away the masks we have been wearing. Jesus said:

Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to finding yourself, your true self. What kind of deal is it to get everything you want but lose yourself? What could you ever trade your soul for? Matthew 16:26 (MSG)

Self-sacrifice sounds painful. But don’t worry–Jesus work is gentle. Even as He asks us to give up one of our false identities, He fills us with His love and grace. And when we do make that sacrifice, we often feel a sense of relief. Release in not trying to be someone we are not.

Today ask God to reveal to you any masks you have been wearing.

Feel the freedom of being your true self as you allow Him to peel the mask away.

Remember Christ loves the real you.

Question: What masks are you sometimes tempted to wear?

 

How to Come Out From Behind the Mask

mask

Are you wearing a mask?

It’s Halloween and you might be dressing up for a party or donning a costume to hand out treats at your door.

But are you wearing a mask now? Did you wear a mask yesterday? Will you wear one tomorrow?

I admit that I sometimes I hide behind a false identity because I’m afraid that you won’t like the real me. I’m careful to disguise my flaws. Cover up my vulnerability.

Authenticity scares us. So we tend to dab on a mask like we apply our makeup. We cover up mistakes like we conceal blemishes.

But what does God tell us about honesty? Colossians 3:9-10 says:

Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.

God wants us to practice honesty with each other. Of course this means avoiding lying, deceit, and general fibbing, but I think at the root of this our Father is also telling us, “Don’t try to be someone you are not. Do try to be the person I called you to be.”

In Colossians, Paul tells us that we are able to do this because we have taken off our old self—the old self that needed to impress others, put on airs, and look good at all costs.

The new self is OK with authenticity, because the honest truth is that our new image is the image of our Creator. Romans 8:29 tells us we are “conformed to the image of His Son.” When God looks at us, He doesn’t see the mess that we sometimes see in the mirror. He sees us looking like Jesus—covered with His holiness.

When I find myself once again trying to apply a mask, I try to hang onto the truth that God loves me just as I am. He knows I sometimes struggle, but He also sees me as totally pure and victorious in Jesus. When I remember this, I am free to take off the mask and risk uncovering flaws.

Embrace transparency and experience the freedom of life without masks. 

Question: Does coming out from behind the mask scare you?

This post was adapted from my book Bless These Lips. Bless These Lips