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.