In early February, prompted by a number of emails, we posted a discussion that focused on Tell Me Something, Just Where Are You At? After some recent and really interesting conversations with friends and colleagues, a peripheral, but even more essential question popped up… Who do you Think You Are?
This is not an easy question for most of us to answer. Often it is not even a mindful or deliberate question. But it is a question that we’re all unconsciously asking, and it’s one that we will wrestle with all the days of our lives. We know the signs: we aren’t quite content, we are fighting to be the top dog, we need to do more, our self talk secretly condemns us for coming up short, we don’t feel worthy, we look down on the new guy or those less fortunate and we are always in comparative mode.
We do this because most of us struggle with seeing ourselves accurately. Many of us don’t know who we are and if we did search and discover, we might admit that we don’t like who we are either. There are some of us who see ourselves as better than others, and there are some of us who struggle with feeling inadequate, constantly seeking the approval of others. We live in a performance based world.
I am convinced that the extent to which we’re able to accurately (or my favorite word –precisely) see ourselves affects not only our relationships, but also the satisfaction and contentment in our lives.
In order to discover God’s unique purpose for each of our lives, we must learn how to see ourselves for who we really are — not who we want to be or who we think we are.
This question is not a novel one. In fact, the Apostle Paul addresses this actual issue in his letter to the Romans. He instructed them to first get an accurate self-assessment. He wrote, “Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment.” (Romans 12:3)
If you study it carefully, that word sober and the word think is all the same root word. It appears several times in one verse. What he is saying is don’t think too high, don’t think too low. But, just as we have a DNA physically that is unique and God-given, he wants us to look in the mirror of our soul, of our body, and say I was designed for a purpose. I am made uniquely. I need to know what my strengths are. I need to know what my weaknesses are. I need to know my primary spiritual gift because then that will align with my purpose and my passion and where I fit in the body of Christ. I need to get comfortable with the fact that I can do some things really well and others can do some different things really well.
It requires taking an honest look at how our relationships, family backgrounds, environment, significant others, personalities, and values shape the ways we think about ourselves. I think we have pictures in our mind of what is acceptable. We have media models, or church leadership, or maybe there is someone who really impacted your life. You want to be like them. So, you kind of imitate their gift. You must really get a hold of the fact that anytime I compare myself with another person, it will always produce carnality. Either I’m envious, or I feel superior. “I’ve compared, and I’m a little better than them” – can lead to pride and arrogance. “I’ve compared, and I don’t measure up” – now I am jealous or resentful and maybe even covetous. Well, that is just not a good place to be.
Remember Moses? He had quite the journey trying to figure out who he was. We read in Exodus 2-4 that over the course of Moses’ life he had to come to terms with his distorted view of himself – first it was too high and then it was too low. Initially, as the Prince of Egypt, when he asked a Hebrew that was in the wrong, “Why are you hitting your fellow Hebrew?” The man said, “Who made you ruler and judge over us” or- Who do you think you are? (Too high a view.)
When God called him to lead God’s people out of slavery in Egypt, he put up quite a protest and begged God not to send him. Moses responded “Who am I?” or – who do you think I am? (Too low a view.)
But God knew Moses was the perfect person for the job. He used Moses’ desires to help the Israelites, as well as his background, education and all of his experiences growing up in Pharaoh’s house as the needed preparation to fulfill His unique divine design for Moses’ life.
I love that—a sober self—an honest, accurate self assessment frees you up to quit pretending and thinking, “Well, if I had that, if I drove that, if people thought that, or if I could only get in this zip code.” A lot of our drives for significance and security are rooted in the fact that we simply don’t have a sober self assessment.
The media of the world is telling me that my success and significance is going to come because of what I have and how I look. When I can say no to that, and then when I get this accurate view of myself, what you are starting to see is this picture of freedom. You’re starting to see you’re going to know the truth, and the truth will set you free.
“Wow, you mean I don’t have to be everything.” I don’t have to cover and act like I’ve got it together. My weaknesses really are the doorways I can open to invite people into my life. Using my strengths, instead of acting humble, I can say, “You know I’m good at that. I’ll take care of that.”
So how can we begin to come to grips with our true self? Here are a few ways to get started:
- Ask God to help you recognize the warped and distorted mirrors of the world that have helped shape an inaccurate view of yourself.
- Push the PAUSE button on the life tapes you have been listening to; hit REWIND and ERASE. Now begin to renew you mind. Romans 12:2 – “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”
- Get God’s view of yourself through reading His word. Focus on the passages that specifically talk about how God sees you as his beloved son/daughter.
- Ask one or two trusted friends to help you see yourself the way they see you.
- Note your strengths and weaknesses and discover your primary spiritual gift.
- Celebrate daily and enjoy the fact that you are unique; you are loved, accepted and being prepared to fulfill your divine assignment.
This does not happen instantly, it is a journey (just like Moses) and you should embrace the journey. Remember, no one can give you a more accurate view of your life than God. You’re His tapestry — a work of art! God created you individually and uniquely. There is absolutely no one else in the universe with DNA like yours. And He wants to use everything in your past and all of who you are in the present to accomplish His divine assignment for your life! “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Eph 2:10)
Jerry Duling is a Marketing and Business Consultant, Professional Speaker, and Social Media advisor. Jerry shows businesses how to use Social Media to build their brand, generate leads and close sales. Jerry also provides individual resources for the Internet Entrepreneur. Connect with Jerry on Google+.