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finding the full-time “you”

On the day that we were born we were provided an environment that became the foundation of our persona. It may have been a nurturing, loving, and encouraging place. Or it may have been one of uncertainty, pain, and fear. For the better part of our childhood, we were given all that we knew. We had no choice in our surroundings. And we had no ability to control the outcomes of our lives. In a sense, we were held captive by the lives that we were offered. Labeled as fortunate or neglected, we came to know our prescribed positions in life’s pecking order as a result of what was given us.

Scientific studies have proven that our personalities are nearly completely formed by the time we reach age 7. The traits that we exhibit by this age will likely become the ones that remain present in us for the duration of our adult lives. That sure seems unfair, doesn’t it? I mean perhaps it is acceptable for those rare occurrences when a child is offered a near flawless upbringing. But in a world filled with sinful, imperfect human beings who find themselves engaged in their very own struggles of personal growth, the likelihood is that very few of us were offered a Utopian childhood. So is it acceptable then? Should we all embody the flaws of a childhood persona that we never willingly chose?

The good news is that regardless of our imperfect beginnings in this world, we are all children of a perfect, loving God. And we all have been given equal opportunity to excel in life in the manner in which the Lord has called us. God cares about us, about our personal growth, and about our spiritual journey with Him. He has the power to inspire us to build a new life, one of our choosing and not one simply of circumstance. We are not called to live a life of chance, but rather we are called to live a life of faith.

You were given a prescription at an early age for the direction of the course of your life. It may have been outwardly spoken, or it may have been more subtle, concealed instruction. And as you grew into adulthood, your persona – the very core of your being, began guiding your path. Your relationships, your decisions about the future, your education, your career…in all likelihood they’ve all been shaped in one way or another by the personality that’s been in place since age 7. And if you’re anything like me, you may have spent many years never thinking twice about how you ended up where you arrived in your adult life. It’s just the natural course of existence playing out as it was meant to, right?

In walks adversity. With a body blow and a right hook, it knocks us down but it doesn’t knock us out. Life goes on as we struggle valiantly to continue the fight and maintain our prescribed course…that is until hardship returns again, and again, and again. And then at some point, we pay a visit deep within our souls and reach out to God for help. Perhaps it’s our first time speaking to the Lord in an intimate way. Maybe we’ve found ourselves with nowhere left to turn. And so we offer ourselves up to the Lord seeking forgiveness, seeking direction, and seeking restoration. We have nothing left to lose, and we’ve decided once and for all that life cannot go on in a manner this unfulfilling and painful.

Soon after, as we let go and let God into our lives, the truth is revealed to us. And like a child taking his or her first breath, we are reborn. Patterns are revealed. Forgiveness is offered. Weights are lifted. It’s as if we’ve lived our lives blinded and we’ve only now been given the ability to see all that’s in front of us. And it’s not simply circumstance and surroundings, but rather meaning, purpose, and the true path to success and fulfillment. A path that is unique to us…unique to the calling that God has in mind for us. What an amazing blessing! Just writing about it brings butterflies to my stomach and a flutter to my chest.

Being born anew is a process that I feel most Christians go through when they reconnect intimately with their Lord and Savior. Having once lived completely captive to my own darkness, I can personally tell you that it’s an absolutely beautiful, liberating experience to be offered new life through Christ. The devil would like for us to believe in our perceived weaknesses, to view ourselves as victims of chance and worldly setbacks and to embrace the deficiencies of our early childhood developed personas. Because in doing so, we are providing him with the ability to limit us through the promotion of fears and failures that cause us to shrink back and reduce our participation in life. We essentially become servants to limited thinking and forfeit our God given purpose. But when we allow light to shine back into our lives through a spiritual rebirth, our light magnifies and creates inspiration and movement among others in the darkness. And the battle between good and evil shifts even further into the favor of the Lord.

But the battle does not end with our rebirthing experience. The devil will continue to aggressively pursue those whom he has previously held captive, because their liberation poses a real threat to his evil schemes. You will become a marked target. And as you choose to redefine your adult persona through your faith in Christ, you will be challenged by the world and tempted by circumstance to shrink back into comfort. Yes, comfort. It can be very comfortable to embody a fearful, weak, angry, and inadequate perception of yourself if that’s what your childhood developed persona embodies. If negativity and adversity has been the prevailing pattern in your life, it’s going to take sincere sustained efforts to blaze a new trail. God gives us the vision, but we are called to put His vision into action.

Putting the vision into action can be difficult. Sometimes what God calls us to do during our spiritual awakening is found to be quite unconventional by traditional standards. It takes faith. And if we’re not strong, we will become very easily influenced by the world around us and the demands that modern living puts on our time and resources. I am a man who attempts to be very committed to his faith. But I personally must admit that I haven’t fully bought in to God’s plan for my life since my rebirthing experience a couple of years ago. And it should be no surprise that I have felt unfulfilled inside for quite some time as a result. I’ve allowed circumstance and worldly considerations to disrupt God’s vision for my life. I’ve made excuses to direct myself off course in order to fulfill obligations that I’ve made myself believe need to take precedence over stepping out in my faith. And that’s wrong. It’s no surprise that I’ve felt torn inside and as though I’m simply going through the motions as a believer. I have been. My commitment needs more substance.

In the early years of my life I developed a personality not fully of my choosing that I discovered through my rebirth in Christ to be off track with my calling. Today, I am continuously working to reshape my persona with God’s vision for me in mind. I am forgiven, I am new, but it has taken a relentless fight against the devil to prevail against a failure laden past demeanor. Darkness has tempted me with every adversity imaginable. The devil has directed me off course several times, and I have allowed it as a willing participant. But today, I stand again strong in the Lord, speaking out against evil, taking responsibility, and stating my determination to get back on track with my vision – with God’s vision. I must embrace my purpose to achieve any sense of happiness and fulfillment within myself. And I must follow the Lord’s direction so that my light will shine for others.

Sometimes, it appears to me that the modern demands of life call us to be part time participants in faith. Worldly values do not often match spiritual values. We are frequently influenced to do things in life based upon worldly standards of thinking. And God gets pushed to the side. We offer ourselves to Him in our spare time, or perhaps on nights or weekends. But we somehow struggle to incorporate Him into a full time role because we have other methods of sustainability and success in mind. What we fail to remember is that He is all we need. Perhaps if we placed more trust in Him and relied less on conventional thinking, our worldly needs would be met in ways previously unimagined. And we’d find fulfillment in our lives reaching beyond our wildest dreams.

God wants you to be you. Your rebirth in Christ has revealed that. He loves you, and He is ready to bring you to Glory in His name. When you surrendered yourself to the Lord in that moment of adversity leading to your awakening, you sacrificed your old ways of thinking in favor of the Lord’s. And He was thankful to liberate you from circumstantial living because from the moment that you were born He saw your potential. The old you is gone. The new you is here. And you are free to be you, FULL TIME – God would not have it any other way.

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” (Marianne Williamson)

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