Who are you, really? Not the you everyone sees, but the one you know in your heart? The true, real, raw you?
If you were to write down on paper an honest “About” page accurately reflecting who you are, would you want others to read it? Would you even be able to look at some of what defines you? I am fairly certain we all have characteristics we’d not want to share with ourselves let alone others, but should we? I’m not talking about shouting from the mountain tops all your character traits- the positive would probably be misconstrued as conceit and the negative as flaws. Either would make it difficult to make and retain acquaintances and some friends. But, do you have at least one friend who you can share the dark parts of who you are? There is freedom in sharing difficult things with a trusted person who loves you and can affirm who you are in God’s eyes.
Personally, it is easier for me to identify the parts of myself that I don’t want others to see. Hiding and denial don’t create change and I’m not good at changing myself, but when I listen to God, He changes me. It’s a constant learning process, but when I’ve named it, I feel released and enjoy more freedom to be the good parts of me. My desire is a beautiful heart to put before the Throne of God.
Since I’m hard on myself, I’ll start with a positive quality ‘About Me’: giving brings me joy. If someone likes something I have, I try to give it to them. Mike would say it’s so I can buy something new, but I really do love to give. “Hold loosely to things”, is something I try to live by, but there is a dark side to my giving heart that I’m not proud of. Although I know this is going to sound really stupid, I’m completely serious.
My confession is that I have a stingy food heart and have internal turmoil over giving when I have a limited supply or something special (for example: Smart Water, Dark Chocolate, Kind bars, gluten free baked goods…). Crazy, right? After voicing this ridiculous food craziness to my friend and with practice giving away items, my food heart is more generous. You can now be confident that if you like my shirt, I’ll offer it to you and I will share my snacks too. Name it and let God change it!
When I have not-so-lovely or down-right-ugly behavior, usually in the form of unkind words or thoughts, I try to identify those dark parts by asking myself, “What is wrong with my heart?” What is it deep down that is causing me to become angry, frustrated or critical of others? By looking at why I’m responding the way I am to various situations and people, the dark parts come to light. In my head I think, “Whoa, where did that come from?” This helps me slow down, pay attention to the details of the situation and learn about myself, someone else and God. I practiced this process a few days ago, refrained from saying my initial angry words and simply stated what was upsetting me. It opened up an honest conversation between friends which we resolved without wounding each other. That felt good and was worth the process of looking inward before acting outward.
There is One who knows all the parts of you and loves you deeply. In God’s love story, He clearly says who you are in His eyes. If you search the Scriptures, you will learn and know who you are to God. Not one of us is perfect, but God looks beyond our faults and failures and sees perfection in His creation.
Psalm 8:3-4 “When I consider Your heavens, the works of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have set in place, what are mere mortals that You are mindful of them, human beings that You care for them?”