How well do you know yourself? I’m not talking about your dysfunctional self: the one who has learned to perform (or hide), medicate emotional pain, or tread a path that was not meant for you. (I am verrry familiar with this version of myself, and I’ve been working on breaking up with her for a long time now.) I’m referring to the one God dreamed up, knit together, and brought into the world at this exact time in history. Think about that—this is your time (INSERT SOUND OF TRUMPETS HERE.) No matter what your birth circumstances were, you weren’t an accident or a mistake. God designed you in His image (whoa!), so you would reflect His goodness, glory, and beauty into the world. He’s excited about you even if you’re not feeling it at the moment. Regardless of all the mistakes, trauma, or addictions you may be dealing with, God has a plan and a purpose for your life that is bespoke—custom-made and truly one-of-a-kind. The problem is, most of us have missed the memo on that.
I recently spoke to a young woman who was surprised to discover that instead of being more comfortable staying hidden in the background (as she had always thought), she actually loved being seen and in charge—especially at work. I wasn’t surprised by this—I see “leader” written all over her—yet, to this young woman, it truly was a revelation. God created her to be a strong and compassionate leader, yet her life’s circumstances—being the middle child with a high-needs younger sibling—taught her that life would be easier/safer if she stayed hidden. Imagine the loss if she never caught the revelation of how God created her to be! The world would truly be worse off for it. This woman will make a greater difference in the world because she is owning the cool design features that God gave her. How totally awesome is that?
“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well (Psalms 139:14)
I am passionate about the importance of recognizing and coming into alignment with how God made me. Indeed, I want to see every person restored to God’s original design for their lives. (This is one of the reasons that my business is called “Restoration Center.”) Sadly, I have been a “slow learner” in this department.
Although I’m in my sixties, I’m still discovering things about myself that past insecurities, fear, and shame have kept me from recognizing. For example, for the first 50+ years of my life, I always thought I was an extreme extrovert. No kidding—if two or three were gathered, there I was! Whenever we stayed in a house full of people (visiting family or being on vacation with others), the minute I heard someone get up, I felt like I had to be there. I couldn’t fathom how Jeff could linger in bed when there were people to see and things to do! What I didn’t recognize at the time was this was more a manifestation of my brokenness—a need to be seen—rather than a reflection of my nature. While it’s true that one of my God-given design features is having an inherent love of people, this doesn’t mean I want to be around them all the time. I now know that I don’t need people around me anymore to make me feel whole; God has healed me of that. So now, instead of always wanting to be with others, I crave time alone. Do I still love people? Absolutely. However, I’m happy to report that I longer need to be the life of the party. For me, this is a sign of restoration.
We’ll keep digging into this area in future blog posts. Until then, though, take time to be curious about yourself. Are you aware of how God made you? Are you living in alignment with His design? Here are a few questions to sit with (and perhaps journal what comes up.)
- How has God designed you? What are your natural gifts? If you are unsure about this, ask Him. (I mean it.) Some good questions are: How do you see me? What do you love about me? What is special about me? Journal about what you hear, sense, or see.
- In what ways are you living life outside of your natural design? For example, I have a lot of energy and love to move my body, but there was a time when I didn’t sleep well and had a hard time sitting (like—my couch never got used by me.) Those were symptoms of brokenness, NOT of my God-given design.
- Ask God if you have developed patterns of thinking/behaving that are not in alignment with how He made you. Write down what you hear, sense, or see.
- Ask God to show you what areas of your life you have allowed fear to rule you. We will look at this topic next week.
Before I close, I have a word of encouragement for you: Relax! This post is not meant to push you into an existential crisis, wondering if you are missing out on some big plan for your life. As my incredible editor (Kylie Ruiz) pointed out: “God works all for good and uses our brokenness and sin for good in our (and His) story, and yet—it’s not his design or plan for us to be less than he created us to be.” I encourage you to rest in the wisdom and truth of that statement.
As always, dear readers, I ask you to post your reflections and comments below. I LOVE hearing from you!