Raise your hand if you have ever been so sure of something when you were younger, only to realize that you were totally off later in life.
Both hands raised over here.
Have you ever stopped to wonder what else we may be off about? Or do we just automatically assume that all our thoughts and emotions and viewpoints about life are correct?
Obviously this can be a scary vein of thought to entertain. It’s intimidating to think that there may be things we are doing and thoughts we are having that could be wrong.
Sometimes they aren’t even completely wrong per se, but slightly off.
I went through this right after I graduated college.
See, I come from a family that are more or less, know it alls. I am saying that with tons of love and laughter and teasing, but it’s true. Both my parents are first borns, and I’m a first born. We are all fairly intelligent and with that comes being in our heads a little too much.
We’ve rightly so come up with realllly good ways of going about tasks, problems, and dealing with circumstances that arise. Our methods are sound and we get the job done well. Naturally, after resolving and completing things well over and over, you begin to think, a lot of times unknowingly so, that your way is the right way. Soon your way becomes the only way.
It’s not until something or someone comes along with a different way of doing things than you that our ways become challenged.
When someone challenges your way of doing things, do you automatically write them off, or do you take an honest, self-aware look at yourself to examine if there is any room for improvement?
More often than not, we get angry and defensive and push that other person away when we are confronted with the possibility that we may in fact be wrong.
I did this with my best friend. She is beautiful and amazing and we think and do things completely different. She would (and still does) challenge me and confront me about things I was doing and I would get so incredibly angry with her.
How dare you tell me that I am doing something wrong.
I would take time to pray about it though, and God would show me the truth in her words.
I WAS wrong, in so many ways. If it wasn’t for friendship, the good kind where we aren’t afraid to say the hard things aka healthy community, would we ever grow?
In turn, I would look at her way of doing things, which was usually very different than mine and criticize her or find fault with her because it wasn’t how I did it. Because it wasn’t my way, I immediately jumped to it was wrong.
It took me a long time to realize that her way of doing things wasn’t bad, it was just different.
It took humility, a friendship that didn’t crumble because we disagreed, and self-awareness. (and God, let’s be real, nothing be happenin without him)
Self-awareness. What exactly does that mean?
Self-awareness can be defined as: “Conscious knowledge of one’s own character, feelings, motives, and desires.” (as told by Google)
The thing is, we don’t always have a clear view of those things listed above. Like it or not, we can be biased when it comes to our internal health. We don’t always know if our viewpoints are off or not based on truth.
It’s hard to have an honest, all the lights on, full disclosure view of our hearts and minds. We can think we are loving and then when someone does something we don’t like or to hurt us, we can turn into a completely different person.
We don’t often stop to examine that “completely different person” that comes out. We write it off as the offending party’s fault. They made me do that. We are unconcerned and unbothered and as a result, those weeds continue to grow in our hearts.
What is personal responsibility anymore? Do we even know what that means or what it looks like?
Its a hard and humbling lesson to learn that no one can actually make you do something. That’s all you honey.
Just because someone does something to hurt us doesn’t mean it’s okay to punch them in the face. Yes they may have done something that’s anything but honoring or considerate, but you and your actions are you and your responsibility alone.
We all have choices we make every single day on how we act, react or respond to situations and people around us.
What are you making excuses for today? What aren’t you taking personal responsibility for?
Are there any areas in your life that you are currently working on? If not, then you have not taken an honest inventory of your heart and mind. Because, newsflash, we all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23).
There’s even that thought of, “Oh I already worked on myself, I’m good now.” Last time I checked you were as human as the rest of us and you will be human until the day you die. Meaning, we all will have things to work on until we are with Jesus in heaven.
I know I am getting on a soap box here, but our lives could be so much more fulfilling if we just took a little more time to work on ourselves.
More often than not, we identify in the kind of people we are and the things we do and cannot stand the thought that we don’t do certain things well.
We don’t want anyone to be mad at us, and we certainly don’t want them to tell us anything we don’t want to hear.
What don’t you want to hear today? What area of your life have you closed off to God and community and don’t accept input from?
I would venture to say THOSE are the areas needing work.
Your worth isn’t in who you are or what you do or how many people like you. Your worth is dependent on one thing and one thing only, God.
Your sports team, your loved ones, your talents, your good looks, your, your, your… all will let you down. It all falls short and cannot fill you or make you secure. That’s God’s job.
Your worth isn’t in doing things perfectly. You will fail, and when that happens you can rely on God and his unfailing strength and love.
When you have that perspective, we don’t hold so tightly to the things we are afraid to face about ourselves. We start taking responsibility for our actions instead of defending them to grave.
Offense and defensiveness only result in division and hurt. Time to take some inventory folks and deal with the hard things about ourselves.
When we don’t, it’s usually those closest to us that suffer. i.e. if you don’t deal with your anger or bitterness, you usually lash out on your loved ones at one point or another. No matter what they’ve done in that moment to trigger that hurt and anger, they definitely don’t deserve that kind of treatment.
Go to a trusted (wise) friend today and ask them if there are any places in you that need improvement. Then don’t get mad at them when they tell you. Write it down, pray about it and ask yourself and God why you do those things. Forgive, let go, seek forgiveness and seek help if needed.
Sometimes someone has done something to hurt you. Time to move on and time to stop holding on to that hurt. Time to forgive and time to heal.
The end result is a peaceful and happy heart that pours out on others instead of taking all the time or causing hurt in return.
I didn’t experience true healing in my heart until I took an honest look at myself. God turned the lights on and if I’m honest, I didn’t like all that I saw. I was in denial about it for awhile. God started showing me that I don’t need to hold onto those things. Certain ways of doing things and seeing the world were off and it was time to let them go because they were holding me back.
Views like, “If I don’t do it, it won’t get done.” and “Everyone is out to hurt me or get me.” and “I’m unlovable and a burden.” Perspectives like, “Everyone is finding fault in me.”
Those end up being the lies in our hearts about ourselves that get booted out and instead, truth and love enter – we have to clean out the old before God can bring in the new. He starts replacing lies with, “I am loved.”, “I am cherished.”, “I am safe.”, “I have a purpose.”, “I belong.”, “I am wanted.”
We get healed and then we become whole. All the while we get closer to God and realize he is exactly what we were needing to fill us all along.
I’m a work in progress, and I’m okay with that. I’m confident in God’s ability to make me into the woman he designed me to be and I will do my best to be humble and mold-able in his hands.
Friend, its time to let go. Time to do the hard things. Time to let God. Don’t worry, you’re in good company; we’re all on a journey to look more like Jesus.