Last week, I shared about my latest “heavy revy”: that I’ve been filtering my choices through fear and that my home and my life reflect a “false me” instead of the “true me”. I also talked about the trouble I have finishing things. I’m not as worried about finishing things as I am about truly being myself and not filtering my choices — be they home décor or wardrobe or life’s adventures — through what I think are the opinions of others and filter them only through who I truly am in Christ.
Since that post went public, I’ve been surprised and pleased with the in-depth interactions I’ve had with folks and the questions have been tossed my way; the biggest of which:
What will you change?
It would appear that the folks I know are sitting on the edges of their seats awaiting my next move. Some have asked in jest (because they’ve lived though my “self-expressions” over the years); others, in desperation (because they are feeling their hearts and minds wandering, but don’t know how to find this rest I’m talking about … the peace … freedom).
So what will I change?
I’m not changing a single “thing”. I’m not moving in a single direction. No job applications or new goals or goals taken off the to-do list…
I’m changing how I make choices. That’s it.
Because the fact of the matter is, I could change every single detail of my life, but I would still be everywhere I go and in everything I do. So why waste time changing the things I dislike that surround my life when I, the same person who made those choices, would still be around to make more choices that I have yet, but will be sure, to dislike?
If I cannot find contentment in the midst of the mundane, I will never find it on the mountaintop.
My life is me.
I have this theory that I, alone, am my life; who I am on the inside. That’s my life. And that the things that surround me are not my life, but an extension of the life — or the lack thereof, as it may be — that is within me.
I’m sure some smart guy could easily argue I’m wrong. Of course, I’m twisting semantics, but think for just a minute about what I’m saying. Every choice you make comes from something within you. You have your reasons, your filters, your motivators. Everything you choose to do, wear, enjoy, be… is an outpouring of the condition of your heart and mind. After all, we all know that “out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks”. (Luke 6:45, Matthew 12:34.) We could add “the feet walk, the brain chooses, etc., etc.”
So if you change your circumstances, but have not changed yourself… Well, “you can put lipstick on a pig, but it’s still a pig.” You’re still you. So then what have you really changed?
Nothing. Not a single thing.
And you’ve probably hurt people in the process of changing those circumstances that surround me that you’re fighting so hard to control because you “hate your life”. I know I have.
Let’s take this a step further and turn this back to personal pronouns.
If I hate my life and my life is me, as we’ve established, then I hate myself. Right?
But as I said last week, GOD DOESN’T MAKE JUNK.
And that brings us to the very first thing I would recommend anyone should change if he or she is unhappy or dissatisfied with life’s circumstances.
First, comes love.
You have to love yourself; to see yourself as your Maker sees you. If we can’t get that, we never even get to the other parts. It has been vitally important that I take the time of getting to know myself and LOVE myself as I am and not as some person I wish I were. That has to come first. And that has only come through my relationship with Christ. And it only came out of my pain and desperation. I brought myself to Him admitting that I really stink at keeping myself together; that I cannot heal myself and I clearly have had crap that I thought I’d dealt with or was at least managing, but I really wasn’t doing any of that. And then I had to give all that up. All of it. The past, the resentment, the pain, the memories, the ungodly beliefs, the ungodly habits… ALL of it.
You see, the more I saw myself for who I really am, through the Mirror of how HE sees me, my opinions changed and the words of others started to just fall to the ground.
Now, I’m not walking about like some peacock whose poop no longer stinks. I still go my crap. Trust me. The situations are not gone. But I’m intentionally pursuing mental, emotional, and spiritual health now. So, the way a look at my crap has evolved from an “I-suck-pitty-party” (which only yields more pain and wasted time) to continuous grace-filled transformation. It’s a purpose-filled choice that must be made regularly.
That’s not to say I don’t struggle and have to stop myself from the pity party sometimes. I have my days, to be sure. But now I see it. And now that I see it? I can stop it. Because I know who I really am through my Creator. And it’s not that sucky person I think I am when I’m down. That’s not who I was made to be. HE DOESN’T MAKE JUNK. Remember?
Then, comes freedom.
Here’s something in this transformation that took me entirely by surprise.
As I am beholding myself through His eyes, I am actually finding myself minimize my own dreams and goals.
Don’t take me the wrong way. I still have my lists! I mean, I’m a planner, people. But I am learning to weigh my dreams and goals against my newfound vision of my true self in Christ and prayerfully determine whether or not they measure up to His vision and dreams for me. All other goals are secondary to my primary goal; which is to know His heart. The other stuff comes. Isn’t that exactly the point when we’re told to “Seek God’s Kingdom first and all the other stuff is just the awesome bonus.” (Matthew 6:33, my totally awesome paraphrase)
What’s more, guilt and regret have no place in this equation. They just don’t because, as I embrace the Work of the Cross as it applies to my heart, I also must simultaneously apply it to my past. After all, I either believe it or I don’t. And if I believe, I must fully believe… “Because I know that, as I align myself with God, ALL things work together for His plan because I love Him and am created for His purpose!” (Romans 8:28, my paraphrase from the Amplified Version) I either apply it to my whole life and my whole heart, or none of it. Frankly, I choose all!
Then, I have found that as His desires increase in me and my own desires — those which are not aligned with His — decrease (John 3:30). I’m suddenly not experiencing the disappointment I used to feel. That guilt and regret go because I’m walking in the light to my best ability. I’m not perfect, but I’m alive and I’m awake to the reality of the world around me and to the true condition of my heart at it is transformed from broken to whole.
I’m free to stop trying so hard to make myself happy and begin to simply be.
And there’s my freedom.
I’m free to live life with my whole heart. I’m free to be myself as my Creator intended me to be instead of these mythical personality attributes I’ll never hold and these good ideas that aren’t God-breathed destiny. I’m free from disappointment of the lack or loss of something He never intended for me in the first place.
I feel no need to change my circumstances as they are now.
Now hear me. This absolutely does NOT mean I’m looking around at my situation and feeling like I need not change a thing for the rest of my days. Absolutely not!
I am saying I find my satisfaction in Christ instead of in my circumstances.
It’s not an easy transformation. Not at all. It is HARD work. And I will definitely never have this thing mastered. But it’s so life-changing.
Is this helping anyone?
At least getting it out is helping me. 🙂
Tell me where you are in your process.
Let’s live healed together.