I sat in the circle dreading my turn to talk. The facilitator of our “team-building” activity had asked our group of eight to answer these questions: What do you love to do? If finances were unlimited and failure was unlikely, what would be your dream?
I started praying we’d run out of time before they came to me. But just in case I had to answer, I listened to everyone else describe their dreams, hoping to get ideas. One wanted to be the first female president of the United States (that would be Lysa). Another friend said she’d always wanted to sing in a Christian rock band (That would be Glynnis, P31 Woman Sr. Editor). I was in trouble.
Here I was 32-years-old (at the time) and didn’t know who I was or what my dreams were. Eventually everyone looked at me for a response. I stumbled over my words but finally admitted that I didn’t really know what I loved to do. I didn’t have a dream. I felt like a third-grader living in a grown woman’s body. Did I want to be a nurse, a school teacher, or a movie star?
Who was I? What did I like to do? Unfortunately, I’d never taken time to answer those questions. Instead, I had tried to be who others wanted or needed me to be. But honestly, I wasn’t very good at it. I often had this uneasy feeling in my heart and a sense of just not being happy. I was also a constant candidate for burn out.
Later the facilitator encouraged me to ask God what His dreams were for my life and to spend time getting to know myself better. She also suggested I read some books on personalities. I took her advice and began a process of getting to know the real “me” who’d gotten buried in the busyness of life and people-pleasing.
As I read books about different temperaments and personality traits, I started to recognize what I liked, strengths that came natural for me, and what I needed emotionally to encourage my heart. Instead of wanting to be like women I knew and admired, I realized there was a reason that I was who I was – with my passionate preferences and mixed bag of emotions. For the first time I felt like someone (the author of those books) understood me. I also sensed that God wanted to use the unique way He made me to shape my heart for ministry.
Isn’t it easy to completely neglect ourselves to meet the needs of everyone around us, and call it self-sacrifice? It sounds godly, but in doing so we risk shutting down a place in our soul where God’s dreams and gifts are waiting to be revealed. It’s not self-seeking but God-seeking to intentionally get to know and become the woman He created you to be.
Getting to know the woman God created me was a huge step in me becoming a good friend. Until then, I didn’t think I had anything to offer other women. But when I started getting to know the “real me” I discovered the gifts I had to offer in friendships and in ministry.
Okay, now I want to know more about you. How well do you know the real you? Have you ever taken time to think about what you like to do? How would you fill your free time if you had no fears, no insecurities and no doubts? (I know, you have no free time, but what if you did?) What are your dreams?
Please post your thoughts by clicking “comments” below. Can’t wait to hear YOUR heart!