Finding “The Real Me” started ten years ago, in 1999. It was a big turning point in my life. It didn’t happen overnight but I can look back and see how it was God’s shaping me into the woman He created me to be, the woman I want to be.
You see, I’d become a Christian in 1989 and had been on a journey of getting to know Jesus for 10 years. I remember in the Spring of 1999 feeling very frustrated and disillusioned. The Christian life wasn’t what I had expected or hoped it would be. I wanted joy, contentment and purpose. But there was so much searching and striving in my life – looking for something that would satisfy the desires of my heart to find security and significance.
I was sitting in my living room one morning reading my Bible and journaling about how Jesus said He came to give us abundant life but there was nothing abundant in my life except busyness, obligations, guilt and discontentment. I felt like my heart was shriveling up to die. I felt like I couldn’t breath spiritually.
As I poured out my heart on those pages, I cried out to God for help. I remember Him drawing my memories back to when I first became a Christian. I’d spend hours reading my Bible, overwhelmed by His grace and truth. Then I’d write in my journal and pour out my heart to Him.
All those dusty journals sat in a drawer and God invited me to go back to them and remember. Through that remembering, He showed me that I had lost the closeness of my first Love. It wasn’t that He had moved away, I had. Although I had been walking with Him for 10 years, somehow I had gotten lost along the path.
Patterns of people-pleasing and performance-based living had found their way back into my life and were guiding my every thought; my every decision. I was in bondage to others’ opinions and expectations.
The odd thing is that it looked like I was living for God and serving Him with all of my heart. I was a stay-at-home-mom with a volunteer staff position at P31, which I did mostly from home. I was on the women’s prayer team at church, co-lead a mom’s Bible study, attended another one on Wednesday nights. I reached out to women in my neighborhood, dropped everything to help a friend in need. My house was way to clean and my family probably felt like they lived in a display case instead of a home.
It makse me tired and a little sick to list all that, and believe me it eventually made me sick. My heart was no longer alive. It had gone numb. I was slipping into a pit of depression. Focused on serving other people for the wrong reasons, I felt hopeless when my accomplishments or their compliments didn’t satisfy.
I had assumed God wanted me to busy myself with good things in His name. But instead of asking Him what He wanted, I became who my mom and dad wanted me to be. Who my husband and kids needed me to be. Who friends and co-workers expected me to be.
Some might say we need to be careful when talking about finding the real me, and I understand. There is an important balance. I’m not saying find the real “you” so you can neglect everyone else and be selfish. I am saying, first find your joy and fulfillment in who you are in Christ – not what you can do for Him and others. “Delight yourself in HIM and He will give you the desires of your heart” – to match His desires for you. (Psalm 37:4)
Find out who God wants you to be, who God created you to be and you will become the woman you want to be.
One of my first steps was finding out what makes my heart come alive. I was reading the Sacred Romance and this quote poured Living Water on my weary heart: “Don’t ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive, and then go do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” — Harold Thurman Whitman
Today I want to encourage you to ask God to show you two things. First, ask Him to show you His absolute delight in you. Just simply be still and let Him love you! Then ask Him to show you one thing that makes your heart come alive. For me it was reading, writing, planting flowers and going for long walks – which I never had time to do.
What about you? Is it reading? Is it writing? Is it colors, flowers, smells, bubble baths, music, artwork, laughter, order, encouraging others, making something with your hands, exercise, ___________? Are you ready to find out?
Share your thoughts by clicking “comments” below. If you don’t have a blog, simply click anonymous and write in the white box. I”ll post more this week about my journey in hopes that it will help you in yours.
I pray also that the eyes of your heart will be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints and his incomparably great power for us who believe. Ephesians 1:18-19