Think Before “Being Yourself.”

Think Before “Being Yourself.”

 

The empowering cultural message of today is “Be Yourself.”

 

And to be honest, that’s a pretty positive idea. Don’t try to fit yourself into the mold that everyone else is already in; be authentic and not fake; be uniquely you, in only the way you can be.

 

And in a world of unrealistically photoshopped models on magazines, pressure to be at the top, and an obsession with all the glitz and glamour of fame and riches, there’s a stark comparison of ideas we’re hearing: “Be the best,” and “Be yourself.”

 

“Be yourself” is generally much healthier of a message.

 

But it’s not where we can stop.

 

See, there are two sides to this issue.

 

The first? Don’t let anyone tell you who to be, or put pressure on you to be a pseudo-version of yourself.

But the second is toxic – don’t change who you are because only you know who you want to be.

 

Perhaps the word “toxic” is too harsh, but the point remains. If we think we’re all set with no room for the Holy Spirit to work in our lives, we mislead ourselves.

 

I know this verse is somewhat out of the context of the passage, but the truth remains:

 

1 John 1:8

“If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.”

 

By nature, we’re flawed, sinful humans. By simply embracing our selfish selves, we let sinful thoughts and actions reign over our existence. I’m not saying that we’re not saved, we’re just not going to mature and become more Christlike.

 

If being yourself means being snarky and self-centered, rude and “liberated” (aka do-whatever-you-want-without-limits), then no, you shouldn’t be yourself.

 

By gratifying the natural desires of the flesh, we decide that we know better. We make the decision to reject the Holy Spirit’s power in our lives and instead, indulge in attitudes and engagements that will end up hurting us later.

 

So where does that leave us? Is it good, or is it bad to embrace who we are?

 

It’s both.

 

It’s great to be yourself. In fact, if doing so helps you to maximize your life to grow in your faith and serve God, then by all means, go for it. We all have different personalities, appearances, passions, and dreams for a reason.

 

But if being yourself gives you the excuse to express yourself in ways that stunt your growth, give power to sin, or disregard the leading of the Holy Spirit, then stop.

 

Think.

 

Before listening to the so-called “empowering” message of embracing ourselves as we are, let us look above the noise and onto truth.

 

Will our actions lead us to God, or away from Him?

 

Will we be using them to serve Him, or just ourselves?

 

Will the glory go to us after all, or to God?

 

Does this help us to become the person God has for us to be?

 

In the end, these questions can only be answered by you. What are your intentions in embracing your inner self?

 

We can either use our lives to serve God, or serve ourselves – to scream about freedom in Christ or freedom in worldly living – to listen to the Holy Spirit or to listen to the Devil.

 

What will you choose today?

 

Today, I choose to think before instinctively being “myself.”

 

*aj

You Are Not a Failure. I Promise.

You Are Not a Failure. I Promise.

 

I don’t know when exactly the thought enters our minds, but somewhere along the line, it just creeps in.

 

You are a failure.

 

Maybe we’ve overcommitted (I know I have) and been unsuccessful in getting everything done well or on time. Maybe we just didn’t live up to the standards we put on ourselves.

 

Maybe we think the reason why we’re single is that we’re failures; not pretty enough, not charming enough, too awkward or dumb, or just bad at this whole “life on earth” thing.

 

Maybe we’ve flunked multiple tests in a row. Been rejected by those whom we once thought were friends. Made poor decisions that affected more than just our own selves.

 

Maybe we’ve been hurt by others and led to believe that it was our fault. That if we had just [insert action here]-ed, we would not have had to go through our pain.

 

But, my friend, none of those things makes you a failure.

 

You are not a failure; I promise you that. Sure, bad decisions can be made, and things can be done to harm us. But we are not considered failures by the One who saved us.

 

Our failures do not determine our worth, just as our sins do not condemn us now. Why? Because we have been redeemed, and we are loved no matter what.

 

Just as swimming doesn’t make me a fish, eating carrots doesn’t make me a bunny, and growing doesn’t make me a plant, failing does not make me a failure.

 

Because I have been redeemed by Jesus’ blood, my God does not count me as a failure.

 

Sure, I’ll fail. I’ll fail tests, I’ll fail to live up to people’s expectations, I’ll fail to please the people I love, I’ll fail to be perfect, I’ll fail to meet my goals I set for myself.

 

But it’s okay. Because God does not see me as a failure.

 

He sees the righteousness of His Son in me.

 

2 Corinthians 5:21

“For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”

 

He has overwritten my old nature and given me a new one, that my past might not stain me.

 

2 Corinthians 5:17

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”

 

I am called a Child of God.

 

Romans 8:15

“For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, ‘Abba! Father!’”

 

Maybe you’re tempted to call yourself a “failure” or a “disappointment” or you’re constantly beating yourself up over what you’ve done, and possibly what you’re still doing.

 

But no matter who you are or what you’ve done, God’s grace covers you, no exceptions.

 

It’s okay to drop your labels and just come to Him. Come as you are. Messy pieces and all.

 

And I want you to know that once you have been forgiven, you will never be considered by God to be a failure.

 

No.

 

You are a holy Child of God. You are sacred, you are His. You are cherished. You are considered blameless before Him. Nothing, and I repeat nothing, can take His love away from you.

 

And even when you fail, He does not see you as a failure.

 

*aj