I am reading a book with that title. It is written by John Ortberg, and even though I can not prove it, I am pretty sure he wrote it just for me. I have already read it once, but it is full of such great encouragement and truth, I am reading it again. Much of what he says has me nodding my head, and agreeing....all the while struggling with a little fear....now that I now these things.... I have do things differently. What good is knowing that God designed me to flourish if I am going to continue to play it safe and hide? Amazing how truth can be encouraging, convicting, and scary.
One of the things I am hearing from God recently is said perfectly in this book, "God wants to redeem you, not exchange you." One of the biggest struggles I have faced is learning to love the way God made me. I have spent most of my life wishing I was less like me, and more like someone else. I have come a long way, from not liking myself at all, to actually embracing and enjoying the quirky way he made me. I love Jesus, I like working out to music by Eminem and Justin Timberlake and Los Lonely Boys. I enjoy camping and hitting the heavy bag at the gym and getting a pedicure. I am opinionated and sarcastic and tender hearted. I can be a little rough around the edges. I love the outdoors and I like my blue nail polish. I used to be embarrassed about some of these things...not anymore. Because those parts of my personality don't take away from the fact that I am an encourager. I am faithful, passionate, empathetic, and loyal. It is ok that on the surface some of those things don't seem to go together. That is what makes me, me. So now that I am at a place of appreciating his work in me, it has become VERY clear that it is now time for me to DO something. That is where the fear is creeping in. If I believe he made me this way intentionally, with these specific gifts and talents, and he has placed me where he has, with these people and these opportunities.....then it is time to let him use me the way he chooses. It is time for me to get uncomfortable again.
I have said all along that one of the biggest reasons I wanted to loose weight was so that I would be available for him to use. That is pretty easy to say 40 pounds heavier, while I am right in the middle of playing life safe and hiding. It sounds pretty spiritual and it also doesn't demand anything other than lip service....I can get excited and be open to something that isn't requiring anything from me right now. But here I am, stronger and healthier...with new doors opening. My first reaction is, "AWESOME!" followed quickly by......"ummmmm....wait a minute. What if I am not enough?" As I have dug into that "what if I am not enough" what I am finding is that isn't really the question. What I think I am scared of is, what if I am not the best? I have always struggled with worth. If I am not the best, I can't be lovable....and since I am not the best, I must not be lovable. I thought I had made some headway in this...but apparently there is another layer of it that I need to uproot. It caught my attention in my boxing fitness class the other day. One of the girls I work out with is a "bad a" on the bag. She is strong, has great form, she is fun to watch hit. Then I became aware of what I am thinking...I wish I could hit like her, look like her....All of a sudden I am self-conscious. I am having trouble with my combination. I am clumsy and embarrassed. I can't hit like her, I can't look like her. She is probably 20 years younger than me. She is a foot taller than me. She has different skills. By focusing on who I am not, I began to flouder,I wasn't enjoying my workout anymore. (in the book Ortberg talks about languishing, it is the condition of someone who may be able to function, but has lost a sense of hope and meaning. it is the absence of mental and emotional vitality) It was a very important example of what I am struggling with in my daily life. I have an opportunity to work with some students soon, and facing that in the gym made me realize that was one of the fears I was facing with this opportunity. What if I am not the best leader? It is embarrassing to admit that, because it is so full of pride. But if I am going to be honest, it was a fear that was lurking. Truth is, I will not be the best leader. I have never lead a team of students on a mission trip. I am going to make mistakes, it will be a little messy. But that is ok. What they need from me is love and Jesus. I love working with students, and I love Jesus. Check. Nothing offered in love is ever lost.
What I need to celebrate is that I am now in a place where answering yes to this call is an option for me. Two years ago, it wouldn't have been. The last 18 months have been full of wrestling with spiritual truths, insecurities and the discipline it takes to hit the gym consistently and eat cleaner. Those were the things I needed to do, but those weren't my goal. My goal is to be stronger, healthier and ready for him to use. Ortberg says it well, "We do not just drift into becoming the best version of ourselves...." What actions can you take today that will move you closer to flourishing, to being your best self... a little "you-ier"?