Everywhere you look, you’ll see something about “just being and loving yourself.” You won’t just see it once. No, not even twice. You will see it everywhere, all the day long!
Truly, I stand in awe of that. At the same time, it resonates. I have that inner longing too. That longing to be loved. That desire to be accepted. At the very least, the ability to feel comfortable in my own skin when I express what is inside.
Why do you think we hear this so very much? Why is it such a pervasive thing? It’s almost like there’s an utter desperation out there to find and be your self!
Here’s my take on it:
I think we have things twisted up (again).
I think the enemy has taken the degree of truth that there is to this matter and messed the whole thing up. Again.
I thought a lot about this today (yes…again). The reason is because it’s where I was at a couple of times today.
“Why do so few people understand me?”
I” don’t think people realize when I am joking around or being serious.”
“Am I going to have to keep restraining myself on a daily basis depending upon the situation I happen to be in? I just wanna be me. Is that so bad?”
Then the other side or other voice (I know, I know, I have issues):
“Ah…who cares. Just be Joe Self!”
Can you spell J-O-E-S-E-L-F-I-S-H? Yeah.
I have concluded that it’s true: We DO need to find out how to be ourselves, but not the way that the world is trying to tell us to do it.
What brought this to mind today is the fact that I continue to struggle in my own life with this (clearly). Now that I am seeking after and following after Jesus with everything I’ve got, I have become more and more uncomfortable being myself.
I get it. It’s not about me.
It’s about less of Annie, and more of Jesus. I get that too. (although I screw up all the time).
It’s about who I am in Christ Jesus – The vessel that I am for Him. The follower. And one of the ones who needs to seek to understand far more often than I seek to be understood.
If you feel misunderstood, you may be “doing it right.”
I’m starting to get to know that person, (the more-like-Jesus-Annie-self) and sometimes I get confused. Sometimes I forget that only the parts that aren’t Annie at all are the ones that matter.
I forget that it needs to be all about who Annie is in Christ.
I forget to remember that part is ALL that matters.
THAT part – the Jesus part? Well, it needs to be the WHOLE.
Here’s the thing, friends: We have trouble being okay with who we are for basically one of two reasons:
Either we are not the person Christ intends for us to be – we are living in sin or for self.
Or we ARE starting to become who we are intended to be in Jesus, but the world is not comfortable with that – at all.
Hmmm? Remind you of how someone else felt the entire time He walked this earth? Just a little?
So, does this mean we are in for a lose-lose situation here? I don’t know. I guess it depends upon how we define victory, now doesn’t it?
Yes…I will continue to struggle with not feeling comfortable with who I am.
Yes…I will continue to even feel persecuted for it.
But maybe, just maybe, most days those of us feeling this way who are followers after Christ, uncomfortable as our flesh may be, we will judge joy by the peace that we know by letting Him live through us, instead of the “feeling” of fitting in, being accepted, or even just merely being “allowed” to be how we are in Him.
He warned us….
“If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.Remember the words I spoke to you: ‘No servant is greater than his master.’If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also.They will treat you this way because of my name, for they do not know the One who sent me.If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not be guilty of sin. Now, however, they have no excuse for their sin.He who hates me hates my Father as well. If I had not done among them what no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin. But now they have seen these miracles, and yet they have hated both me and my Father.But this is to fulfill what is written in their Law:’They hated me without reason.” John 15: 18-25
But He also consoles us. We can remain in HIM, not in our “selves.” It has a far greater reward, and is what will last far beyond the confines of this little world in which we temporarily reside.
And that? Well, that’s Joe Awesome, if you ask me!
“Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing. Anyone who does not remain in me is thrown away like a useless branch and withers. Such branches are gathered into a pile to be burned. But if you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted! When you produce much fruit, you are my true disciples. This brings great glory to my Father.“I have loved you even as the Father has loved me. Remain in my love. When you obey my commandments, you remain in my love, just as I obey my Father’s commandments and remain in his love. I have told you these things so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow! John 15: 5-11
Remember today, if you are discouraged, dear friends, Joe Joy comes from Jesus, not from Joe Self.