Is that all you want?
I recently did an online search for the popular and trendy phrase, “Be the Best Version of Yourself.” It turned up 2,070,000,000 results. Astounding! And I’m pretty sure as you read this post that number is climbing! Why? People long to be the best they can be. I know I do! We fight to convince ourselves that we have the power within ourselves to be successful and full of worth in life, work and relationships. When the power of self-talk is offered from our culture, we hear it in our own thoughts as well. Just about everywhere you turn, you hear messages such as these:
Work out more.
Think positive thoughts.
Continue learning about yourself.
Failure makes you stronger.
Be the better person.
Be that successful person you know you can be.
Don’t settle for anything less than your best self.
Even on my best day when I feel more empowered than ever, the most on my game, in the zone of my best self, I fall far short of being that girl that God is creating me to be each day. When we get down to it-- let’s face it--when left to ourselves, we lack the inner resources it takes to believe that we are the people God has created us to be.
As short lived as fake snow on the ski slopes, the power of positive thinking goes away in just hours, leaving nothing for my life to glide on, creating a messy trail of wet mud behind me. The thought of waking up another morning to clean myself up, at times, is just too overwhelming. Netflix! A long run or trip to the gym! Instagram! My favorite food! A sleeping pill! An extra glass of wine! Just numb. All of the places I run to when there is no emotional snow to glide on leaves me feeling the “worst version of myself.” Surely there is another way.
Really? Is that all you want?
I want more than my version of my best self. Even on my best day, I don’t have what it takes to convince myself of my worthiness. Do you want a brief message of positivity or a promise to bank your life upon? All the self-help talk, powerful quotes and positive messages pale in comparison to what’s available to me in the foundational promises seen in God’s Word when we choose to believe. I know what you are saying right now, “Just believe? Walk by faith? That seems so vague, so nebulous and hazy! I need something more concrete and practical, something I can see and predict!”
Recently when I was listening to a podcast on love and relationships, I heard the most fascinating true story. As the young couple narrated their love story, an example of unconditional and endearing love unfolded. You see, the girl in the story had encountered a significant brain injury resulting in amnesia. This wasn’t typical amnesia. Her memory loss would recur every 24 hours. She would go to sleep fully aware of herself and surroundings, then she would wake up completely confused and lost, not knowing who she was, who this strange man was in her bed or the context for any of her current life. She would wake up not knowing about her job, what she liked and disliked, who her friends were, what she did to relax, who her family was and sadly she would forget this man, the one she loved the most...daily.
With an unstoppable love, this man made up his mind that he would stay, forever. He made up his mind that this new kind of life with her could work! He started by making a huge white board in their kitchen with their entire life mapped out in diagrams and bullet points. He took pictures of all of their friends on her phone with notes about each friend, their work, families and the ongoing details of their lives. Each time she would go to meet friends she would look at her phone to remind herself who her friends were and how to stay mentally and emotionally connected to all of her relationships. I could go on and on, but can you just imagine this? Unbelievable, really! They appeared to have an unusually strong bond and an endearing way, even after of being married for years with this hardship.
The most brilliant thing this dear husband did was to have her write herself a letter, when she was in her right mind, about who she was, who he was and what had happened to her to create this confusion about her life. He laminated the letter. He put it by her bedside and had her read it every morning as soon as she would wake up. In that moment she was assured and secure ready to face the day. She believed she was who he said she was and that enabled her to live fully and purposefully the day ahead.
This, my friend, is the concrete answer you are looking for! The promises of God in His Letter, written personally to you, are the foundation upon which you can build your life. You wake up each day confused, lonely, insecure and doubtful. Many days the fears are just too strong to face. You forget who you are. But then, the lover of your soul, the One who knows your life inside and out, the ONE who actually created you and knows exactly why He did, is there. He gives you a letter to remind you of these nuggets of truth that you so long to believe. What He says about you in His Word is truth that you can bank on, flesh out, live according to and base your every longing on. But you forget again and again and again. The truths of who you are in Christ seep out as you sleep. The secret of utter importance is that each day you pull out that endearing letter that He has written for you to remind yourself of who you are, why He made you and that you are adored and accepted, just as you are.
“The best version of yourself”, is that all you want? Really? I want MORE than that! I’m choosing to BELIEVE that I have the opportunity each day to be the best version of who God says I am as His child.
Join me in living out of the place of God’s best version of you. He thinks you are amazing, just as you are. And that, is grace.
Go read your letter.
“Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out;
you formed me in my mother’s womb.
I thank you, High God—you’re breathtaking!
Body and soul, I am marvelously made!
I worship in adoration—what a creation!
You know me inside and out,
you know every bone in my body;
You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit,
how I was sculpted from nothing into something.
Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth;
all the stages of my life were spread out before you,
The days of my life all prepared
before I’d even lived one day.” Psalm 139:14-16 (The Message)