A common theme in a lot of sermons, inspirational talks, and social media fitness trainer posts talk about who you are underneath fears, mistakes and laziness. Other than liking the post or agreeing with the preacher we rarely take a self inventory to discover who we are and compare it to who we want to be. Some things about growing up that is going to happen whether we want to or not. For example, no one is the exact same height and weight as they were at birth and no matter how hard you try you will never be that weight again. But there are things we have from a young age that some of us refuse to grow or change. Often when people bring up any of these unsavory traits we passively acknowledge them by saying “That’s just how I am.”

But what if that’s not who God called you to be? What if He asks you to change that toxic trait? Are you willing? Are you able?

Well, my friends, I have good news. If God asked you to change it, it can be changed…with His help. Without Him, some of those traits can be an unnecessary lifetime struggle. So how do I go about identifying and changing these things?

Step 1: I Am NOT!
  • Know and understand the difference between how you look at yourself and how God looks at you
  • What are the lies we tell ourselves?

First thing first, in order to know who you are, you have to know who you are NOT. Even in your faith walk there are things you are not. You are not a failure, ugly, worthless, unloved, or insignificant. This is just a small example of things we are told everyday by the media, circumstances, romantic interests, and even ourselves. I know for me growing up I always felt unloveable and ugly. I convinced myself that by the turn I turned 21 I would be the most beautiful I would ever be. Honestly, I don’t have a clear understanding of how or why I came to this conclusion. But now, at the pre-elderly age of 26, I look at my old pictures from the years I thought this about myself and I realized I had perfect skin, hair, and body. Congratulations, I played myself! Some of the things I work so hard at now as an adult (working out, skin routine) came naturally to me as a child.

I have two suggestion for all of you reading this because for many of us it goes deeper than looks. The first suggestion is make a physical list of all the negative things about yourself. This list should be a combination of physical traits and internal struggles. My list starts like this:

  • Control Freak
  • An dreamer but not a finisher
  • Big butt &
  • Daddy issues
  • Shame
  • Procrastinator
  • Short
  • Stomach not flat enough
  • Trust Issues

Now tell yourself that you are not these things. You can say it out loud, you can say it in the mirror, or you can say it in your head. The point is when you look at this list know that NONE of these things are who you are. The second thing I suggest is watching this series on the hidden damaged areas we all posses by Pastor Michael Todd of Transformation Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma. If you are unsure of hidden areas of trauma or pain this is a great way to find them. It gave me a lot of insight into things that I’ve clung to for so long that I forgot they were even there.  Click here—> Damaged Goods

Step 2: Heritage
  • Who are your parents? Where do you come from?
  • Where you are from is the foundation to where you’ll go and how you get there

I’m not sure if you realize it yet, but you are the child of a whole King! That means you walk, talk, and think a certain way. I truly believe that the way you walk and talk as royalty is determined by your mindset. Like the movie The Princess Diaries, the main character, Mia had the look and walk of a princess but constantly messed up because her mindset still had her convinced she wasn’t royalty. We are the same way with ourselves. Because God sent Jesus, we are in the direct bloodline of Jesus. In Genesis 15, God tells Abram (aka Abraham) that he will be the father of many nations. He tells him that his descendants will be the same in number as the stars in the sky. The story goes on to explain that you and I are in fact descendants of Abram. When someone dies, the next of kin inherit all their possessions. Since Abram is gone we get all the things he had and he was a very rich man in both physical wealth and spiritual wealth. God gave Abram four main promises.God promised him possession of the world, fruitfulness, protection, and triumph over all enemies. Thats good news for us. Our heritage just told us that we will be victorious in all things and success in the Lord. Isn’t it good to know your family tree!

Step 3: What are your gifts and talents?
  • How do you currently use them v. how you SHOULD use them
  • Which ones are hidden or you forgot about?

God placed in each of us a unique talent and ability. In most of us he put more than one of each. I do not believe He did this because it would be fun. He did it to specifically help advance a part of the body of Christ. That is why you have some people who are so super emotional about all things involving the treatment of the environment and animals and some people who are passionate about science and technology. Neither are a bad thing if you are using these things to edify God’s will. I believe God allows people to be passionate about animals because although we were made to use most of them as a food source they still deserve to be treated a certain way. So what skills, natural talents, or childhood enjoyments are you sitting on? Think back to your happiness moments in life, what were you doing? Chances are, you were doing something involving your skills and talents. Your skill could be musical, prayer, speaking, dancing, working out, organizing, or planning. All these things are skills and can be used to help the Kingdom. We need people to sing and play instruments but we also need someone with a good eye for photography and someone who is good at organizing paper work and can remember 30 different tasks at one. The skills that you have can be lost if you do not hone and increase them so be careful to practice and use your gifts as often as you can.

Step 4: Labor is unavoidable
  • Everyone has a job in the Kingdom, there are no spectators
  • Where does your passion lay?

In the book of Proverbs it talks about being lazy A LOT! It warns against being lazy or unwilling to work. It also talks about how much God loves people who will put action behind their faith. You’ve probably heard the phrase “Faith without works is dead” & it is so true. Anytime a theme is repeated multiple times in the Bible it means that this is important to understand. Laziness is a huge theme throughout the Bible. Do you really think God has people whose soul purpose is to watch other people? Uh, no! So why do we go to church and never participate? Even if you aren’t on the stage you should be involved in the wellbeing and maintenance of your physical church. Even if it means you put the Christmas decorations up or sweep the floor or bring your pastor coffee every morning. The point is to serve! That is how you find your purpose and what God called you to do. God expects all of us to serve ALL the time! In fact, He talks about how we should treat the physical (and capital C) church like a bride. So, if you aren’t taking care of your church what do you think God sees in you? Probably laziness. It is through volunteering at my church I learned that I really enjoy clerical work and i’m good at it.  Ask yourself and your spiritual leader how you can be an effective member of the body of Christ. What talents of yours are you missing out on by not being involved?

Step 5: Always Greet Change
  • Be open to a change in assignment
  • Be flexible not breakable

Often times we get frustrated because we feel like God told us that we are called to do something and he switches the avenue to which you’ll do it. For example, He gave me an ear for and appreciation of all types of music. I love it all. I love bluegrass, pop, contemporary, soul, jazz, etc. I used to think that because of this passion I should play a thousand instruments. So i learned the violin, the piano, and dabbled in drums thinking that someday I’d be this bomb musician. Then one day someone put a mic in my hand to sing and singing became one of my favorite ways to express myself and to worship God. Now I will sing anywhere He needs me to. In the back of the choir, on a pew, in the car, BGVs, it doesn’t matter. Honestly, I’m not even the best singer but I’m not scared to do it. Singing has opened up some unexpected doors for me where I’m usually the most unlikely or unqualified person in the room. The way I thought God was going to use my natural talent He did the exact opposite of my expectation. And though at times I’ve resisted some of these avenues, I’ve learned that going with it is way easier than trying to resist a change just because I’m comfortable.

So lets recap: 

There are two aspects that make up who you are. The first is who God says you are as his child and heir and the second is who God asks you individually in the body of Christ. Both are important and forgetting one can deeply damage the other. The best ways to figure out each is to read your Bible daily for all of the things God has called us to be and to spend individual time with Him in prayer so He can reveal to you his plan for your life.

k, good talk