This is post two in a three part series that is about self discovery within Christianity. It isn’t necessary to read the first post in order to understand this, but it would be tremendously benefitional if you did. If you’d like to click HERE. I’ve decided to write multiple blog posts on this specific topic because of an amazing book I read called, The Gift of Being Yourself, by David Benner. This has been one of the most life changing books I have read and I hope to do it at least some justice by writing small blog posts about what I learned.
This last year has been a whirlwind of self discovery and honestly even figuring out what that means. I have uncovered amazing things about myself and most importantly God.
In my last post, I explained why true self discovery can only occur when looking towards God. This post will be about the second part of this, which is transformation in God’s love. When we do this He is able to reveal parts of us that have been covered from pain.
Self discovery is radically different in God because it creates honest change, and almost always a permanent change too.
As children, we are shaped to hide are bad behaviors. We are rewarded for doing good and scolded for mistakes, but in this we don’t stop doing wrong, instead we get better at hiding it.
We conceal it from adults by acting in secret, but in the secret is where shame thrives. As we get older we continue to experience shame, but unlike hiding it from others, as we did when we were younger, we start to suppress our own “bad” feelings from ourselves unconsciously.
A realization occurs that says, “If I cannot accept those parts of myself that seem dark, then others must not be able also”. In believing this lie we decide to push away our shame and guilt each time it appears.
However, in those moments, when ignoring your feelings seem to be the best option, it is actually the worst thing for you to do. When we decide to not acknowledge our guilt and pain we push them into hiding, creating more damage only to be discovered later when they arise again.
Instead, we tell ourselves that we’re good, strong, and remind ourselves of the lovely things about us. Self medication of beautiful lies isn’t the way to heal. In the end, we believe the lie that we are strong, not that we have strong parts about us.
The only way to transform into your true self is embracing your full self, all the shame included. Which is scary. I realize that it’s not an easy thing to do. But no one is asking you to do it on your own. In fact, you can’t. You will never be able to transform fully without God.
In my own faith, I have felt like it is harder to bring those dirty parts of myself to a perfect God. I find that I often do not acknowledge the bad parts because I believe the lie that if I do they will consume me. Yet, this is not true, because our actions are not who we are.
We do not need to be afraid of bringing our full self to God, He knows us as we are right now. We never need to lie or have an improvement mode with Him. God sees you as you are now and doesn’t want anything else. You are perfect at this moment.
Change happens when we accept our true self, all parts of it. If you do not embrace those parts that often seem too hard to admit, you are choosing to repress them instead. And you will never be able to give up what you don’t acknowledge exists.
The reality is that you’re a sinner, but the hope is that you are a deeply loved sinner.
If Abba can accept you as a sinner, how can you do any less? *
Self discovery is not about fixing our sin or ourselves, but turning to God in the midst of it all. We are only able to embrace our true self because of the love that God gives in our brokenness. He picks us up, comfort us, and lead us into healing. Healing flourishes when we acknowledge our innermost parts of who we are. His love allows us to transform.
*Benner, David G. The Gift of Being Yourself. InterVarsity Press, 2015.