The Character Quality of Knowing Self:
I expectantly eyed the bathroom mirror, keenly aware that this day would not only put another candle on an elaborately iced cake, but mark off another significant decade.
With anticipation for the day ahead of me, I stopped to assess my reflection. Instantly, I was met by a rather dismal birthday pronouncement.
The voice in my head spoke loud and clear. “I don’t like you!”
In one quick instance, I had summed up four decades of my life. And with four short words, I had pronounced myself, lacking.
Was I saying that I didn’t like how I looked? Or was I saying, that I didn’t like the essence of me; my God-designed uniqueness.
I am sure that body image may have played a part in my self-proclaimed analysis. Yet, something deep inside my head was clearly voicing, that this self-proclamation was not about my looks! I believe the message that my heart was saying, was that, I didn’t like the person I had become.
This had been a monumental year for me; and one that I didn’t feel like I had handled very well. Peri-menopause had hit with a vengeance! To top off the hormone explosion, I had faced many unresolved health issues. But, to ice-the-cake I had switched from being a calm, mostly-patient mother; and to the chagrin of my family I had become a screamer!
Turning another year older didn’t miraculously change my struggles, or transform my circumstances. Another candle added to my cake, obviously hadn’t corrected the attitude I carried about myself; but I entered this new year with a false premise. A premise that said; that who I was, was somehow based upon how I had handled life’s circumstances over the past 365 days.
In this assessing moment I began to ask myself;
“Had I lived the past year on purpose, or had I lived in the regrets of yesterday, and the dread of the not-yet’s of the looming future?”
“Had I lived life intentionally; embracing my unique, God-given design? Or did I hide myself behind self-made, elaborate masks, seeking to find protection from my personal fears, embarrassment, and shame of falling short as a woman, a wife and a mother?
It didn’t take much for me to know that I had not achieved mother of the year award for my birthday; but to proclaim that I didn’t like myself, how could that be?
Yet in that one quick assessment I had to ask myself; “Whose standard was I aligning myself to?”
How well do you know yourself?
Knowing Self is about knowing yourself intimately, through a growth process by which you continually allow your heart to be exposed to God’s truth about you, and submit to God’s work of purification; so, you can become a woman after God’s own heart.
Our voice calls out; “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends You, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.” Psalm 139:23-24 (NLT)
Knowing Self will ultimately yield to wholesome relating to others, leading from a place of authenticity and reflecting the glory of God to the world around you.
As God calls us to know Him, he also calls us to a place of Knowing Self. A place that flows freely out of embracing our true God-given identity, design and gifting. “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10 (ESV)
As we open God’s word of truth, we stand before a looking glass that reveals the very deliberate intention of Jesus Christ, as He creates us in His image. We begin to view our uniqueness in a holy, reverential light; as one created with purpose, brought into existence by the very words of Christ. Unique and Different by Design!
Our acceptance of self can only take root as we personally come to know the Master Designer, and His intention for mankind.
It is God’s design and desire that we live freely out of who He created us to be, and not hide our God-given identity behind masks of pretense. When we live out of this identity, we become truth-reflectors of Christ to the world around us. The world sees us as God intended, not as pretenders who seek to present to the world something other than we really are.
The character quality of Knowing Self flows out of growing in intimacy with God. Through our relationship with God we learn who we are in Christ Jesus, and then can begin to live out of our true-self as His Beloved Daughter.
How often have we put ourselves down because we were a few pounds overweight, or we didn’t have on the latest fashion, or our kids were rude or out of control, or our ministry was not life-giving, or we felt inept for the task at hand?
The world is quick to sum up our character by how we look, the money we make, the ministry we lead, the obedience of our children or how competent we are; but God calls us to a different standard. We are called to His standard as the Beloved of God. A standard of truth and not one judged by what we have, what we do or how we look. For “God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7 (NASV)
If we are going to live out of our true authentic selves as God designed, then we need to allow God to unveil the protective masks of our false self, and we must then take the risk to live authentically with our hearts exposed to God’s truth. Not only is this a place of freedom; but a place where we will begin to live with purpose and passion. A place where we live for the glory of God and not the applause of men.
Our False Self:
The false self is the person whom you wish to present to the world; for praise, admiration, approval, validation, a sense of perfectionism and people pleasing.
The false self is often valued for being smart, successful, popular, accomplished, polished, put-together and attractive.
God never intended for us to live hidden behind masks. Christ came to give us life. Life comes as we learn to live out of our true selves; but remember, the enemy of this world hates truth and will do anything to steal, kill and destroy it as.
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”
John 10:10 (ESV)
- Name one negative (self-debasing), or one superior (self-righteous) message that you tell yourself?
- What mask do you put on because of this message?
- Stop! Ask God’s help in recognizing the lie that you are believing.
- What is the new truth message that God has shown you to believe about Yourself?
Thank You God, for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous! Even before the mountains were born, you gave birth to the earth and the world. From beginning to end, You are God. God, I stand amazed that I am Your masterpiece. I have been created in Christ Jesus, so that I could do the good things that You planned for me to do, so long ago.
I believe that You created me for a unique purpose that I would reflect to the world your goodness, Your love and Your glory. How precious are Your thoughts about me, O God, they are too many to count! You made me. You created me, and now I ask You to give to me the sense to obediently, follow your commands.
May all who fear You find in me a cause for joy, for I have put my hope in Your word!
Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends You, and lead me along the path of everlasting life. Amen!
*Prayer scriptures are taken from the New Living Translation of the Bible. (Psalm 139:14; Psalm 90:2; Ephesians 2:10; Psalm 139:17; Psalm 139:23-24; Psalm 119:73-74)
“Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you.”
Isaiah 60:1 ESV
Linda Jane Dingeldein: Different by Design honors the working women on Hong Kong’s busy street markets.