I am sure I placed me somewhere that I knew I wouldn’t forget … yet I am vividly aware I am not finding me. What is even more alarming is I am not sure the last time I knew where “me” was. All of me that is, not just the pieces of me that I have needed to function in any given moment, in any given circumstances … but ME!
How does this happen, you ask? Well, it is not on purpose … it just kind of “happens”. The urgency of the present supersedes the care of my person in the moment … one moment leads to another, and you look around and you find you are nowhere to be found.
What triggered my looking around to face this stark reality is another story; but a strong contributor to this awareness is the women that I am around. Some are younger than me by more than a decade. These women are in the throes of the demands made of wife, mother, friend, employee, and living it out with grace. Most have looked squarely in the eye the darkest parts of their lives and exchanged the shame, hurt and lies for an empowering truth that will never be taken from them. Other women have looked me in the eye with tears brimming, asking: “How did this happen? Where is the person I used to be? Who is the person I am called to be now?” My eyes also brim with tears, because (as you have put together) I find those questions looming over me, too.
I read an article in a magazine today that addressed the evaluation of change in a person’s life and whether it can be made and sustained by the person wanting it. It began by asking two questions: Though you don’t like it, what is true about you? And even though you don’t want to explore this, how do you feel about it? Ouch. These are the questions that cut to my quick. In being busy I have trained myself to avoid such thoughts. In a longing to numb out, I have pretended they don’t really matter that much. But they do. These two questions are at the heart of why I have lost me. They are central to the beginning of the journey to finding myself again.
Over lunch with my friend, Karrie, I listened as she shared the process the Lord gave her to find herself. I took out a small notebook to record her steps. It is with her permission I share these steps with you. Those who have a strong sense of self may find these steps to be a way to confirm that which has been deposited in you or make tweaks where needed. I confess at this time I have not done what I speak of, but will be in the midst of it when this is published. I expect it to be a working document for a while. This took my friend a weekend away to do. I say that not to box you into doing the same thing, but to let you know one morning’s journaling is not likely to get this done.
- Evaluate your heart. Make a list where your heart is, not sparing the disappointments and hurts in your life. It is okay to admit that God, spouse, family and self have been a source for one or more of these. It is the being honest in the moment, as you make this list, that matters most.
- From this list identify the lies you have believed. Ask the Holy Spirit to make your heart alert to the events that have lies attached to them.
- Look at the list of lies. Some are strongholds.* They have defined life for you in a way that is distorted and is hurting you. Evaluate, with the help of the Holy Spirit, how the lie(s) have affected the way you see yourself and how it has spilled out to affect other relationships in your life. Renounce the lie and any agreements you have made with it. How did you see yourself before this process? How do you see yourself now? How has your heart set changed?
- Write out the truths about yourself. You may be in the midst of circumstance of your own making, but you were created with a greater purpose than survival. Document who you really are. Let the Holy Spirit convict you of these truths.
- Search scripture to support these truths. Find reminders of who you are and what you are created for. A Bible app would be very friendly here.
- Now based on who you really are ask yourself about your non-negotiables. What really matters to you? What should you no longer function apart from? This list does not have to be completely “spiritual”. It needs to be what is right and true for you. What values do you hold yourself to? What values do you look for in others close to you? Does this include health (flossing, exercising, etc.) or boundary issues (standing up for yourself)? Does it include simple disciplines that speak value uniquely to you (fresh flowers in the house, the bed made, etc.)? Does it include having special days celebrated in a way that speaks love to you?
I have great hope. No, more than hope. I know that I am out there and ready to be found. I understand that in exposing hurts will come healing. I understand that a heart unburdened of lies will be filled with truth. I understand that a life with direction will be lived with purpose and satisfaction my spirit is designed to embrace.
* If some of the language (strongholds) in this article is unfamiliar or scary to you let me give you some palatable resources where you can build a foundation. Think Differently, Live Differently by Bob Hamp, available in electronic and print versions. Foundations of Freedom DVDs available at Gateway Church (gatewaypeople.com) store tab search “foundations of freedom” to find the five CD or DVD series or watch free online bobhamp.com media tab.