Here’s a post from my friend Tracey Bianchi (you can read more about her and find a link to her empowering book True You at the end of this post). Tracey encourages us to drop the ridiculous expectations that have us wearing someone else’s uniform and step into being the people we were made to be.
I’ve never once played a game of soccer. This sport that millions love has escaped me. I know nothing of the rules or why it is the most celebrated sport on the planet. I was generally okay with this until my daughter’s recent foray into the sport. With her placement on a first grade team came this request: “Will you be our referee?”
I laughed. “All you have to do is blow the whistle when the ball goes out. You’ll be fine!” One week later, at a three-hour referee meeting, I received a 50-page FIFA rule book, uniform, official coin toss token, and backpack of flags . . . way more than keeping the ball in bounds. Refereeing was not me. Why did I say yes to this? It did not fit me at all.
Life can feel like this. We find ourselves in the wrong uniforms, playing some life game we don’t understand. We lament that we are busy, stressed, and disconnected. A pandemic of loneliness has swept over us and we struggle to find meaning and purpose amid our busyness. In our efforts to keep up we might even feel fake. We volunteer for organizations that do not match our talents, we become overly concerned with appearances and impressions. We ask ourselves, “Why am I frustrated? isolated? unsure of who I really am?”
Buried deep in the soul is the actual person God created you to be. Allowing this person the space to emerge and evolve is perhaps the most significant answer to these laments. Adele Calhoun and I call this the journey to discovering God’s “True You.” There is only one you. One person with your set of gifts, passions, and opportunity to contribute to the good of this world. Why bury her or him under cultural expectations, ill-fitting opportunities, or the baggage that comes from our fears of missing out?
Each of us has a divine responsibility to live as the person God created. This is a lifelong journey with unpredictable moments and there is no quick fix. It’s less of a drive-thru and more like Frodo’s long, aching journey in The Lord of the Rings. And yet there are some elements of this discovery process that we all might share, some common threads and truths that help us discover the True You.
Identify Your Stress
What is pressing down on you? Did you agree to referee a game you’ve never played? Do expectations from your family of origin keep you from living out your gifts? Are you in the wrong job, classroom, relationship? Identify what creates stress and pressure in your life. We cannot change what we do not see. Make a short list of the pressure points you hope to change. Pray over them. Share them with a trusted friend.
Does a penchant for comparison keep you from celebrating the joy of who you are? When we pine for the blessings of others we miss the chance to live our own stories. Expressing gratitude for who we are is a significant step to living out our True You. Choose one thing each day to give thanks for, no matter how small or seemingly insignificant.
Find a Mentor
Perhaps a teacher, neighbor, pastor, or friend can help you find your way. If you want to change careers, find a person in your new field who can coach you. If you want to deepen your prayer life find a mentor who prays. We cannot arrive at our True You alone; it takes others to help us discover what we could not see on our own.
Embrace Your Life Stage
At times our True You is buried under expectations that do not match our life stage. Our youth-obsessed culture has older women racing to keep up with ever-elusive youth. New moms struggle with body image. Aging men and women avoid sharing their age for fear of labels like “out of touch” or “irrelevant.” At some point, the journey toward the True You means we admit and embrace what is. We live in finite bodies that age. Period. Family life comes with limits. Youth fades. You cannot control this, so embrace what is good about your life stage.
Empowering your True You is essential for spiritual growth and development. To discover your True You is to honor God and God’s hope for this world. So may you find your way to God’s beautiful life in you. A place where you can embrace all that is true and real. And a place where freedom to play the game you were meant to play is abundant.
Tracey Bianchi is the Worship and Teaching Pastor at Christ Church of Oak Brook (near Chicago, IL). She is also a freelance writer and speaker (traceybianchi.com) and co-author of the book True You: Overcoming Self-Doubt and Using Your Voice.
© 2015 Amy Simpson.