“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.”~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
How do you stay true to yourself in a world that is constantly pulling you to have more or to be more? I was plagued with this question when I was forced to sit down and reevaluate my soul. I could feel who I fought so hard to be slipping away. The pressure that was mounting on me to succeed was causing depression. The more I did was not ever enough to those around me and did not equal success in their eyes. I prayed and prayed and it seemed as though God was refusing to speak to me. How could this be that God is refusing to speak when he sat me in my position as a pastor to shepherd his people, yet he was refusing to speak to me.
I found myself sinking deeper in despair, the guilt of not being who the culture was demanding and instructing me to be, while slowly forgetting who I was created to be in God. I had no outlet to run to whom would provide a safe space to articulate my feelings and to work through my emotions. Yet, God was not speaking. It was as though I was a ship doom to sink due to the holes in my soul. I became desperate, and in my desperation, I went on a fast, and I cried out for God to come and see about me. I cried out about how I was hurting and lost in which direction to take. I cried and in the midst of tears, I prayed, “I have not called myself to this work or to this people but you called me. You have to direct me and help me!” After an hour of this with some reading, meditating, and worship, God in all of his gentleness led me to my beginnings.
See sometimes we can allow the cares of life to pull us away from the source that gives us life. We are true to ourselves only after we find ourselves wrapped up in God. As time goes on and we experience success and favor we attract more people. We attract people who want to join us on our journey and then we have people who desire to change us as well. If we are not careful we will allow the pull of them to cause us to drift from the captain of our life and take our eyes off the prize. Instead of time spent in God’s presence just soaking we find ourselves in his presence presenting ideas that he never ordained. Ideas that were birthed out of conversations with those we feel are successful, those who tell us where they feel we can do better, those who have their own agenda that is far from God for our life.
What does it profit us to gain the world only to lose our souls(true identity)? It does us no good. At all costs, we must intentionally fight to guard our ear gates and our eye gates. We never slack on the discipline of disconnecting and getting away from the crowd and allowing God to pour in us. Because in a culture of doing it my way, compromising with the world(because so many are bitter with “church”), it’s better to be rich(although bankrupt spiritually), and look good(outwardly while dying inwardly). You put yourself at risk of losing yourself to appease people who really need salvation. We must always find rest in God.
We will find ourselves fatigued and tired emotionally if we neglect to always operate in God’s principles in our work, relationships, and finances. If we are praying for God’s kingdom to come and his will to be done then we are praying for commands and principles that give us the power to become and stay in alignment with our true selves. People will love you today and hate you tomorrow. We do not do what we do for people. We are workers of God and as sheep sent out among wolves we will experience all kinds of pressures. But we even in the midst of all of that must remain true and tried. Knowing the more we stay true the more that favor will find us and we can rest as we should. We can be at peace with ourselves and enjoy the ride.