It feels like more than ever before; there’s this big emphasis on figuring out “who we are.” Do you know what I mean? The idea of knowing what kind of person we are; what we stand for; what we believe in- that sort of thing. I’m for it, for sure- hear me on that. I’m fascinated by all things Enneagram, Myers-Briggs, StrengthsFinder. With more social media outlets than I’m even aware of, we also have more access than ever before to broadcast this ‘figured out’ version of ourselves.
I have mixed feelings about how we go about this journey of self-discovery, but lately, I’ve become more aware of just how much this desire to learn ourselves, our personalities, our shadow sides, etc. can drive us. For the most part, our culture places a high value on knowing these things about ourselves. And I don’t disagree with that or anything or think it’s bad. Some of the unhealthy patterns I’ve recognized in myself came through an in-depth look at my life through the lens of such personality tests.
But recently I’ve been challenged by the thought that as someone who follows Jesus, I should place more emphasis on learning the character of God rather than trying to figure out my own. I think that learning the character of God is crucial in figuring out who God created me to be. And since God is the only thing in our whole world that’s constant, for me at this point, it doesn’t make sense to spend all this time figuring out what I stand for, what I think I believe in, because odds are, that’s going to change at some point. As someone relearning the heart of God, all I know is that what I believed about myself and God six months ago is very different than what I believe about Him and myself now.
If Jesus is sure, constant, steadfast, always loving, which I believe He is- then why wouldn’t I focus on Him and His character in hopes of becoming more like that? If I’m always focused on me relying on myself to become the sort of person I think I should become, I don’t really have anything solid to hold onto.
So like I said, I’ve been thinking about this, sifting through different thoughts about self-discovery that trigger me, and trying to figure out why, and have been reading Psalm 103. The character of God is so beautiful. It truly is. I would so much rather let God shape my heart and character than attempting in vain to become someone I simply can’t apart from God.
“The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love.
He will not always accuse, nor will he harbor his anger forever;
He does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities.
For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him.” –Psalm 103:8-11
That’s whose character I want to model. That’s the God I want shaping me. On my own, I will never get anywhere close to being a person who loves like that.
“[God] forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion,
who satisfies your desires with good things…”
He does all of this because that is who He is. His character is unblemished goodness all of the time. So lately I’m very straightforward with my prayers to God- I’ve got a terrible tendency of using too many words to distract. God, just show me more of you. Show me who you are, how you care, the quality of your love. Let me see you in these small moments, in the ones that I’m quick to lose sight of you. Help me relearn your heart. Help me relearn your character.