Hello, Tribelet of Precious Mini-Women!
First of all, welcome Johnna. You are absolutely a member of the Tribelet, just by being here and participating.
Second of all, don’t you all just LOVE Hannah? If you haven’t read last week’s post, you definitely should because it’s written by our newest Tribelet Elder.
You’re going to be seeing a post from her every other week AND she’s great about responding to your comments. Aren’t you just so jazzed?
In her post, which kicked off our new series “Just Be Myself? Really?” Hannah asked you to “confess” to that thing you sometimes use an excuse — your “That’s just the way I am.” I love the way you admitted to those so honestly (and I think that’s because you know this is a safe place). You filled in the blank with —
* overreacting to small things
* putting yourself down (especially in sports and math)
* being shy or way quiet in new situations
* pointing out other people’s mistakes
* being rough with boys (not that they don’t deserve it …)
* speaking before thinking
* losing your temper (or exploding it!)
* manipulating people into doing your chores
* being hard on yourself
* what-iffing (what if I fail, what if I get hurt, what if no one likes me)
* saying “I hate ____” (usually something we’re not good at)
* being dramatic
* being nosy
* mothering younger siblings
* being fragile (easily moved to tears)
* embarrassed to share tough feelings
Our new series is partly about getting rid of those excuses so we can be our true selves — so we know what to do when somebody says, “Just be yourself!”
How do we do that?
We start today with understanding that when we say, “That’s just the way I am!” we’re talking about our False Self. Here’s what I mean:
We’re made in the image of God, right? So we’re created good and beautiful and true. Seriously, have you ever seen a mean baby?
But we’re born into a messed up world — a world that’s hard to get along in. So as we start growing up we automatically develop habits just to cope and survive. Two-year-olds pitch fits to get what they want. Three-year-olds snatch toys because they don’t want to share. Four-year-olds lie so they won’t get in trouble. You see what I mean?
After a while those habits start to seem like they’re part of us. We start seeing ourselves as greedy and dishonest and angry. That’s what we call the False Self. God doesn’t make us that way. We make us that way because we have to deal with other people who have false selves too.
Not all of the things we take on in order to make it in our world are “bad.” Or at least they don’t seem like it. For example, I grew up in a family that jumped on every little thing I did wrong, so I developed a “perfect” self. I didn’t argue or even say what I really thought most of the time because I might get in trouble. Everybody thought I was so sweet and good — but inside I sometimes wanted to scream, “Could I just make a B? Can’t I just say ‘no’ once in a while?”
We all develop different kinds of false-self habits because the beautiful personalities we were born with are all different.
* If God created you to be quieter than other people, your false habit might be to hide your feelings and be frightened of new people. There’s nothing wrong with stepping back and figuring people out before you throw yourself out there and say, “Want to be best friends?!” That’s true for you. What’s false is to say, “I don’t talk. That’s just how I am.”
* If God gave you a big personality and a gift for acting, your false habit might be to over-react and put on a huge display of emotion every time the smallest thing happens. There’s nothing wrong with having true feelings, big feelings. That’s true for you What’s false is to say, “I’m always dramatic. That’s just how I am.”
We (Hannah and I) are going to help you figure all of that out and more in our new series. For now, let’s start with getting a picture of your False Self. When I’m being my False Self — loud and show-offy and snarky — it looks like this in my mind:
Here’s what to do:
(1) Write in your Talking To God Journal, asking God to show you the self that isn’t really you.
(2) Draw (in your journal if you want to) or find a picture that reminds you of that False Self.
(3) In your comment, tell us what that image looks like. We would love it if you would take a picture of it with a digital camera (camera on a phone works great) and email that picture to Nancy at firstname.lastname@example.org. It will appear in next week’s post!
Just so you know, I’m not making this up. The New Testament talks about it ALL the time. Here’s just one place —
“Whoever did want him (Jesus), who believed he was who he claimed and would do what he said, He made to be their true selves, their child-of-God selves.” (John 1:13-14 The Message)
And you know what? I love your child-of-God selves.