Do you sometimes feel like you compromise on the real you, to conform to some set of rules or standards? Maybe you feel like you have been 'boxed in' with the real you missing in action? If so, you are not alone.
Over the years, I have come across a lot of frustrated Christians experiencing inner conflict. Their conflict emerges when they feel torn between listening to their own inner voice and the external voices of 'others'. These external voices include the corporate world, media, culture, family, friends and dare I say, the church. Judging by the ferocity of these voices, people tend to react to them in one of many ways. For some, they simply silence their inner voices and start dancing to the new tunes of others. In the case of others, they start off fighting to retain their God-given individuality. However, sooner or later, they quit fighting. In both instances, these people find their real selves being forced into the background, all in the aid of getting ahead, fitting in or to avoid rocking the boat.
Regardless of their way of dealing with this issue, sooner or later, their inner turmoil surfaces. Why? Because they have forsaken who they were created to be and are now living contrary to who they really are. Somewhere down the line, other voices start to call the shots of their lives and this causes the unease within.
So, have you experienced this kind of inner conflict? If you are not sure, let's bring it closer to home. Have you ever felt pressured to think or act in a way that does not feel right? And when you may have tried to show your unwillingness to conform, you find yourself threatened, frowned upon, ostracized or made to feel guilty.
If this is you, I want to encourage you that God had no intention of making you into a clone or a robot. The bible states in Genesis 1 that God made us in His image. Moreover, He has blessed us all with a unique combination of strengths, abilities, qualities, passions and much more. This means we are all different. But the moment we abandon who we are, we stop being the person God had in mind. We become like actors/actresses performing on the stages of life. And of course, acting our way through life means we forsake our purpose too. To make matters worse, when the curtains come down each day, we may resort to unhealthy coping mechanisms (e.g. addictive behaviours) to help us cope with our inner struggles.
So I encourage you to utilise your liberty that Christ has afforded all of us. As long as you operate within Gods law, you have nothing to worry about. Don't let others put a noose (of e.g. religion, culture) around your neck as Paul encouraged us in Colossians 2.
And lastly, if you feel you have lost your identity in Christ, I encourage you to prayerfully retrace your steps. Ask God to show you, through His word, the person He had in mind when He created you. Ask God to let His Word illuminate and renew your mind. Let His Word and His voice be the yardstick you measure your life by – not the standards of others that will veer you off course. Once you have rediscovered yourself in God, stand (and fight) for the individual God has called you to be. After all, you were created for such a time as this. Moreover, we need the real YOU to show up, to do what God has placed in your heart. So will the real you PLEASE stand up?
Meditate on this….
"Don't copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will know what God wants you to do, and you will know how good and pleasing and perfect his will really is."
Romans 12:2 (NLT)