I once heard a pastor that respect very much say, “Everybody is desperately insecure.” The more I observe myself, and people around me, the more I tend to agree with this statement. Everyone’s insecurities manifest in different ways, such as anger or shyness, but the root is always insecurity. For me, the most dangerous manifestation of my insecurity is being judgmental. By looking at others and pointing out their flaws and brokenness, I guess I somehow make myself feel better about my own. Thank God that He is always helping us work through these insecurities, and enabling us to shift our focus onto how we can unconditionally love and serve others. Recently, He showed me something that I think will help me along that journey. I thought it may encouraging to some of you reading this as well.
I recently noticed that I was spending a lot of time focusing on all the things that I didn’t want to be. For example, I don’t want to be a hypocrite. I read all these stories about the Pharisees, and I see how Jesus spoke to them. I can’t help but think about how much I don’t want to be like them. Another example would be not wanting to be complacent. I look around at the condition of the United States, and I see a culture of comfort and complacency where so many are afraid to risk what they have to further the gospel. I can’t help but think of when Jesus said, “It’s easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 19: 24). So I added complacent to this list of things I don’t want to be.
What I began to notice is that over the past few years, I had developed this extensive list of all the things I did not want to be. As I ran that list through my head over and over, it began to dictate a lot of the activity of my life. Some might be reading this and wondering whether or not that is a bad thing. Well, all I can say is that, thinking about what I didn’t want to be began to yield the exact opposite of what I was hoping for. I started to become more and more like everything I didn’t want to be. For example, If I focused on not being judgmental, I became more judgmental. Why is that? I think the answer is simpler than it may seem. When we are thinking about not being judgmental, we are not thinking about how to be more loving.
God showed me just a very slight change in my thought process that I am in the beginning stages of implementing. The bible tells us that, “As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he” (Proverbs 23:7). If we hold this to be true, then what we think about will ultimately determine how we act. Therefore, rather than think about who we don’t want to be, shouldn’t our focus be on who we do want to be? Rather than focusing on avoiding being judgmental, hypocritical, or complacent, shouldn’t we be focusing on being loving, authentic, and effective?
In an effort to put this into action, I recently wrote down a list of everything that I do want to be. Most of the words I came up with are antonyms for all the things I claimed that I didn’t want to be. What is it for you? Do you want to be more loving, authentic, or fruitful? Whoever it is you want to be in Christ, I just encourage you to take a few minutes and write those things down. Then somehow put them in front of you so that you see them consistently. If we keep our minds focused on who we want to be, or even better, who we already are if Christ lives in us. It’s only a matter of time before those things begin to manifest in our lives.
Who do you want to be?