Recently I was talking with a friend of mine. She was having a rough time and needed to talk. “I just feel distant from God”, she said. It was a just a quick comment made in the middle of sharing her heart over some confusing dilemmas in her life. When a friend tells you they feel distant from God, it hits a nerve, doesn’t it? You likely know that feeling! Our mind sometimes is our worst enemy.
The Accuser (Satan) loves to intimidate us with doubt-filled questions about our connection with God.
He tried to do the same to Jesus when he said, “If you are the Son of God, then…”. We all need friends to listen when those clouds start to roll in. Much of our emotional health comes from being close to our Creator, our Father in heaven.
It seemed to me that my friend was quickly losing her peace. Something had shifted in her perspective. I wanted to help her get back to feeling confident to face her day. I said, “Maybe you aren’t distant from God. I know you and that your faith is strong that He is with you and He has promised to never leave. I think you feel distant from yourself. It’s like you aren’t really sure how to understand this moment and how to move forward as the real you.”
In a beautiful way, from that point on in our conversation it was like the sun broke in. Warmth and clarity seemed to move in on her and she left with a smile. Later she thanked me for the reminder and was feeling so much more hopeful and positive about where she was going in her life.
How are YOU feeling about today?
There is hope for this moment right now. In fact Jesus was very clear that today… THIS day demands your focus. “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Matt 6:34
You don’t need to go on feeling distant from God. But, you may need to learn to see your life from a different perspective. One of my favourite motivational quotes by the Apostle Paul is “I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received.” As a Jesus follower you have received a calling and it starts with truly being yourself as God’s son or daughter.
There is a devastating lie in our culture that says you can’t truly be yourself and follow Jesus. Those who believe that deception have confused being religious for the freedom of being a child of God by faith in His Son. The reality is you will never discover more about yourself than when you embrace life in God’s family.
John Mark Comer writes in his book “Loveology” that as a Christian you live “in the process of becoming who you really are.” In other words with every step forward you take the Holy Spirit is helping you grow into the real you.
Don’t kid yourself however. Even though it is truly amazing to discover the true you that God designed some days it will still demand all you have. But it is GOOD.
I love this section from “The Message” by Eugene Peterson talking about Jesus. Peterson refers to him as “The Life-Light”:
The Life-Light was the real thing:
Every person entering Life
he brings into Light.
He was in the world,
the world was there through him,
and yet the world didn’t even notice.
He came to his own people,
but they didn’t want him.
But whoever did want him,
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.
These are the God-begotten,
not sex-begotten. John 1:9-13
What a powerful way to describe what it means to know and love Jesus. You get to be your true self, your “child-of-God” self.
Here are some powerful life hacks for becoming the real you:
Becoming the real YOU:
1. Receive your adoption into God’s family
When you aren’t sure of who you really are you will often feel stuck. One of the most important things for you to know is that God has not and will not abandon you. The Bible is clear that God’s message to you is that He is offering to adopt you into his family. You receive that offer by praying a simple prayer. You can pray something like this right now; “God I believe Jesus did everything that was needed for me to become your child forever. By faith I receive my place in your family. I don’t take credit for this myself. Jesus deserves all the credit for my adoption today. Thank you for saving me.” – Amen.
2. Engage with God’s mission for the world
When the Bible talks about God “saving” us it includes rescuing us from a meaningless life of serving ourselves and our desires. Following Jesus is the craziest adventure around. Since you are already wired to do good things and make a difference in the world, it makes sense that the Apostle Paul would write the following in “Ephesians”: “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Ephesians 2:8-10
Remind yourself often that the good things you do for others to show them Jesus’s love aren’t about you gaining a place in God’s family. You do good works to restore things back to what they should be as part of God’s plan for all creation. In other words, you aren’t trying to prove that you are worth something. Instead you are showing how awesome it is to be at peace with God and to be partnering with him and his good plan.
3. Welcome the chance to stretch and grow
In his book, “Failing Forward” John Maxwell wrote, “Fail early, fail often, but always fail forward.”
God’s goal for you is to become more of who you really are. Don’t be intimidated by the challenges of this day.
Don’t be ashamed of failing. Mark down what you learn and be grateful that you have eliminated one more way not to do it next time.
Whether you succeed or fail in this day, God is forming you into the real you!
Live THIS day!