Becoming a better Christian. That’s the whole goal, right? Getting this Christ thing correct is the aim of all of our worship and praying and kindness and faith, isn’t it?
It’s at least what most of us have been sold, but I would suggest that it’s suffocating the life, the real life, out of you, me, and us.
I’ve spent most of my life chasing this dream – to be the best Christian. I was at church every time the doors were open, I was asked to be the lead in VBS (Vacation Bible School) productions, I interned with my youth pastor for many years because I felt the call of the ministry on my life and then I went to college.
My goal was to graduate and then attend a seminary so that I could become a professional pastor. I was doing all of the “right” things and checking off the boxes I thought I was supposed to check off.
While my hard work gave me a great foundation to understand the mechanics of my faith, it never translated into a deep life.
The next 10 years were some of the hardest and most heartbreaking I could ever experience.
It broke me.
Becoming a “better Christian” was never going to be able to fulfill me or accomplish what God put me here for or live up to what it it promised was on the other side of achievement. Becoming more of who God created me to be, knowing Him and being known by Him, however, is far greater and better reality and already producing a more blessed and fruitful life.
I feel more alive in Christ now that I’m changing my purpose than I ever did when I chasing the “right things”!
Here are a few ways that you can become more of who God created you to be and how to begin walking the road to becoming your most authentic and true self.
1 | Gain Self-Awareness
One of my degrees is in psychology, so I’ve been no stranger to the seemingly endless number of personality tests. They all have their place and they all reveal a sliver of who you truly are. But, at the end of the day, it puts you in a box – “This you! Now stay there and be this!”
The most impactful tool I’ve found in my self-awareness journey is the Enneagram. It’s an ancient personality typing system that not only shows you the box you’re in but how to get out of it. It has peeled layers of misunderstanding away and helped me see a more clear path to wholeness and health and catch myself when I’m acting out of stress or an unhealthy place.
Self-awareness is something that you can never check off the box as completed. That’s the beauty of it. You’re always learning more and you’re always changing.
It’s a never-ending process because you are an infinitely knowable being created by an infinitely knowable being.
2 | Change The Beginning of Your Story
If your story starts with the notion of “original sin” (a doctrine made popular by St. Augustine) and that you are “just a sinner saved by grace” then you’ve lost before you’ve taken a step.
The idea that you, a being made in the image and likeness of God, started as a fallen and limping child would make sense if you begin reading your Bible in Genesis chapter 3 instead of chapter 1.
In Genesis 1, the writer repeats the phrases “God created… and he saw that it was good”.
And we are no exception!
A better starting point would be with a notion of “original blessing”. Yes, sin entered the world in Genesis 3, but then Jesus entered the world and redeemed his creation from the mar of sin and destruction through His death on the cross.
God sees you as you started – as his perfect son or daughter! And, changing where your story starts will change everything in your story from now until forever. It’s not something to be accomplished – it’s a way to start living.
“Paradoxically, immense humility, not arrogance, characterizes the True Self. You simultaneously know you are a son or daughter of God, but you also know that you didn’t earn it and you are not worthy of it. You know it’s entirely a gift (see Ephesians 2:8-9 and throughout Paul’s writings). All you can do is thank Somebody Else, occasionally weep with joy, and kneel without any hesitation.” – Richard Rohr, You Are the “Imago Dei”
3 | Find God in Others
Once you begin to see yourself differently (more how God sees you), then it should start to change the lens through which you see others around you.
By acknowledging the Spirit at the core of your being, you can more easily see and connect with the Spirit that is within someone else. And, if you’ll speak to that part of them instead of their soul (mind, will, emotions) or body, then you can step past the facade or false self that they’ve created.
There’s a saying that to the degree you can be known is the degree to which you can be loved. We, as sons and daughters, long to be loved but fear the risk of being known – of exposing our true self. Finding and then connecting with God in others will allow them the safety to drop the mask and grant them the peace that comes from being who they truly are.
There is nothing wrong with the effort you’ve likely put forth to become a better Christian – but I’m sure you’re worn out. Jesus said, “my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
So, do you want to live the life of Christian achievement or do you want to connect deeply with your Creator and live life as your most true self?