Friday, December 12, 2014

Dare to Be Great

For years and years, I've had a wrong perspective that it was not okay to want to be great at something (because then it would turn into pride) and I couldn't love or desire things (because then it would become idolatry).  So I've spent my life living small, burying dreams and desires, belittling my gifts and talents, and settling for mediocrity.  I became a water-downed version of me.  I was afraid to be confident in my gifts and strengths out of fear of becoming prideful, so I denied those parts of me and I became insecure, living in and focusing on my weaknesses.

But the other day, I had an epiphany in which a lot of things God has been showing me all kind of clicked.  
The Bible says that we are God's masterpiece, we are His art.  And just as a piece of art is a reflection of its creator, our lives point to and reflect the greatness of our Creator.  We have permission to be great because He created each of us in His image.  So if He is glorious and awesome and amazing, what does that say about me... about you?  
We are also created for a purpose.  And God created me (as well as you!) with gifts and passions, dreams and desires.  He creatively knit all these different interests and talents together in me to make me unique and prepare me to fulfill His specific plans for me.  But when I deny specific parts of me (however big or small), I am denying who He made me to be and not walking in His full purposes for me.  When I shove my dreams and desires down and hold myself back out of fear of pride or idolatry, I am only crippling and limiting myself.  When I bury my strengths and talents under the guise of humility, it is not doing the kingdom of God any favors.  It doesn't glorify Him or benefit others when I remain small and timid, hiding all that He's given me.   
"Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven." Matt. 5:16
What glorifies Him is when I become who He fully made me to be.  When I allow those dreams and desires to grow and push me to greatness.  When I walk fully in the passions He has planted in my heart.  When I have a dream and go after it.  When I am not afraid to let my life with all my gifts and talents shine brightly for Him.  When I live true to the person He made me to be, not comparing myself with others, needing their approval, or allowing them to put me in a box.  When I stop doubting myself and start believing in myself.  When I start living like He is actually FOR me and not against me.

This epiphany has set me free.  Free to be who He made me to be and know that He is fully supportive of me.  Free to pursue the passions and purposes that are in my heart.  Free to grow and develop them so that I can become all that I was intended to do and be.  Free to live my life in a way that will inspire and bless others, without holding back out of guilt or shame or fear. 
I love what Emily Freeman has to say : "Remember, art is what happens when you dare to be who you really are; when what is most alive in you is offered as a gift to others.  There are no rules for that - no matter if you think your thing is silly or unimportant, the truth is if it's important to you, then you have to pay attention to it.  If you don't we'll all miss out."  
Paul says in Galatians:
"Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that. Don't be impressed with yourself. Don't compare yourself to others. Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life." (Gal. 6:4-5 msg.)
I love that because it reminds me to figure out who God made me to be.  What are my specific purposes?  What are the passions He's written on my heart.  What inspires me? And then I just sink myself into doing those things.  It's not about trying to force things out of me that aren't there or be someone or something I'm not.  It's about discovering the gifts and desires that are already inside of me and allowing them to just pour out of me as an offering, as worship, as a blessing to others. It's not about impressing others or comparing myself to others.  It's about being the best me I can be, running the race marked out before me, and following Christ into all the things He has for me.  I think a natural outcome of that will be a life that points to and glorifies Christ.
The unique set of gifts and passions God has put in each one of us are there for a purpose.  We cannot afford to bury them or be afraid of them.  It doesn't matter how small or insignificant your dreams may seem to be.  If it's in your heart, it's there for a reason.  Pursue your passions.  Become all that you were created to be. 
Dare to be great!

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