"Just be yourself"...
The advice we always hear when we are going into a new situation.
Going on a first date? Just be yourself.
First day of school? Just be yourself.
Headed to a job interview? Just be yourself.
We are always told to be ourselves, but sometimes we just don't feel we have the freedom to do that. And sometimes, we don't want to be ourselves because we know that who we are is not who we want to be. We are ashamed of the improvements left unmade in our lives, and we are scared to be ourselves because of it.
But "being me" is different for believers. Being ourselves goes far beyond letting all of our colors show.
AbandonBeing free to be ourselves means being free to live with abandon for the things no one else understands. We are free to not make sense to the world. We are free to live for Jesus without care for who may think we are crazy- because we know they will, and that's okay.
Being free to be ourselves means that we can live with a real and deep purpose without having to worry about what others consider success. We know that our mission is to love God and share him with the world. So we are free to do that without worry or fear about other types of success.
A Different Kind of FreedomBeing free to be ourselves also means that we have freedom from who we are without God (Isaiah 64:6). I know that I like who I am in Christ. What He has made me and how I act with His help is a whole lot better than who I am without Him or when I am not living for Him and obeying Him.
I am free to NOT live for myself. That probably sounds like the antithesis of freedom to some, but let me put it like this: When I live for myself, I tend to only care about my well-being- never the well-being of others. When I live for myself, it doesn't matter who I steam-roll over, who I hurt, or how I act, because as long as I get whatever makes ME happy, all is hunky-dory.
That is not freedom. That makes for a miserable, sad, and lonely life. Being free in Christ means that we recognize that there IS something bigger than ourselves to live for, and realizing that living in true freedom means not being so inward focused. This doesn't mean that we throw self-care out the window. It doesn't mean that we never stand up for ourselves or look out for ourselves. But what it does mean is that in order to live a free life, we have to look further than just ourselves.
So Not EasyI would never sit here and tell you that this kind of freedom is easy right off the bat. Living in freedom is one of my biggest struggles in life. But just because something isn't easy, doesn't mean that it isn't worth it. And that's where being disciplined to reach a better way of living comes in. That's why we have to be disciplined in order to be free.
We really can live a life of freedom. We really are free to be ourselves. And that should excite us. That should make us strive for that freedom and work towards it. What do you say? Are you with me?