How to Find Yourself
So many people in this world are trying to 'find themselves.' They travel, read self-help books, and take personality tests. They dabble in taro cards, psychic readings, and astrology charts looking for who they are. Human beings have an intense need to know who they are and why they are here. Jesus' answer was very different from these methods. He told us to set aside the cares of the world and the praises of men and follow Him (see Luke 18:18-23). By so doing, in losing our lives for His sake, we would find them (Matthew 10:39).
Jesus said, 'he that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.' Matthew 10:39. At first glance, this statement seems more like a riddle than advice. What is Jesus really saying here? If we spend our days looking for ourselves, we'll never learn what life is about. We'll waste our lives because we'll miss out on something so very important. But if we lose our lives for His sake, we will find more joy and happiness in this life than we ever thought possible. We will know who we really are, what life is about, and most importantly find eternal life in the world to come.
But, what does he mean by losing our lives for His sake? Does he mean we must be martyred for His cause? No, that's not it, although I'm sure those who have been martyred for His cause did experience what Jesus was teaching here. I believe what Jesus meant is that we have to stop worrying about ourselves. We have to lay aside our own selfish desires, ambitions and seek to know His will for our lives. What would He have us do with our lives? How can we let him steer the ship of life? How can we seek His will?
Lose our life in service.
A kind heart and a helping hand can be an instrument in the hands of God. Jesus taught in Matthew 25:34-40:
'Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: For I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. '
'Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungered, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?'
'And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.'
In the Old Testament, the word 'stiff-necked' is used repeatedly to describe the children of Israel. They were stubborn, unmovable, anything but humble. They were continually chastised and brought into bondage because of their unwillingness to humble themselves. They thought they knew all the answers. Being humble is synonymous with being teachable. It has nothing to do with being a wimp or inadequacy. A humble seeker of truth realizes that they do not know all the answers or the why's of life. They know that God does, and that there is much they can learn from him. Jesus taught, 'Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.' (Matthew 18:4). Is this not finding your life? Is this not the greatest success of all?
'He that has ears, let him hear.' (Matthew 11:12). Listen to the guidance of the Spirit. Elijah learned that the Lord is not in the great and strong wind, nor in the earthquake, nor in the fire, but is found in a still small voice (1 Kings 19:11:12). Sometimes we get so distracted by the cares and busyness of life that we let them drown out any possibility of hearing the still small voice as it whispers. We put the things that matter most at the mercy of the things that matter least, and in so doing, we don't find our true purpose and direction in life.
It's also very important to be willing to listen to the insights, ideas and perspectives of others. A dear friend of mine has taught me the power to be found in listening. She really listens to others when they speak. She concentrates on what they are saying. She doesn't wait to jump in with her two cents. She really hears them out. Many times she doesn't even voice her opinion. She asks questions, thinks through what she's heard carefully, and ponders on ways to better serve the person. She also listens to decide if the principles they share with her might also have application to her own life. There is power in listening.
Have an open mind
Sometimes the Lord has ideas for our life that we never would have expected. When we're too fixed on what we think should happen and how it should happen, we grab the steering wheel away from the Lord. The Lord often directs and teaches us through other people. Someone who, for example, has been through financial bankruptcy can teach us much about frugality. Someone who has lived through spousal abuse can teach us much about faith and trust in the Lord during adversity. When we open our hearts and minds in learning from the experiences and perspectives of others, we benefit from the knowledge and experience of other lifetimes. Our lives gain richness, meaning and perspective.
Just because we listen to someone with an open mind, does not mean we have to accept or embrace his or her lifestyles or beliefs. It's more like spreading a buffet table in front of you with more food than you could possibly sample, yet there will be those things that you will pick and choose as beneficial and appetizing for yourself. If we close ourselves off to others, we do not have access to that buffet table, and our lives become limited. When we give another person the option of being a good person while allowing them the right to believe and live what they do, we learn to look for the good and love others as the Savior does. Our lives become positive and enriched and we learn so much!
If you want to know the purpose and direction for your life, simply ask the Lord. Jesus taught, 'Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened' (Matthew 7:7 - 8). When we lack wisdom and direction, God knows the answers. As James taught 'If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.' (James 1:5)
Trust in the Lord
Trust in the Lord. He is [our] help and our shield (Psalms 115:111). God has your answers. He knows what your potential is, what you can eventually become. He has the long, eternal perspective whereas we cannot even see what will happen in the next hour. 'Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths' (Proverbs 3:5-6). God can make even the most aggravating and horrifying circumstances work together for our good, if we will but trust him and let him guide our lives.
Put the Lord at the helm of your ship of life. Give your life to him through service in humility. Listen to him as he speaks to you through the Spirit and through others. Have an open mind to the possibilities that he has for your life. Ask him for help and guidance and trust Him to know what is best. I promise in so doing, that He whom the wind and the waves obey will guide you through the storms of life, and you will find a richness and happiness that will be beyond anything you ever imagined.
br> Marnie's philosophy is that positive messages can change the world and through collaboration we can magnify our impact exponentially. Pick up a copy of her latest book, Light the World: How Your Brilliance Can Shift the Planet.
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