To be yourself
in a world that is constantly trying
to make you something else
is the greatest accomplishment.
-Ralph Waldo Emerson
One of the hardest things to do if you grew up in an enmeshed family is be yourself. Sometimes it seems like everybody is working against you – the parents, the relatives, the teachers, the Christians and everyone who feels a need to tell you how to live your life. Opinions are abundant, but true God-given advice is in short supply. The truth is unless you learn to follow your own true North and listen to the voice of God’s Spirit inside of you, you will never be able to shine.
Here are five tips on how to shine—
1. Be Yourself
Ask God to show you who you are and ask Him to reveal what you can do to. Keep in mind God doesn’t make our choices —He gives us many opportunities and we get to choose.
2. Practice Good Boundaries
Boundaries reveal the lines drawn between you and other people. This is important because the only way we can truly shine is to separate ourselves from other people. This does not require being divided from other people, but knowing where we begin and others end. Sometimes we grow up in a family where others try to foist their ideas on us. Boundaries help us define who we are.
3. Explore What Makes You Come Alive
Is it music, art, dancing, writing or maybe even care-taking. Whatever makes you feel alive and gives you satisfaction. Whatever puts a spring in your step and a song in your heart—that’s a clue it might be your calling.
4. Ignore the Critics
There will always be people who think you should do something different than you’re already doing. Some people want us to fit into their dreams and their schemes, but God has called us to be ourselves not extensions of our parents or teachers. Once you know what motivates you, it is time to let go of what the critics say.
5. Live Wholeheartedly
God has not asked us to live mediocre lives. God has not asked us to live out our parents’ dreams. God has not asked us to do servile work that doesn’t bring joy to our hearts. God has called us to serve in love and to do what we love—but only once we put these two together are we able to truly shine.
The place God calls you to is the place
where your deep gladness
and the world’s deep hunger meet.