Take A Small Step Toward Your True Self

At some point in our development (typically around the age of 7), we begin to conceive of an image of ourselves based on what we are not. 

If you ask a group of kindergarten students how many are artists, almost all will raise their hands. By the time they get to second grade, that number will have shrunk to just a handful. 

Usually, we begin developing these ideas about who we are through comparison.  We begin to realize that some students in our class draw better, are faster at running, are skinnier, seem smarter, or are more popular than we are. 

Sadly, those kinds of comparisons continue through adolescence and intensify during what is truly the most formative time for all of us. 

And try as we might to put them behind us, even as adults, those same kinds of comparisons persist.  We compare our abilities, success, parenting skills, financial security, and even appearance with others regularly. 

Far too many of us define ourselves by what we're not.  

"I'm not young anymore."
"I'm not rich." 
"I'm not outgoing." 
"I'm not good-looking." 
"I'm not spiritual." 
"I'm not creative." 
"I'm not thin." 

The list can get quite long, as you can imagine.  

I read a wonderful quote by Bob Goff the other day that speaks directly to this very thing: 

We won't be distracted by comparison if we're captivated with purpose. 

That is so good.  And also challenging.  Indeed, we won't care much about comparing ourselves to others when focused on living our glorious purpose.  But finding that purpose... that's the difficult bit. 

What if I told you that your purpose in life was to be the best "you" you can be?  What if it was as simple as living into your best and truest self? 

In his excellent book Atomic Habits, author James Clear asserts that we don't have to change dramatically to become the best version of ourselves.  We don't have to upend our lives to become the people we want to be.  

All we need to do is make small changes in our thinking and acting.  By becoming 1% more like the people we want to be daily, we will soon discover the purpose we long to be captivated by.  

Clear writes: 

Every action you take is like a vote for the type of person you wish to become. No single instance will transform your beliefs, but as the votes build up, so does the evidence of your new identity. 

So, what action will you take today toward a new identity?  All it takes is a single step toward the person you want to become.  Instead of defining yourself by what you are not, try taking that small step toward becoming who you really are. 

May it be so, and may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.   


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