What would happen if we believed in ourselves enough to fully own ourselves?
What would happen if we didn’t hold back when we do whatever we love to do?
If we loved and valued ourselves as worthy of expression then what choices would we make differently?
BUT- if I did that then I would lose business. I would lose followers. I would lose friends. I would lose money. I would lose what I go to for comfort. I would lose security. I might fail. I might lose.
YES- We will lose a lot. But if our values change we will lose things that no longer have worth to us, things we would clean out and throw away eventually anyway. It just happens a lot quicker this way. This can be for any season of our lives.
I heard a story of a missionary who was killed by the people he was attempting to befriend, Jim Elliot. Before his death he wrote “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.”
This phrase has stuck with me since I heard it in high school, and I used to approach it from spiritual sense. Give up your own ways and surrender to the ways of God. The most extreme being Jim’s own example of martyrdom. As I live my life I realize keeping spirituality separate actually limits my understanding and growth. Enter: minimalism. When I first heard of minimalism I thought it meant no color, no decoration, no personality, basically no fun.
If you think of the concept of giving what you can’t keep anyway to gain what you can’t lose then minimalism makes more sense. It’s letting go of anything you don’t need or love, letting go of whatever holds you back and isn’t healthy. If this isn’t a spiritual practice that can and should infuse the layers of our lives, the food we put into our bodies, the voices we allow to influence our beliefs and decisions, the people we spend time with, the places we spend time in, and the items we surround ourselves with (clothing, belongings, stuff).
If we are unsatisfied with where we are at in an area of our life then we need to examine what we are holding onto and why, and if we should let go. If we don’t, we will experience a disconnect from the very life we have been given to live. We unintentionally distance our “self” from the very life we are living because of this dissatisfaction.
When we are at this point it’s easy to distance ourselves from our work, our dreams, our projects, not taking full ownership of the fruits of our creative process. We fear any future failure will become permanent evidence or proof who we are is a failure. Because we are inherently creative we continue to create but we may not give ourselves permission to fully invest in our project, our work, our attempts. We hold back, filing a collection of excuses that prove the distance of our heart with our failure. I didn’t really try that hard, I didn’t have enough time to put in all the finishing touches, It’s not like I wanted but at least I did something, right? We settle for the fog of an afternoon catnap instead of plunging headlong into a full night of dreams. We distract ourselves with fleeting amusement instead of the fulfillment of deep and lasting joy.
These are fine words but I experience this struggle to connect deep in my core as an emerging writer. Even writing the words “emerging writer” seems too legitimate for what I feel like I am doing. A whole list of excuses emerge: I don’t get paid for writing, I often struggle with writing consistently, I have no writing experience, does my perspective even matter? The list goes on. So when I write I am tempted to disconnect. To write apologetically, to subtly align my words with my dissatisfaction instead of owning the story developing in my heart.
Who wants to put their heart and soul into something only to have someone glance at the result with criticism?- or even worse, a “meh.” This fear is the result of a crippled heart that is creating for others’ approval. When we are in this place we believe our value is in others’ estimation of what we do. So we create with restrictions, afraid to infuse our creation with our selves, our ideas, our preferences, because in this case our creation is not truly ours. It is for others, so we skew and slant and filter to what we think will delight the hearts of others. And when we do we may get praise but it is a praise we cannot fully own, because our creation was not fully ours. Oh yes, we did the work, but the final product bears the image of another.
In every area of our life if we aren’t being purposeful about holding on or letting go, then we aren’t taking full ownership of our lives. We miss out and the world misses out. It also begs the question, what owns us if we don’t own ourselves? If we don’t own ourselves that means something else owns us. Our stuff? Our fears? Our schedule? Our career? We have to take ownership or something else will.
What steps can you take to OWN yourself? To truly own who you were created to be?
To give what you cannot keep anyway to gain what will last?
Do yourself and the world a favor.
It’s not just that you’re worth it (and you are),
All of creation is longing for you to fully be who you were created to be.