Friday, March 15, 2019

More than a new paint job

What does authenticity look like to you? When I see a classic  or historical era automobile restored to all the beauty it once had, parts gleaming and engine purring away without a sputter, I know someone has been hard at work. The work of restoration has cost them hours of endless polishing and patient fine tuning, but those parts that needed a little more restorative work, such as the finely sewn hand-tufted seats catch my attention the most. That level of intricate detail - the investment of such time and effort - this is what moves my heart as I behold the beauty of the whole. I wonder if God takes such a view of us? Looking at all those areas where he has invested such time and effort into creating every intricate detail and restoring it ever so carefully to the way we were designed.

Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart...
(Jeremiah 1:5)

God wants us to be authentic. There is nothing more disappointing than to see someone trying to be something they are not. Try as they might, when what they are trying to be is not authentic, it just is not very convincing. They are trying too hard and what is coming across is just not all that 'real'. The 'work' might be good, but is it authentic? We are uniquely made - fashioned for a specific purpose. We have unique talents - mine do not match yours and vice versa. Even identical twins have a unique make-up of personality, temperament, and talents. So, why is it that we are often struggling to be something that we are not? It is really quite simple - we have never accepted our unique make-up and we are resisting the 'restorative' touch of the one who knows how we were made in the first place!

The uniqueness of each human is not to be mocked, envied, or feared. Yet many of us are not happy with our uniqueness - not very comfortable in our own skin at all. Not accepting the unique way we are made is really a complaint against God! We are saying we know better than God - that he did not create us as we should have been created. The more we find fault with the 'original', the less we will want the restorative power of God to work in our lives - because we aren't going to be content with ourselves no matter what God does! If we are to understand the unique call (purpose) upon our lives, we need to understand the make-up of our souls (our mind, will and emotions). We often find answers where we least expect to find them - when we examine the right stuff! It is when we stop focusing on what we see as "wrong" in our lives and begin to focus on what God sees as "possible" through our lives, we begin to get a revelation into the purpose of our make-up.

I am not a salesperson - I really don't like to have to 'sell' something to someone who may or may not really want it. I am good at some things that others aren't and I appreciate they are good at things I am not all that interested or good at, such as selling stuff.  When I explore how my mind works - analytical, organized, deliberate - I begin to see the possibilities God has created within my life and the ways he wishes to use me in this world. When I explore how my will is directed - focused, determined, and structured - I see even more possibilities. Add to those the way my emotions are formed - reasonable, not reactionary, balanced - I begin to get a picture of what my make-up really is.  I also begin to see just how much restorative work God may have to do in some of those areas of my make-up that got a little damaged by the wear and tear of time and choices!

I begin to see that I can function well in a couple of different areas - a good leader (balanced, fair, organized); a structured teacher (analytical, organized, focused); a reliable friend (true, loving, committed). The list could go on, but I think you might get the picture by now. I did not have to go to a lot of classes or spend months in counseling to figure this out. I simply asked God to show me my make-up and where he needs to focus his attention in order to make all that 'make-up' he created original needs in order to be fully restored to the brilliance he sees. Ask him to reveal how your mind functions - what is it that you seem to get the very first time someone explains it; what comes naturally for you when you first see it. Rely upon him to show you what it is that you have a will to do, to be involved in. But...don't forget to ask him what emotions are both your strength and your weakness. Learning what we are strong in is important - but also learning what we have a weakness toward can keep us from many a wrong pursuit! Authentic people please God! Learn what it is that makes you authentic and step out in the freedom of being who you really are! Just sayin!

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