Who is making you? I heard this question asked last summer and it has stuck with me. At least once a week it goes through my head. Who is making you?
This question was asked during a sermon. Pastor Tim Zuniga was asking the church congregation to think about the things and people in their lives and the situations they put themselves in and then think about how those things are “making” them.
My brain has gone down a million rabbit trails with this question. I’ll spare you and share only one of them right now.
We tend to think that we are self made. Nobody is going to make us do anything. Nobody is going to make us believe anything. We make our own molds, choose our own paths, our own destinies. The problem is, we don’t seek our own path. We are being molded, glazed, thrown in a kiln, placed in a cart and strolled along by everything around us. Family, friends, culture, media, etc.
We are in graduation season right now. What are some of the things you hear at nearly every graduation ceremony you attend?
“You can be anything you want to be.” “Don’t let anybody tell you you can’t.” “Follow your passion.” “Change your world!”
Everyone gets emotional and claps “Yes, that’s right! You do what is in your heart and go change your world!” The graduates walk out of the auditorium into the arms of loving family and friends and are promptly encouraged to go find a job that makes a bunch of money and has an impressive title. Maybe not in so many words but that’s the underlying message.
Really? Let’s think about the people that have changed our world as we know it. How many of them started out making fist-fulls of money? Or had impressive titles? How many of them even had the thought of making loads of money as their motivator? I’d venture to guess not very many. The driving force in their success was their passion to see if what they were imagining could come to life.
How do we get there? How do we find what we truly love and pursue that without being hindered by what our culture or the people around us think of it? You know where I have to go with this…
I love Jesus. I think he’s super cool and awesome. And…he knows us, our talents and our purpose, soooo, I think he’d be a really good source to go to to find who we are.
Yes, there are people that have followed their passion and pursued their dreams with everything they have and have done so without following Jesus or asking for his guidance. And, they have been very successful. These are my thoughts on that;
We all have an inner voice, conscience, intuition, gut feeling, however you’d like to refer to it. Aaron and I have started calling it a nudge. That feeling is the one that says to write that song, paint that picture, start that company, help that person, etc, etc. It’s the feeling that doesn’t go away until you’ve done that thing and, if you don’t do it, will bother you for the rest of your life for not trying.
Some of us have been hurt so bad in this life that we have buried our passions and talents deep down. Maybe because we’ve been ridiculed. Maybe because we were told we’d never survive trying to make a living doing it. Or, maybe we’re just flat out too scared. We have become wonderfully adept at ignoring the nudges and listening to reason.
One of my favorite authors is C.S Lewis. Our children have a dramatized version of The Chronicles of Narnia. One of my favorite parts is in Voyage of the Dawn Treader. Eustace is a selfish, hateful person. He finds a dragon’s lair, sees that the dragon is dead, and is thrilled because the dragon’s lair is full of treasure and it can be all his. He falls asleep on the treasure and when he wakes up he has become the dragon. He weeps over what he has become and soon the lion, Aslan, comes beside him and tells him he needs to take that dragon skin off. Eustace immediately starts scratching at his skin and layers of it fall off, but no matter how much he scratches he can’t get to the final layer to be out of the skin. Aslan then tells him he’ll have to let him do it. So Eustace subjects himself to the claws of the lion. It hurts horribly when Aslan tears into the skin, but it comes off, Eustace is told to bathe and from then on he is a different boy. He has moments where he slips into acting like he once had but over all he is changed.
That’s what we need to be willing to let Jesus do to us. For myself, I have been terrified of letting him make me into what he knows I should/can be. What if I don’t like what I’m really supposed to be? What if he takes my favorite part of me away?
For the last year he has been stripping things away from my life. I won’t go into detail here, (basically I’d have to write a book to get it all out) but it has been the hardest, scariest, yet most exciting year of my life. I often say to my family, “I wish we could have a picture of what my “heart” looked like last year compared to this year. I think that’s the only way people will understand.” We finally have direction on what we are supposed to be doing at this point in life. It’s not anywhere we thought we’d be but we’re very excited! Because of all the stripping away that has happened we don’t have fear of not being successful or of what people think of us. It sneaks up every now and then but it’s not constant. We find rest in knowing that we have begun to acknowledge and follow those nudges and God is leading us where we need to be.
Let God take all that junk from you. You might not even see it as junk at the time, but let him take it and you’ll realize how much lighter you feel. It’s not the most enjoyable process in the world but if you trust him you’ll be so happy in the end. Start to follow that inner voice the one that says to quit that job and start your own business, invent something, write a song, write a book, open a homeless shelter, whatever it is that keeps coming to your mind and nudging you. Yes, some people are going to think you’re a lunatic and you’ve completely lost it, but not everyone. There will be people watching that are envious that you’ve broken free of the culture/society mold and are now confident in who you are and what your purpose is. They may even try to cut you down. The reality is, people need you to succeed. They need to see that being who you really are is not a scary thing. That pursuing something and “failing” is not the end of the world. You simply hop back up and go at it another way.
Will you let God make you who you truly are? Will you be brave enough to place yourself at his mercy? To stay there when things start being stripped away that you thought were good things? Listen to that still small voice, follow those nudges. You’ll find peace and rest in the middle of very unlikely circumstances. Just when you feel like giving up something or someone will come along that gives you hope again. Staying in the paws of the lion, having your dragon skin stripped away is the scariest/safest place to be.