Early in life we think we are part of mom. Then we are part of the family, but finally if things go right, we individuate. We become our own person, understanding who we are as an individual. Our genetics, personality, environment, family of origin, character, values, priorities, morals and faith all combine to make us the person we are. Because this is a sinful and broken world, many struggle to discover, “who am I?” This question needs to be answered to make correct choices in life concerning a life mate or vocation.
What about those who grow up in less than ideal families and struggle with developing an accurate sense of self? It isn’t easy, but it is possible to overcome a broken past by allowing God to re-parent you. This is done by saturating your mind and heart in the truth of scripture, especially the scripture that speaks to how God thinks and feels about you. God will confront the lies in your belief system with His truth.
You will discover several important realities. One is there is a Designer – God, who loves you unconditionally and proved it by sending His Son to die on the cross to pay your sin debt. God did this to bring you into a relationship with Him and restore His image in each of us. Another reality is that God has designed a plan for your life, and it is the most meaningful life you can live. Your identity is found in Christ not your goals, accomplishments, job or anything external. To believe in the Designer and His design for your life will put you well on the way to knowing who you are.
Mindfulness – live in the moment
Many people think of the concept of mindfulness as some Buddhist belief. However, it is also a principle Jesus taught in Matthew 6.34 when He taught us to live in the present moment. He said to live life one day at a time.
Yesterday is history and it can’t be changed. All we can do is learn from our past mistakes and successes. Don’t dwell in the regrets of the past — move on. The past does not have to dictate our future. Negative cycles can be broken; such is the power of the cross to make each of us new creations (2 Corinthians 5.17).
Likewise we are not to be anxious about the future. All the “what ifs,” and worst case scenarios may never materialize. We can’t predict the future nor are we omnisciencent like God. The truth is life can only be lived in this present moment. It needs to be embraced, savored and enjoyed, whether good or bad. This is the only way to live and be fully alive. Take each day, move into it by feeling what life brings you and deciding what you will do with what you see, experience and feel. Do not repress, suppress, shut down, escape or block out your feelings; they are given to you by God, so you may fully experience all of life and its relationships. This doesn’t mean you can’t have future plans. Those are also made in the present. Mindfulness simply means you will be fully present in each moment of life. Your body is so your mind needs to also be.
Failure – don’t fear it
In order to achieve our full life potential, we must get rid of the fear of failure. Should we not do this, we run the risk of living all our life with the regret of never having tried something we felt passionate about. You don’t want to spend life wondering what would it have been like or how would my life be different had I tried. It is impossible to achieve our life design and potential without taking a risk of failing. One reason people fear failure is low ego strength or what we call self-esteem. They personalize the failure and it becomes, “I am a failure.” Failure is both the tuition paid and experience gained that teaches us how to succeed in life. Any person who has achieved their life potential has paid for and experienced failure.
Jesus offered us the abundant life (life in its fullest form) in John 10.10. Accepting this life and living it intentionally is how we respect this gift and minimize our life regrets. Learn to live your potential, trust God with the future and embrace the moment. This is a life well lived.
Dr. John D. Hawkins, Sr. and his son, John Jr. run Gateway Counseling Center in Boynton Beach. They can be reached by visiting gatewaycounseling.com.