I was turned inward, operating in survival mode, and I had been living with no capacity to be aware of who I was or what I liked. This light bulb moment began my journey of self-discovery to understand who I was and who God created me to be.
Dinnertime arrived and leftovers were on the menu. As I was taking various foods out of the refrigerator, I began asking my young adult daughters which foods they wanted for dinner. I knew that some of the girls had favorites or preferences and would want certain foods. “What do you want to eat, Mom?” asked my youngest daughter. It was a light bulb moment for me as I realized that I not only had no preference for the food I ate, but I also could not tell you anything that I liked. At that point in my life, I had been in a caregiver role for several years with my husband’s illness and my daughter’s serious injuries from being hit by an 18-wheeler. Helping with activities for daily living and driving to the doctor, physical therapy and trauma counseling appointments were my main focus. I was turned inward, operating in survival mode, and I had been living with no capacity to be aware of who I was or what I liked. This light bulb moment began my journey of self-discovery to understand who I was and who God created me to be. I wanted to understand what made me, me and why I did the things I did. The more I learned about myself, the deeper my relationship with my Creator, God, became.
I define self-discovery as simply noticing or becoming aware (self-aware) of what you think and why, what you feel and why, and what you do and why, without judgment. To discover is to uncover or find something. Uncovering or finding who you are as God’s beloved child is exciting! Let’s examine why self-discovery is important for Christians.
The most important reason I believe we need to practice self-awareness is that we are made in the image of God and our bodies are a dwelling place of God (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). Each one of us is created uniquely by our Heavenly Father. We are spiritual beings, and when we make time for self-discovery, we can better understand who God is and who He created us to be. Practically speaking, this means having your needs met, knowing your strengths and weaknesses, having purpose in your life, and scheduling your time around what you value.
Where do you begin your journey of self-discovery?
1. Personality tests are a fun place to begin.
One of the easiest ways to begin this journey of self-discovery is to take a personality test. This is a fun exercise in learning more about yourself. As you explore these tools, remember that these are starting points to understanding yourself. Don’t let the results you receive box you into a certain category or personality style where you erroneously believe that an unhealthy habit or lifestyle choice is a result of being just the way you are and that you cannot grow and change. You are still capable of personal growth. There are a myriad of personality tests available, and even within the websites listed below, you will find other types of assessments that you may enjoy exploring.
Myers-Briggs Type Indicator - indicates preferences in how you perceive the world and make decisions.
Love Languages - Learning which love language is most important to you tells a lot about the way you give love to others, as well as what is most meaningful to you when receiving love from others.
2. Notice your thoughts, your emotions, and your surroundings.
To notice means to become aware of by observing or paying attention to something. In order to notice, we have to be intentional as we go about our busy days to pause and simply become aware of what’s going on internally and externally. How are you doing emotionally? Where are you spiritually? What’s going on physically? Throughout the Bible, we see examples of God noticing joys, pain, sorrows, and the hair on our heads (Matthew 10:30). Jesus also noticed the birds and flowers and called attention to them in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 6:26-29). As you notice your thoughts, your emotions, and your surroundings, begin to explore why you are feeling a certain way or thinking a certain way without judging yourself. You may want to ask yourself, “What’s that about? What’s bringing that forward?”
Holy Noticing by Charles Stone
“Holy noticing is a way to bring intentional awareness in the present moment to what and who is around us and what we’re doing, thinking and feeling - all from God’s perspective.” The author shares practical ways to learn and practice a mindful lifestyle from a Christian perspective.
Finding Me Assessment - Discover where you currently are emotionally, spiritually, and physically by answering these questions taken from Finding Me: A Woman’s Guide to Learning More About Herself.
3. Spend time with your Creator.
God created you. He knows everything about you. “You shaped me first inside, then out; you formed me in my mother’s womb. Body and soul, I am marvelously made! You know me inside and out, you know every bone in my body; You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit, how I was sculpted from nothing into something.” When we read these verses from The Message translation in Psalm 139:13,15, doesn’t it make sense that we should go to our Creator to learn more about ourselves and who He created us to be? “It’s in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for.”(Ephesians 1:11, MSG)
Prayer - talk to God and ask Him to show you who He created you to be; listen for God to speak to you.
Bible - Read the book of Ephesians and start a list of who you are as a child of God: I am chosen, I am redeemed, I am forgiven, etc.
4. Discover your 5 core needs and your 5 core values.
Needs are what you must have to be satisfied in life. These needs are not referring to basic needs like food, water, air, and shelter. Your core needs reflect who you are in your being. These needs are things like duty, freedom, honesty, order, peace, safety, and more. When you know what your needs are, it can bring insight and understanding into why you act and react in certain ways.
Values are what are most important to you in the way you live and work. Your core values reflect your doing. They guide your choices, your actions, and where you spend your time. Values reveal how you express yourself after your needs are met. When you know what your values are, you can use them to make decisions about how to live your life in the most God-glorifying way.
Discovering your core needs and core values is a valuable exercise in learning more about yourself. It can also give you language to use in your relationships with others. A Christian life coach can walk you through this discovery process and guide you in exploring action steps you might need to take to have your needs met and live your life based on your Christian values.
Needs and Values Discovery - Discover your 5 core needs and 5 core values through an assessment and virtual one-on-one coaching call to discuss your results.
Once you begin discovering amazing things about yourself and who God created you to be, you will be inspired to continue learning more.
The more you learn about yourself, the more you will be in awe of and fall in love with your Heavenly Father. Some of the many benefits of self-discovery include personal growth, purpose in what you do, meaning to your life, fulfillment, confidence, peace, and joy. Knowing about yourself also gives you compassion for others and a new perspective on how others see the world - each one through their own lens according to how they were wired by God.
To know yourself fully is a lifelong process. May you become a lifelong learner of who God created you to be.
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Renee Bethel, author of Finding Me: A Woman’s Guide to Learning More About Herself is a Professional Christian Life Coach and a Certified Gospel Centered Enneagram Coach. She helps Christian Female Entrepreneurs and Leaders do their own inner work so they are equipped for building relationships and impact within the Body of Christ. Join her free Facebook community.