Encouragement for Today - May. 18, 2011


Renee Swope

May 18, 2011

Becoming the Real Me
Renee Swope

"For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb." Psalm 139:13 (NIV)

What do you love to do? If finances were unlimited and failure was unlikely, what would be your dream?

The facilitator of our team-building activity asked our small group to answer these questions. I didn't have an answer. So I decided to start praying we'd run out of time before it got to me. But just in case I had to answer, I listened to everyone else describe their dreams, hoping to get ideas.

One wanted to be the first female president of the United States. Another friend said she'd always wanted to sing in a Christian rock band. I knew I was in trouble.

Here I was, 32-years-old at the time, and I didn't know who I was or what my dreams were. Eventually everyone looked at me for a response. I stumbled over my words. Then I finally admitted I didn't really know what I loved to do.

I didn't have a dream. I'd never taken time to think about or answer those kinds of questions. Instead, I had always tried to be who others wanted or needed me to be. But honestly, I wasn't very good at it. I often had this uneasy feeling in my heart and a sense of just not being happy. And I was a constant candidate for burn out.

I wasn't living out the truth held in our key verse today: "[God] created my inmost being; [He] knit me together in my mother's womb." (Psalm 139:13, NIV)

I was not designed to be who others expected me to be, or even wanted me to be. I was created to become all that God planned for me to be. But I was lost in the process of my becoming.

After I fumbled around looking for an answer during our team-building time, our facilitator encouraged me to ask God what His dreams were for my life.

I took her advice and started the process of becoming the "real me" who had gotten buried in the busyness of life and people pleasing.

As I read books that talked about discovering our passions, gifts and personality traits, I started to identify what I liked. I recognized strengths that came natural for me, and learned what I needed emotionally to encourage my heart.

For the first time, I realized there was an important reason I was who I was — with my passionate preferences and mixed bag of emotions. Instead of wanting to be like women I knew and admired, I sensed God wanted to use the unique way He made me.

Isn't it easy to neglect ourselves to meet the needs of everyone around us, and call it self-sacrifice? It sounds godly. But in doing so we risk shutting down a place in our soul where God's dreams and gifts are waiting to be revealed.

So, how well do you know the real you? Have you ever taken time to think about what you like to do? What would make your heart come alive if you had the confidence and resources to do it?

Although it might feel self-seeking, it's actually God-seeking to take time to get to know the woman He created you to be. Remember God had a plan in mind when He made you. When you surrender your unique passions and personality to Him, God will use them to guide you towards His dreams for your life.

Lord, I want to know the woman You had in mind when You created me. I don't want to grow old and never know Your purpose for my life. Show me Your dreams for me so I can offer what You want to give to those around me. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
This devotion is taken from chapter 8 of Renee Swope's upcoming book: A Confident Heart: How to Stop Doubting Yourself & Live in the Security of God's Promises. To pre-order your copy, click here.

Shaped with Purpose Workbook and CD: A Practical Guide to Discovering Who You Are by Renee Swope

Read more about getting to know the real you, and share your thoughts/questions on Renee's blog today. She's also giving away a Confident Heart gift pack. Click here to enter to win.

Application Steps:
In her personality books, Florence Littauer describes four personality types. Which one or two do you relate to most?

• Phlegmatic: Desires PEACE
Needs times of quiet, reduced stress, feeling of worth, relaxation

• Choleric: Desires CONTROL
Needs appreciation for achievements, opportunity for leadership, and participation in decisions

• Sanguine: Desires FUN
Needs attention, affection, approval, activity with people

• Melancholy: Desires PERFECTION
Needs sensitivity, stability, support, space, silence

Learn more about discovering your God-given personality and purpose on Renee's blog.

Reflect on today's verse, "For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb." (Psalm 139:13, NIV)

Do I believe God created me with unique traits and dreams? Do I know what they are?

Do I like who God created me to be? Why or why not?

Power Verses:
Psalm 139:14-15, "I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth," (NIV)

Psalm 139:1, "O, Lord, you have searched me and you know me." (NIV)

© 2011 by Renee Swope. All rights reserved.

Proverbs 31 Ministries
616-G Matthews-Mint Hill Road
Matthews, NC 28105

Originally published Wednesday, 18 May 2011.