Saturday, January 7, 2017

Knowing Yourself Better: Time to ask

I think it began back in August of 2016. God was definitely calling me to know who I was in Him and learn what needed to direct my heart. I didn't realize it at that time; I just knew my first two steps. They can be a little tricky, because you need to know your audience and you need to truly listen. I just know I wouldn't have gotten a good end result if I hadn't have started here.

First we're going to talk to others. 

I realized that sometimes my own view of myself is off. While I think I know my strengths and weaknesses, those on the outside know them differently. I wont say better, but you know as well as I do that others can see us clearer than we can. We are colored by what we believe our motives are, and they see our actions for what they are. Sometimes people will assume negative motives, however, so you can't trust all people. You have to really talk to God and ask Him who you should ask. Choose wisely. You want people you can trust, have been around you for a while, have seen you on a regular basis, and who will be honest with you. Then once you have the list of 4-6 people ask them two questions. (1) What are my strengths as you see them? (2) What do you see are my weaknesses?

Now, I liked the general questions and giving them space to answer as they saw fit, but I did have a few who came back and asked for tighter guidelines. It's up to you how you feel that should be handled. I responded that I needed general, big picture, wide answers based off of specific situations they have experienced with me. Believe it or not, that was a good answer.

When you receive those lists condense and write them out on one page with the strengths on one side and the weaknesses on the other side. And please, for all things good and beautiful, do not get defensive, angry, or hurt by the answers you receive. You are trying to get a better picture of who you are, you have asked these people for their responses, and they are trying to help you. Take a deep breath, and suck up what you don't like, but take notice of it. 

Second you are going to spend some time with God. 

I know it seems backwards, but you can do this while you are waiting for the others to get back to you. I am not setting more importance in what others say at all. I just know there is value in what others see.

Letting God define you and what He says about you is the most important thing ever. So, take some time, get in a quiet space, if you need music I suggest instrumentals, and sit and ask God who He says you are. Write down the words or verses that come to you, even if they don't make a lot of sense or if you don't understand them. Trust things will be revealed as the process is worked through. 

You may do this more than one time. I can't tell you the number of times I sat listening to God waiting for words to drop in my heart. My goal was to do it more than one day so that if my mood or attitude colored what I heard it wouldn't color the entire project. I wanted to hear clearly, but this is not the time to judge what you hear, as I said. Just fill the paper with what you receive and we'll come back to it later.

A third step along the way.

This step I didn't design but others did for me, and it's a combination of the two above. Ask a select few, possibly different than the first group, and ask them to ask God how He sees you. They have to be willing to pray and listen just as you did above. They may be more open to receiving words for you than you are for yourself. We sometimes put parameters on ourselves and throw words out without even realizing we are doing it. I know I got words from my friends I would never have thought were actually for me, but once they said them they were written down and added to the mix.

A final note this weekend.

While I am taking you through the steps within one month, it was a much longer process for me to go through. It took me nearly half a year to work through all these steps, though part of that was because I didn't know where I was going to end up when I started. If it takes you longer than a week to work through this part that's okay. Come back to read next week though because much of what I am going to list out to you can be done simultaneously. 

Be brave through this, because it can be scary hearing how others see you. Be humble as you receive the positives, because you will also receive the negatives. Be open because if you are defensive to what you are hearing you're like a rejected AI contestant who refuses to hear the truth. Be careful because you want to make sure the people you go to have a heart FOR you. 

I'm excited for you to learn more about yourself as you go through this process. I trust God will be revealing much for you as He did for me, and I am praying for you as you work through this process. Some of it may not be easy, but it will be good.