In a recent post to the Jack’s Winning Words blog, pastor Freed used this quote – “Whoever you become, whatever you make yourself into, that is who you always were.” (Tara Westover)
Sometimes it’s just about realizing your potential by working to educate yourself. However, sometimes it may be about freeing yourself from the you that others have assigned to you – the stereotype or the generalization that others have applied to you that you came to believe were true. The limitations or categorization imposed by others that we accept for ourselves become the prison within which we dwell.
Sometimes our prisons are self-imposed, often caused by fears or doubts. We don’t try to go beyond the limits that we set for ourselves, because it is safer and more comfortable to stay within the confines of the world that we have imposed upon ourselves. We settle into the routine and “normal”, not so much content with our lot, but, rather, afraid of the consequences of failing at something new or different. We know that there is someone else hiding within us, but we keep them hidden away and suppressed.
Maybe that person is in a completely different profession or job than we have now. Maybe that person is happily married, unlike the shy and lonely single person that we now see in the mirror. Maybe that person is the inspiring leader that we always wanted to be. Perhaps that person is friendly and outgoing, with many friends, and not the withdrawn loner that we’ve become. If we heed the words of today’s quote, we know that the person that we often dream of becoming is in there already, just waiting to be turned loose.
So, how do you let out the person who is hiding inside you? It starts with admitting to yourself that you are not as happy with the person that you are today as you would like to be. That’s not saying that the person that you are is bad, just that it is not what you want to be or think you could be.
The University of Phoenix is running a commercial right now about a mighty dragon who never learned to fly (never reached its potential). The gist of the story in the ad is that the woman in the commercial is that dragon who has obviously sacrificed herself to the task of taking care of her young son. She seems to be trapped in a life that is much less than she could have been, working in a job that is less than she could have achieved. The ad points to an education through the University of Phoenix as her way out of this self-imposed prison. The imagery of the Phoenix bird rising from the ashes supports and reinforces the idea of releasing the person within.
Certainly, educating or re-educating oneself may be an important step in the process of realizing the potential of the person that is within. It is a break with the past and may be the key to the future. However, it is not the first step. The first step is taken when one resolves to make a change, to find that person within and do something about freeing them. It does not always involved making such dramatic life changes as pursuing a new career. It can be a change in attitude towards life. It may be a commitment to be a better husband or wife or maybe a better parent. In most cases, that will mean that the focus of your life changes from internal to external – caring more about others than about yourself.
The University of Phoenix ad asks and answers a question that will undoubtedly come up when considering a life change – who will take care of the obligations that I have now (the children, the bills and other day-to-day things)? The answer in the commercial is both simplistic and true – you will.
Perhaps, I should have included a step before step one – asking for God’s help. Remember that we have been told in the Bible that God will not give us greater challenges than we can handle.
“God is faithful, and he will not let you be tested beyond your strength but with your testing he will also provide the way out so that you may be able to endure it” (1 Corinthians 10:13)
Paul did not say that you would never fail, nor did he say that it would be easy. He said that God will give you the strength to endure the tests that you encounter and that there will always be a way out.
Maybe God was always in there, too; suppressed and hidden within you alongside the person that you could be. Let them both out and your life will change forever.
Who’s hiding inside of you? Ask God to help you let that person out to fly like a mighty dragon. It was in you all along.