If you were to watch yourself from a distance, what would you see? If the thoughts inside your head were no longer the driving factor, no longer justifying your every move, or layering your actions with emotion, what would you see watching yourself live this life? Would you be proud of what you saw?
My husband and I watch a Netflix documentary type show called Last Chance University. The show follows troubled college football players who have lost their position at a division one school, and are now playing for a community college as their last chance at redemption. These are super talented athletes who have gotten on the wrong path in life, now fighting their way back for another opportunity to play.
At the beginning of the 2nd season, the head coach was interviewed about the first season of the show. He said he watched himself on TV and he didn’t like who he saw. He wasn’t proud of how he talked. He was embarrassed by who he had shown up as, and the cameras had caught it all. So he came back for another season as his own act of redemption. He wanted to be someone different this time, someone better. Now when he curses at his players, he makes himself drop and do 5 pushups.
There was a time when I too saw who I had become and I didn’t like what I saw. So, I sat out on changing it.
I began my journey to becoming who I was created to be about 12 years ago. I met my mentor and he challenged me to read the right books and be proactive in my own life. One book in particular changed me. It’s one of the only book I have kept through all of our moves and travels. The book is “Be Who You Want and Have What You Want” by Chris Prentiss. Now, let me be honest, I don’t agree with everything in this book. It’s more “universe” centered than God centered, however I’ve learned I can appreciate what there is to learn and let the rest fall away.
At the end of each chapter in the book, there was a challenge to implement the teachings. I like challenges. I’m a doer. Theories and ideas do not impact me, I need to experience it to understand it. If you’re the same, here’s a game changing challenge for you. Throughout this day, see yourself from a distance. Observe yourself as you go through your day, without excuses or justifications, no backstories or motives, just watch.
Easy enough. So, after reading the chapter, I took on that challenge for the day. I couldn’t believe what I saw. I saw a mother of 3 elementary aged children who was too busy to stop and listen. I saw a wife who was rushed and generally self-centered on what she had to do without concern of what her husband had on his plate. I heard myself. Oh gosh, I heard myself. I was a nagging, critical, negative, demanding drill sergeant at home, and sweet as honey to complete strangers in public. Why? Because I was more concerned with what others thought of me than what my family received from me.
Much like the coach of Last Chance University seeing himself in season 1 and wanting to change it, I saw myself fully for the first time and I wanted another chance to be someone different. This is not who I was created to be.
What would you see my sister? If you observed your every action and heard your every word from an outsiders perspective, would it align with who you want to be and how you want to live?
We’re not bad people … we’re drifting people. We got a little off course somewhere along the way and without recognizing it and correcting it, we’ve drifted way off course totally living out of alignment with who God created us to be.
Jesus said in Matthew 24:4 “See that no one leads you astray.”
Have we been led astray? And, have we been doing the leading? Have we led ourselves down this path of living below our potential and becoming a lesser than version of who we should be? The answer for many of us, including myself, is yes. Yes, I’ve been led astray, I’m off course, I’m not who I could be, who I want to be fully, and I’ve been the one doing the leading. Jesus said see that NO ONE leads you astray, no one including ourselves. Stand in front of that mirror and look yourself in the eyes … hey you … you’re not leading me astray anymore. You’re ruining my life and that stops now!
But here’s the thing, God still knows what he put inside of you. He is fully aware of the potential he placed within you. He still sees in full color the life he had in mind when he created you, AND HE KNOWS THE WAY BACK!!!!!! The way back is just a little correction, and that little correction will change the direction of your boat and eventually get you back on course.
You may be mad at your husband. And your anger may be 100% justified. Oh, he deserves your cold shoulder. He earned your rolled eyes and head shake. BUT TAKE A LOOK AT YOURSELF HONEY, DOES THAT LOOK GOOD ON YOU? He may deserve it, but is that who you want to be?
Your kids may be wild little banshees with messy bedrooms and foul attitudes. Okay, been there, I remember that season. The season where everything is a fight. It’s a fight to get them to eat their dinner, a fight to get them to brush their teeth, a fight to get them to go to bed at night, then a fight to get them to wake up in the morning. I remember full on meltdowns over ponytails that weren’t high enough and jeans that were too short overnight. And I remember the day of that challenge and I saw myself being inpatient and frustrated. I saw myself yelling as they got out of the car and walked into school. I saw myself greet them at the door with negativity and a list of all they were doing wrong. And I was ashamed.
Now with all 3 kids grown and gone, do you know what I would give for a school day morning of chaos? Do you know what I would give for the empty bedroom to have life in it again? Perspective my sister, perspective.
Have we drifted? Have we wandered our way into becoming a second rate version of who we could be, who we were created to be, and who we still can be? The only way we change anything is by first recognizing we want to change.
Today, observe yourself from a distance. Don’t try to be on your best behavior because you know you’re watching, just be aware of how you typically show up for work, how you typically react to traffic, how you treat strangers and how you treat your family. Listen closely to your words and even more importantly your tone. For one full day, see yourself.
Then, if there’s anything you don’t like, remember you are fully empowered to change it.
We will end today with this scripture from Titus 2: 11-14
“God’s readiness to give and forgive is now public. We’re being shown how to turn our backs on a godless, indulgent life, and how to take on a God-filled, God-honoring life. This new life is starting right now. He offered himself as a sacrifice to free us from a dark, rebellious life into this good, pure life, making us a people he can be proud of, energetic in goodness.”
May we see what needs to change today, then may we be empowered to change it into a life that we can be proud of, and God can be proud of.