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, and you could see yourself from a 6 foot distance living your life, what would you see? Would you be proud of what you saw?
Imagine a reality show made on your life. A film crew that followed you through your ordinary days and caught everything. Then imagine they didn’t edit it in any way, and just let it play. Imagine sitting and watching that. Would you like you?
For most of us, we cringe over the sound of our own voice in a recording. We don’t like the way we sound, and I bet it runs deeper than that. If we could really see ourselves, would we like how we’re living and who we’re living as?
My husband and I used to 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 set out on changing it. Changing how I lived to be more in alignment with who God created me to be.
I began my journey to intentionally becoming more of who I am created to be about 15 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 fade to gray.
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, this is a game changing challenge.
Here’s the challenge that truly changed my life: 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 sargent 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 outsider’s 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.
Anytime you’re living out of alignment with who God designed you to be, it doesn’t feel good. And guess what, it’s not supposed to feel good. You’re not supposed to pop a pill just to make that feeling go away, you’re supposed to obey the warning signs and change something.
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 could 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!
We wonder why we don’t feel good, why we lack energy, why we’re generally dissatisfied with life … We’re not living it as we’re intended to. Of course we wouldn’t like watching ourselves from a distance.
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 with his epic show of jackwagon-ery. 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 distracted and disconnected and oblivious to how unavailable I was.
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? 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.
At the end of the day, play it back as if a reality TV crew had caught it all on film. Watch it.
Do you like her? Do you like the way she’s living? If there’s anything that makes you cringe, take that as a que from the Holy Spirit that this is an area that has been led astray and you need to bring it back in!
If there’s anything about who you’re showing up as that you don’t like, remember you are fully empowered to change it.
Titus 2: 11-14 “For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearance of the glory of our great God and Savoir Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.”
God is training us to renounce living in ways we can’t be proud of. He’s showing us how to be zealous for good works. And honey, good works aren’t just building orphanages in Haiti. Good works are calming your crazy and showing up with patience in the chaos. Good works are treating your family as good as you would treat a stranger. Good works are speaking in ways we wouldn’t be ashamed of if we were to watch the replay. Good works are doing the right thing even when absolutely no one would know.
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.
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