Do you consider yourself authentic? The real deal? How much of your "you" do you actually know and grow? My friend Tracey Bianchi challenges herself, and me and you, to look a little deeper and perhaps wider at the "you" God has made us each to be. And then maybe to take a wobbly step toward being that "true you" this year.
True You This Year
By Tracey D. Bianchi
I launched my 2015 with a resolution to shape up my diet. Armed with a book on super foods that were "guaranteed to transform my life," I loaded the grocery cart with ginger root, lemons, flaxseed and all manner of leafy greens. I dragged my blender (with two broken buttons) out from the recesses of my cabinets and I started juicing. On day #2 the blender started smoking and turned out my colleagues didn't need to see the flaxseed stuck in my teeth. I gave up.
Many of us have already hopped off the resolution train (and many more of us never boarded it). The thought of carrying on with forming new routines or the decision to chase after new goals can exhaust even the most determined among us. Why? What happens to our seemingly good intentions?
For me, the desire to juice up my life was rooted in self-loathing so I was doomed before the first banana hit the blender. I was convinced my middle-age-ish body needed a makeover, that somehow my friendships and marriage would be better if I dropped a few pounds, and that I'd look more the part if I juiced. It had little to do with health or vitamins and everything to do with my belief in the lies that somehow image mattered. "Drop 10 pounds in a month!" - this sounded brilliant to me.
Life change rooted in lies will never truly transform us. My resolution was born from a belief that I was not enough and that I had to compete to keep up. Never mind that God created each of us marvelous, capable, creative beings. This truth eluded me and I suspect it may elude you too. As life chips away at us, the parts of our soul that are beautiful, creative and loved get scarred, marked up, banged up, told they are not valued or right. And slowly, over time, the "true you" God created sits buried under a heap of fear, self-loathing and exasperation.
What if we resolved to let go of the fear, competition and self-deprecating conversations that keep us from living as the people God created? What if we Sheryl Sandburged ourselves and "leaned in" to our gifts and passions? What if we let our "true you" emerge from under the pressures to conform?
Consider the habits you chase after and the change you seek. What drives these desires? Do you seek change so that you can merge better with the cultural expectations that haunt you? Or, do you seek change so that the true you can fully emerge? The former leads to broken blenders, but the latter ... it leads to life. Life to the full. True life to the fullest. Chase after the true you, nothing else matters.
Tracey Bianchi is the co-author (with Adele Calhoun) of True You: Moving Beyond Self-Doubt and Using Your Voice. She serves as the Worship and Teaching Pastor at Christ Church of Oak Brook and is a freelance writer and speaker (traceybianchi.com).