How to Become the Person You Want to Be
- Monday, February 22, 2010
Editor's Note: The following is a report on the practical applications of John Ortberg's recent book, The Me I Want to Be: Becoming God's Best Version of You, (Zondervan, 2010).
What matters most to God isn't what you do; it's who you are. So pursuing certain accomplishments in life isn't nearly as important as becoming the person God created you to be. Use your time and energy well. Focus on living up to your potential, growing into the person you really want to be - someone who's free to live with love and joy.
Here's how you can become the person you want to be:
Wake up. Important parts of you may be languishing if you're not intentionally pursuing spiritual growth. Don't let your best self lie dormant. Notice the glimpses of your potential that you sometimes see when you do something inspiring, such as being patient with a rambunctious young child or sacrificially giving to help someone in need. Realize that God wants to empower you to live at your full potential all the time.
Let go of the person that you don't want to be. Stop chasing after the versions of yourself that will only interfere with you becoming the person God intends you to be. Let go of pretense, guilt, pleasing people rather than God alone, etc.
Go with the flow. No matter how hard you may try, you can't become the person God wants you to be through your own efforts. The only way to do so is to live with God's Spirit flowing through you like a river of living water that makes you and those you relate to flourish.
Discover how you grow best. Spiritual growth doesn't happen on a "one-size-fits-all" basis. Disciples are handcrafted, not mass-produced. People learn differently, struggle with different sins, and relate to God in different ways. So take who you are into account when figuring out how you can best grow spiritually. Keep in mind what activities you most enjoy, your temperament, what ways naturally help you experience God's presence (such as serving people or spending time in nature), your learning style (visual, auditory, tactile, imaginative, etc.), hat unique set of temptations and sins you wrestle with regularly, and what season of life you're in now.
Make the most important decision of all. Decide to surrender every part of your life to God's will every day, committing to follow where He leads you with each decision you face. Choosing to surrender your own agenda to God's will is the only way you can become the person you were created to be.
Try softer instead of harder. Rather than trying harder to become a better person - which will be in vain, since you can't achieve spiritual growth through your own efforts - try a softer approach to life. Relax and focus on God's grace that's always available to you.
Let your desires lead you to God. Growing spiritually doesn't mean doing what you should do instead of what you want to do. Instead, it means coming to want to do what you should do. So allow what you naturally desire (from enjoying delicious food to a drive to achieve something meaningful through your work) to help you notice more about God's goodness and draw you closer to Him in gratitude for His gifts.
Change your mind. If you improve the way you think, you'll improve your whole life, since your thoughts lead to your attitudes and actions and shape who you are as a person. So evaluate your recurring thoughts, asking yourself what direction they're leading you in - closer to God, or farther away from Him. Monitor your mind to catch unhealthy thoughts (selfishness, bitterness, anxiousness, etc.). When you notice them, pray for the Holy Spirit to renew your mind and guide you toward thoughts of what is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy. Be careful of what messages you feed your mind. Give it a steady diet of life-giving Scripture and think critically about the messages that flow into it from sources like the media and other people in your life.
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