Thursday, 13 April 2017

The Fate of Familiarity

We know ourselves well, don’t we? We know what time we prefer to get up in the morning and when we really should go to bed. We know our favourite foods, how often we actually floss and what the true number on the scale is. We can pick out our top shows on Netflix and how we react when a friend bails. We know our history, our likes, and we’ve literally walked many miles in our own shoes. 

It’s safe to say that you are probably the greatest expert on your own life. 

But what happens when familiarity becomes our greatest fault? When we begin to become so accustomed to ourselves that we lose the ability to see ourselves as gifted, capable and having something to offer to the world? 

We can grow so familiar with our abilities that we begin to think that everyone shares these same talents. We start to see the way we think and how we behave as the norm, as though everyone in the same situation would do the same thing. We can downplay our own uniqueness and expertise. We can set aside our experiences as underwhelming or not particularly important. 

Do you ever find yourself doing this? I do. 

I often find that I disqualify myself from opportunities before I even give them a shot. I immediately assume that I don’t really have anything unique to offer. Unless it is 100% within my current ability, something that I know I will succeed at, I find myself passing it up and assuming someone else will be more qualified, more talented, or more interesting for that position or task. 

Perhaps you have been given the opportunity to share your story and yet you feel like you really don’t have much to share. You begin to downplay anything that has happened to you and start to look to others who have more ‘exciting’ pasts. 

Or maybe someone is seeking advice from you and you feel in over your head. You haven’t had that exact experience so you must not be able to give anything to this person. You start to back off and avoid deep conversations so that you aren’t put in a position of feeling incapable. 

It could be that you are looking for a job and every job posting that pops up seems to need qualifications that you don’t quite have. It doesn’t matter that you’ve worked hard for an education or that you’ve gained experience in a wide variety of things. You automatically assume someone else would be better for the position and besides, the thought of being rejected is worse than not applying at all. 

It seems that the underlying reality of growing too familiar with yourself is that you can begin to be afraid that you will not be good enough. You might get rejected, you could disappoint someone, or you might not have the right skill set. So what happens if that is true? What does it actually mean about you as a person? What does that do to your identity? 

I struggle with these questions. Some days I’ve grown so familiar with my experiences, my education and my training that I feel that I have nothing to offer in addition to what I’m already doing. I am fearful that I will face rejection so therefore I stay in the safety of my comfort zone, I avoid taking risks that make me vulnerable. 

If you are looking for real, that’s about as real as I can get. But I bet I’m not alone in this. 

I wonder what it might look like though if I begin to take my view off of myself and begin to put it on Christ who works and lives in me? What if I stopped looking at my weaknesses and began to look at his strengths? What if I stopped seeing the possibility of closed doors and instead began seeing that God will open the right doors? What if I started recognizing a ‘no’ for one thing as a ‘yes’ for something else? 

What if I actually leaned into God’s voice and started actually trusting him?

You see, when we begin to look to God instead of ourselves, we can start to acknowledge him as our maker. He is the one who has set us apart and has given us the talent, experience and knowledge we have. He has placed us in the space we occupy for a purpose. 

The world begins to become a less scary place as we start to simply take the next step in our race marked out for us. When our identity is found in Christ, the rejections that were once seen as detrimental are now simply a piece of the journey. When we are in Christ we become stabilized in ourselves. 

The familiar no longer has the fate of stagnancy but rather becomes fresh and new. Our world grows larger, our perspective greater. The possibilities become endless and we are energized to seek out what he has for us. 

God is greater than your insecurity. He is bigger than your failures. He brings peace to your fears. 

So lean in on him. Don’t let familiarity lead you to a fate of disqualification and complacency but rather let God propel you into a life of possibility. 

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