Monday, April 26, 2010

Imagine Your Best Self

Women of Faith:

Have you heard the song: “I can only Imagine” by Mercy Me? While it talks about “imagining God when we are called to heaven,” we should remember that we are continuously in God’s presence. And we shouldn’t only strive to be good to be saved on the last day, but we should do good to honor God’s presence every day in our lives.

So, do I ACT like God is “near” me every second of every day 24-7? I wish I could say yes, but then that would mean I was perfect and I most certainly am not a perfect person, not even close. I have the same issues as most other humans—I am selfish in wanting “me” time; I haven’t given away all of my belongings or used all my time to serve others; I haven’t quit judging others for what I think are short comings; and while I strive to love others –well, I have plenty to work on in that area and many others as well.

Sunday night we listened to a presentation by Matthew Kelly, author of the bestselling book, ‘The Rhythm of Life,’ (he’ll be in Cedar Rapids tonight and again on Weds night in Iowa City, in case anyone is interested in attending). He says, “Become the best version of yourself. This is your essential purpose. Embrace this one solitary truth and it will change your life more than anything you have ever learned. In every situation, ask yourself, which of the options before me will help me become the-best-version-of-myself.” Or as Zig Ziglar puts it, “will this action move me closer to, or farther from my goal.”

This is consistent with Peter Kreft’s book, ‘Before I go’, which has a chapter entitled “Only One Thing Necessary.” “I don’t care whether you’re rich or poor, only that you’re good. ..You don’t have to be smart,… You don’t have to be beautiful,… You don’t even have to be successful. If you were poor and stupid and ugly but good, you’d be successful. If you were rich and smart and beautiful but evil, you’d be a failure. Why? Because good is what real is, good is what God is.”

The chapter that follows says, “Step one is to stop pretending you are ‘good,’ and to stop “accepting yourself as you are.”

So, in essence, while we can only “imagine” what being with God in heaven is like, God doesn’t have to “imagine” what he wants us to be like. He tells us what He wants us to be, we are to be like Him. God wants us to be good, because we were created in his image and God is good. And none of us are “good” enough, we must continually change and continuously strive to be our “best self.”

My own plan of action is this: change myself to follow Christ’s actions by being less self centered, and more self giving; to work to serve myself less, and serve others more; to judge less and pray that more people will accept God’s call; and to live, love and work “out loud” so that the joy and happiness found through Christ will radiate through me.

So how do I “imagine” myself; what are my dreams, my visions of myself? Is it a “healthier” me (not necessarily beautiful or skinny, definitely not “perfect” in my own eyes) but healthy? Do I look at the tasks before me not as “what it will do for me;” but as “how will this help someone else?”Or is my prayer that I will make my choices to “be good” and to “be my best self.”

Dear God, “The Lord is good, His mercy endures forever.” Forgive the times when I took control of guiding my own vision, rather than listening for “Your vision.” When I have “only imagined” you at death, and forgotten that you are with me every step of the way. Thank you for reminding me of what your vision for me is; for putting the right people before me, for giving me constant reminders that “goodness” is by your standards, not mine. Help me to give You the chance to be near me every second of every day.” Guide my choices to allow me to be “the best version of myself.” Amen.

Blessings on your week.

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