I have been thinking a lot about some conversations I had with an old friend, a long time ago now, about being defined. The conclusion was we can either be defined by the world, or by God. I want to explore both of those. By being defined by the world, it would be by the things we have, by what clothes we wear, by having the most, the best and the beautiful is the desired outlook. I like to think of this as being defined by the “natural man”. By being defined by God, it would be our soul, our relationship with Him, the true desires of our hearts, and our willingness to trust Him.
I began thinking about how I could bring these two more in line with each other. And then I was reminded of a scripture I know in the Book of Mormon. It comes from Mosiah where a King/Prophet is telling his people his last words to them.
19 For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father.
|-daughter/son of royalty||-car -clothes|
|-spiritual gifts||-house -money|
|-knowledge of truth||-body type/size|
|-desires of heart||-charisma|
|-peaceful and safe||-comparison to others|
|-better than I think I am||-never good enough|
|-unique, no comparison needed||-criticism is at the core|
|-infinite potential||-no perfection ever reached|
|-takes me where I am, builds me up and allows me to learn||-scared|
Do I want to be in the middle? No, not really. The natural man, or the carnal man, is an enemy to God. Trying to be defined in the middle of the world and God isn’t comfortable, and it never will be. How can I see myself through God’s eyes (and see others the same way) and put off that natural man? Go back to the scripture above…I need to become as a child…submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, and willing to submit. This hits me hard. How many times as a parent to I inflict MY will on my kids and really they have NO CHOICE? Most of the time they are willing to submit to me (going to the store, sitting in the school pick up line, eating their dinner) am I as willing?
I need to YIELD my heart to God. To yield means “to give up and cease resistance or contention” according to my friend Merriam-Webster. There is an action required on our part to yield. A couple more scriptures, if you want to look them up, go for it! 2 Chr 30:8- yield to the Lord and ENTER His sanctuary, Helaman 3:35- yield your heart=become SANCTIFIED (becoming submissive and teachable), and Romans 6:13 (12-14)- less likely to sin because yield to RIGHTEOUSNESS, not the opposite. So I can’t have both, I can’t just straddle the fence. So where does my sense of self come from?
This is a hard question to answer. Truthfully I struggle with my self esteem…my natural man is always telling me that I am not enough. Not pretty enough, not skinny enough, not fashionable enough, not able to be an amazing decorator…blah blah. So if my sense of self comes from the world/natural man= temporary, finite, and corruptible. But if my sense of self comes from God=Infinite and eternal. It is hard when one seems so tangible and the other not touchable but is more FELT on the inside. As I am working to quiet my natural man and to truly YIELD to the spiritual, it truly is a fight! Like everyday.
My biggest battle, I want to please everyone. I want to be able to do everything great all the time, and look great, but you know what…I can’t. I can try my best and TRUST that God will make up the rest. That said I am not saying everything worldly is bad. Our bodies are a gift. I am amazed at how much I can do with this body of mine, even though I am not slim. I am trying as hard as I can to do my best with it but it is not perfect. Control what you can control, do your best and give up the rest!
And one more scripture: 1 John 3:20 God is greater than our heart.
There are times when I don’t know if I can do it, but you know what? God knows and I choose to trust Him.