It just happened.
I woke up one morning and I had peace. It felt as if I knew myself, my personality and character.
Thinking about my journey and how I got to that morning, I tried to connect the dots and realised that I couldn’t. The past was behind me. That was it. It was finally over.
Self-awareness: conscious knowledge of one’s own character, feelings, motives and desires, “the process can be painful but it leads to greater self-awareness.”
Starting over doesn’t just happen on its own, a lot of inner-work is needed to find truth and happiness. My behaviour moved me so far from the person that God created. I allowed circumstances to dictate my life. Self-awareness brought me back to the present. I could finally allow myself to focus my attention, my emotions, reactions and behaviour towards my future.
God gave me a second chance. He enabled me to feel hope. He enabled me to set new goals and to move in a new direction.
To put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness. (Ephesians 4:22-24)
Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. (2 Corinthians 5:17)
Jesus said to him, “No one who puts his hand to the plough and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.” (Luke 9:62)
Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do; forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead… (Philippians 3:13)
I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. (Galatians 2:20)
“Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of the old. Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” (Isaiah 43:18-19)
How did this happen?
Paul served as a great example in my life. Before his transformation, he was arrogant and self-righteous, hiding behind his zeal and religion, he set out to get his point across. God intervened and he was ultimately transformed into a humble servant of Christ, yet still with a boldness to proclaim God’s Word… “to make known the mystery of the gospel…” (Ephesians 6:19). He became self-aware, describing himself as the “least of the apostles” (1 Corinthians 15:10), and the “chief of sinners” (1 Timothy 1:15).
It is easier to know yourself when you see yourself hidden in Christ. Everything Paul stood for didn’t matter anymore (Philippians 3); “I know…I know…I have learned…” (Philippians 4).
Becoming self-aware changed the way I perceived life. The difficulties allowed me to take stock of myself, and God used the opportunity to correct my inner spiritual unrest and to draw me closer to Himself.
On the other hand, it is evident that man can never attain to a true self-knowledge until he has previously contemplated the face of God, and came down after such contemplation to look into himself. (John Calvin)
Where am I today?
I could embrace my losses, my tragedies and mishaps because they served a great purpose in my life. This transformed me into a person that I feel comfortable with. It set me free to such an extent that I could embrace new opportunities, I could start dreaming again. I often feel that God allowed me to push a reset button, that I am as free as an eighteen-year-old teen, making new choices for my life without the burden of having to prove anything to society.
God intended for us to live a well-rounded life in Christ, but there are times when that life is attacked from the outside. Then we tend to fall back into self-examination, self-awareness is the first thing that will upset the completeness of our life in God and it produces a sense of struggling and turmoil in our lives – or new circumstances can bring it on. Anything that disturbs our rest in Him must be rectified at once. If we abide in Him, He produces a Christ-awareness in us.
Never allow anything that divides or destroys the oneness of your life in Christ to remain in your life without facing it. Circumstances should not divide my life to hinder spiritual growth. Never see myself separated from Him. (Oswald Chambers)
How do I stay in peace?
I constantly examine my thoughts and address the critical inner voice that often tries to rob me of my peace. I rid myself of the negative feelings by journaling. I have to remind myself that I am an individual and that I am separate from circumstances and the behaviour of other individuals. I don’t wait for time to heal my wounds…I confront my feelings and pray that God will use different circumstances to help me to keep growing. I want to keep on growing so that I can respond to challenges in life in such a way that it is pleasing to God.
The purpose in a man’s heart is like deep water, but a man of understanding will draw it out. (Proverbs 20:5)
Do you know that you are God’s temple and that God’s spirit dwells in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple. (1 Corinthians 3:1-17)
Where are you?
If you find yourself overwhelmed by circumstances, embrace them. Choose your spiritual and mental response to these events as this will influence your emotional response and the way you choose your path in life. I have learned that the more I resist circumstances the more pain I experience.
Joy came when I embraced and accepted my life!