As we live purposefully, it is helpful to gauge the extent to which we are God-centered…or fragmented.
We have all encountered people who seem to morph depending on the crowd surrounding them or depending on their current circumstances. The traits and values they display in one moment easily shift into the next. Each one of us, on some level, has experienced this firsthand in our own lives. Although some claim that being mutable to please others is a positive thing, this mutability is not Biblical nor does it allow healthy, peaceful and purposeful living.
Yes, to spread God’s Word we must be able to speak the language of others. We certainly would not speak to first-graders as we would to college students. Adopting the language of others, however, does not mean compromising one’s values, one’s visions – or one’s self. When our eyes are continually fixed upon God’s Kingdom and Righteousness, our thoughts, words and actions flow freely from this centered focus. Our concern then is to love God and love others – and to love others enough to be fully and authentically ourselves. God’s Word instructs us to “let it be your care to get the approval of God, as a workman who has no cause for shame, giving the true word in the right way.” (2 Timothy 2:15)
To allow one’s preferences, values and goals to shift with external changes is to live as a fragmented person; for one exists not in solid boundaries but in the shifting outlines of various personas. Without solid boundaries of self, there is no substance, no strength, no solidity to one’s being. In surrendering aspects of one’s self to please others, an individual does not remain true to herself – and is therefore less relatable to all. She lives therefore in disharmony. The paradox lies in that the more we are true to God the more we are true to ourselves. As live true to our unique purposes, we discover sublime peace…trusting fully in God to lead us.
People desire to relate to an authentic and solid person; they seek to relate with an individual who defines the boundaries of who she is, what she appreciates and where she is going. A centered individual consistently clings to her values, her visions and her preferences. She speaks clearly in her unique voice. Her values, visions, voice, preferences, thoughts, words and actions seamlessly integrate to create a beautiful whole. She defines herself clearly to herself and to the world, thereby allowing others to know her through her courageous vulnerability. She does not fear the opinion others and instead finds freedom, peace and purpose in steadfastly defining and maintaining her boundaries. “Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ.” (Galatians 1:10)
As you travel upon your pathway of purpose, reflect upon areas in which you are clearly God-centered…and query if there are any aspects in which you are living fragmented. Fragmentation hinders the movement along the purposeful journey, as a fragmented person cannot walk solidly until she heals and clearly defines herself. It is crucial that we fix our eyes on God’s standards and align ourselves with Him.
Evaluate the solidity of your center by asking the following questions:
– Does my voice change depending on situations or the people surrounding me?
– Am I clear and consistent in those things for which I stand?
– Are my goals aligned to my values?
– Are my daily activities matching my goals?
– Do I fear the opinion of others?
– Are my boundaries clearly defined?
– Do I have a strong sense of direction?
The more firmly fixed upon the unchanging Truth of God’s Word, the more clearly centered we are in our lives and in our journeys. “For the Lord’s approval of a man is not dependent on his opinion of himself, but on the Lord’s opinion of him.” (2 Corinthians 10:18) As we grow God-centered and solid in the boundaries of who we are, we become clear in our direction, vivid in our vision, peaceful in our pursuits…and purposeful in our path.
© COPYRIGHT 2011 Caroline Gavin
What actions steps will you take today to live more God-centered?