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August 16, 2016, 12:00 PM

The Best You


By – Haley MaKenna Hardman

 

 

“Close your eyes and imagine the best version of you possible. That’s who you really are, let go of any part of you that doesn’t believe it.” – (via tullipsink)

 

            Now really do it. Close your eyes. What is the best you that you can imagine? Be that person. Don’t try to be someone else, or a person that everyone likes and agrees with. Don’t try and be skinnier because that’s what the opposite sex finds attractive; if you are going to change, change because you want to, not because someone else wants you to. Really do it if that’s what is going to make you happy. If you don’t like who you are, don’t be that person anymore. It really isn’t as hard as everyone makes it out to be. Usually we decide who we’re going to be when we’re 17 or 18, about to embark on the next phase of our lives. Adolescents often go on a solo adventure to  “find themselves” away from their parents and away from most of their friends after they finish high school. At high school graduations, there's usually a commencement speech given about “staying true to who you are”, but we should remember that we don’t have to be in a cap and gown to be challenged to truly find ourselves. In my opinion, you spend your whole entire life trying to figure yourself out because you change on a day to day basis. Trying to figure you out is like trying to hit the bulls-eye on a rapidly moving target. But, if you identify a trait or habit of yourself that you don’t feel is flattering or modeling the you that you want to be, there is absolutely no reason why you can’t change. Don’t make excuses based age or which phase of life you may find yourself in today.

            Recently, I watched 10 Things I Hate About You starring Heath Ledger and Julia Stiles. It’s your typical 90’s chick-flick with awesome music, an unexpected romance, and a change of heart. Amidst the drama  and sarcastic quips, I noticed something about Julia Stiles’ character: she changed. At the beginning of the film, her character was known as brash and too straight forward. She was anti-social and often downright mean. However, Heath Ledger’s character who had started falling for her, called her out. She, of course, didn’t make any sudden changes, but ever so slowly, you watch her become humane again – a human that actually cares about the people around her.

            In my head, this goes hand-in-hand with someone we’re told about in the Bible: Joseph, a man we’re introduced to at the very beginning of his life and told more about when he’s around the age of 17. He’s said to have been his father, Jacob’s, favorite child because Joseph was born to Jacob in his old age- by his favorite wife might I add (see Genesis 29 and Genesis 37:3-4). Because of the special treatment that Joseph received from his father, Joseph had a haughty spirit when it came to his brothers and certain dreams that he was having. Instead of humbly explaining that he was having dreams where his brothers, along with his father, eleven stars, the sun, and moon were bowing down to him (explaining that sort of dream would be very difficult to explain humbly), he would lord it over them and talk about it all of the time. His brothers already hated him because of the special treatment he received, and the way in which he told them about his dreams, disregarding their feelings, was the straw that broke the camel’s back. They plotted to kill him, threw him in a well, sold him into slavery, and let their father believe that he was killed by wild animals. In an amazing turn of events that only God could orchestrate, Joseph overcomes many obstacles and temptations, but gets thrown in prison anyway, only to be brought before the king to interpret a dream. In the long (very long) run, Joseph was appointed to be second in command over the entire land of Egypt. During his stay in prison, he took care of all of the warden’s responsibilities, because the warden found favor with Joseph. Somehow or another, we see Joseph caring for all of the prisoners, literally caring for their well-being (see Genesis 40:6-7). Because of the circumstances he went through, Joseph realized that he would not go anywhere in life if he did not care for those around him. Because he changed, he wound up second in command over Egypt, and helped the entire nation - including his family - survive a seven year famine. He was even able to forgive his brothers and be reunited with his father.

            Joseph realized what the best version of him could be, and he became that version. Because he made that decision, God could use him in even mightier ways. I am not saying that he stayed that way or that he always cared for people like he should have, but he tried to keep the well-being of his family and the nation that he was put over in mind when he made decisions. But, would he have ever changed, or even realized that he was being inconsiderate unless his brothers had sent him away? Well, he certainly wouldn’t have been made second in command over Egypt that’s for sure. What Joseph’s brothers did to him was beyond wrong. In no circumstance have I ever ever thought to actually kill my siblings, and we’ve been through a lot. I would never let my step-dad believe that one of his kids were dead if I knew that they weren’t. But, God allowed this to happen. Not only did it save Joseph from a life of being haughty and hated, but it saved an entire country from starving to death, because Joseph- through the insight of God- was able to interpret a dream that predicted a seven year famine on the horizon.

            You see, God created us with our well-being in mind. He gave us our own unique attitude, likes and dislikes, style, and way of thinking. None of us are the same, because God doesn’t want a world full of minions; He wants true, unending, sappy love. If we lean on our weaknesses or our “flaws” as a crutch so that we seemingly cannot walk any further into His love, then that’s our fault. If we get caught up trying to live up to the standards that other human beings put on us, we don’t focus on pleasing God, but people, and that gets us absolutely nowhere. If we try our hardest to have the same relationship with God as the person standing next to us, we’ll eventually get to a place where we don’t have a relationship with Him at all, because the way I talk to Him and hear from Him is different than the way you talk to Him and hear from Him. We can’t go through life trying to be like another person, because we weren’t created to be them, we were created in the image of God to be like Him in another totally unique and only us way.

            My challenge to you is this: find out who you are- in God and in your heart of hearts. Stop trying to be like another human being and stop trying to please everybody. JUST BE YOU and I promise you that God will be able to use the you in a much mightier way without a ton of masks getting in the way. Just imagine the best you you can be, pray about who you need to be, and ask God to reveal to you how you can be that person, and then just be them. You won’t regret it.

 

Check out this video by David Bowden as he explains it just a little bit more.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cw62CpjP0v8

 

-Haley


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