I wrestled many years with valuing my gifts and their significance. I was no longer convinced that what I possessed had any real weight to make a difference in anything. So I often played small, passively, and with the expectation to be looked over.
It wasn't always that way! As a small child I KNEW that something about me was special. I always believed that I was born to stand out. I never saw myself as ordinary. I never wanted to do anything ordinary. I always wanted to be the exception to the rules and limitations that others would warn me about... So what happened?
I can't necessarily pinpoint one event or experience that shifted my belief and confidence in myself. I think over time what I perceived as failure, and how I internalized these failures, began to shape a safety net in order to protect my heart from the next disappointment, rejection, or let down. My internal bodyguard had its own personal protection perspective that attempted to keep me safe from whatever could be perceived as not in my favor. So as a result, I subconsciously "humbled" myself into playing small. The habit of playing small will condition us to forget who we were always meant to be and comfortably accept a safer identity of ourselves. That lesser identity is usually void of the self confidence needed to ever trust our God-given gifts and abilities.
So we push away from anything that would indicate that we are more than what we have come to believe that we are. The compliments from our friends and the reminders of our greatness from our family are filtered as kind words simply because they love us, nothing more. They have to say those kind things, right?
Here's the thing. Our lack of belief in our own gifts and significance doesn't eliminate them. That part of us just doesn't die. It simply becomes buried so deep that we forget it was once there. But like all great things that are alive yet buried, it fights its way back to the surface, just like the bloom of a seed –pushing through layers to break through and break free.
You see, we will find ourselves in a place where our unique identity, will attempt to push through those layers of all the dirt life has thrown. But we have to be willing to nurture it if we desire to ever see its full potential in our lives. Feelings, beliefs, and opinions don't change our significance, but they do dictate how we operate in it. So when our belief system, regarding our selves are unhealthy, we perform in a manner that is counterproductive to what our gifts actually have the capacity to produce.
I always ask my friends, family, clients this question that I am now also asking you:
If you knew it were absolutely impossible for you to fail, what would you be doing with your life right now?
The purpose I have in asking this question is for you to search your heart, TRUTHFULLY.
If you take the time to answer this question (beyond a surface level response) and compare its answer to your current day to day actions, do they match up? Are you close to being aligned or on track with what you honestly desire? The answer for a lot of us shows a disconnect between who we've become and who we actually desire to be.
What you are truly gifted to do is buried beneath the disbelief that you don't have what it takes and the fear that you will fail even if you tried.
Let me tell you, it's ok. You can start wherever you are. I simply hope to spark the desire to go after it. I truly believe real freedom in this life is found in the pursuit of our best selves. It requires us to ignore every lie, find favor in our failures, and see our selves as God always has.
Many of us have the desire to do so, but that belief system thing is a tricky something. Our belief system is the command center for our thoughts, words, and actions. It shapes our values, priorities, and efforts.
You know how we tell ourselves that we want to workout on a regular basis, cut out dairy, and start that business, but we find it so hard to actually do? It's not because the tasks to do so are actually hard. We tend not to give effort to things we don't believe we're equipped to accomplish. It's the same with our gifts. When we don't fully believe that our gifts will provide what we truly desire, we convince ourselves the effort isn't worth it.
There are lots of scenarios that I could mention, but the bottom line is this:
If your current choices and habits right now don't look like the process that leads to your desired life, it's more than likely because you don't truly believe that it's possible for you.
I'm not judging! I'm just here to challenge you to look at where you are, how you truly feel, and what you genuinely desire. Because your life choices are simply the evidence of your level of self belief.
We have become accustomed to quoting scriptures of promise, speaking positive affirmations about ourselves, and reposting powerful Instagram quotes and it's simply not enough to get us where we could be. We have to work to develop a better belief system for, and of, ourselves. I know it's hard when our past experiences have chipped away at our confidence. But once we know for certain that our desired life is truly possible, you will relentlessly work towards it. Not daydream about it, wish for it, or describe it to your friends over cocktails. You will work in high pursuit for it, because to truly believe is to fully know.
THAT place, is where I want you to go. Where I want you to be. Where I want you to live until you see what you desire manifested in your life. Again, the gifts to get there are already in you. You've just got to work to believe it to be true!
When doubt creeps in I fight it with this one question:
Who better than I?
Use it! When doubt comes for you too, ask yourself "Who better than I?"
If God gave the gifts to you that produced a vision in you, who better to live it out than you?... In all honesty, it has to be you! So walk in the confidence of this truth about yourself until you fully believe it. Whatever you would do if you could not fail, is exactly what you can do even if you do fail!
The truth is... You will fail and probably more than once. Don't let that stop you. Life is not about the failure. Failure will always work in your favor when you understand that failure is proof of your try.
Failure is simply a moment, an experience, a resource. It is not a demise unless you choose not to keep going.
So change what you truly believe about your gifts, your ability, and the validity of your visions and you will see your life shift into its unique significance. When you start to believe that it will never work, stop yourself. Check yourself. Ask yourself. Who better than I?