The Real Me
Renee Swope

"For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb." Psalm 139:13 (NIV)

I sat in the circle dreading my turn to talk. The facilitator of our team-building activity had asked our group of eight to answer these questions: What do you love to do? If finances were unlimited and failure was unlikely, what would be your dream?

I started praying we'd run out of time before it got to me. But just in case I had to answer, I listened to everyone else describe their dreams, hoping to get ideas. One wanted to be the first female president of the United States. Another friend said she'd always wanted to sing in a Christian rock band. I knew I was in trouble.

Here I was 32-years-old at the time, and I didn't know who I was or what my dreams were. Eventually everyone looked at me for a response. I stumbled over my words but finally admitted that I didn't really know what I loved to do. I didn't have a dream. I felt like a third-grader living in a grown woman's body. Did I want to be a nurse, a schoolteacher or a movie star?

Who was I and what did I like to do?

Unfortunately, I'd never taken time to think about or answer that questions. Instead, I had tried to be who others wanted or needed me to be. But honestly, I wasn't very good at it. I often had this uneasy feeling in my heart and a sense of just not being happy. I was also a constant candidate for burn out.

Later the group facilitator encouraged me to ask God what His dreams were for my life and to spend time getting to know myself better. She also suggested I read some books on personalities. I took her advice and began a process of getting to know the "real me" who had gotten buried in the busyness of life and people pleasing.

As I read books about different temperaments and personality traits, I started to recognize what I liked, strengths that came natural for me, and what I needed emotionally to encourage my heart. Instead of wanting to be like women I knew and admired, I realized there was a reason I was who I was – with my passionate preferences and mixed bag of emotions. For the first time I felt like someone (the author of those books) understood me. I also sensed that God wanted to use the unique way He made me to shape my heart for ministry.

Isn't it easy to completely neglect ourselves to meet the needs of everyone around us, and call it self-sacrifice? It sounds godly, but in doing so we risk shutting down a place in our soul where God's dreams and gifts are waiting to be revealed. It's not self-seeking but God-seeking to intentionally get to know and become the woman He created you to be.

So, how well do you know the real you? Have you ever taken time to think about what you like to do? How would you fill your free time if you had no fears, no insecurities and no doubts? (You probably have no free time, but what if you did?) What are your dreams?

I hope you'll take time to get to know the woman God created you to be. In doing so, I discovered the life I was meant to live, the dreams I was meant to dream.

Remember, God made you. He knows you and He loves you just the way you are. The only change He desires is that you become more like Him, as you become more like you!

Lord, I want to know the woman You had in mind when You created me. I don't want to grow old and never know Your purpose for my life. Show me your dreams for my life so I can offer what You want to give to those around me through my unique desires, personality strengths, spiritual gifts, abilities and experiences. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
Uniquely You! Read more about getting to know the real you, and share your thoughts/questions on Renee’s Blog.

Shaped with Purpose Workbook and CD: A Practical Guide for Discovering Who You Are by Renee Swope

Personality Plus by Florence Littauer

Click here for more of Renee’s Resources

Application Steps:
In her book, Personality Plus, Florence Littauer describes four personality types. See if you can relate to the desires and emotional needs of one or two of these:

Phlegmatic: Desires PEACE
Needs times of quiet, reduced stress, feeling of worth, relaxation

Choleric: Desires CONTROL
Needs appreciation for achievements, opportunity for leadership, and participation in decisions

Sanguine: Desires FUN
Needs attention, affection, approval, activity with people

Melancholy: Desires PERFECTION
Needs sensitivity, stability, support, space, silence

Reflect on today's verse, "For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb." Psalm 139:13 (NIV)

• Do I believe God created me with unique traits and dreams? Do I know what they are?
• Do I like who God created me to be? Why or why not?

Power Verses:
Psalm 139:13, "I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth," (NIV)

Psalm 139:1, "Lord, you have searched me and you know me." (NIV)

© 2009 by Renee Swope. All rights reserved.

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Blogger Robin said...

Renee, great post. I am trying to find the real me and what God's dream is for me. I have no idea of my spiritual gifts (most times feel I don't have any). I do know I love to do crafty things and photography but have never thought to ask God how to use those things to serve Him. Thanks again for a great post.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Discovering oneself then means we can serve Him more uniquely. How very thought provoking and life changing. Thanks.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great post. I often wonder what I was meant to do or would like to do.

Blogger Karen said...

Such a great post. I think as women we can get so caught up in all we have to do that it's easy to not really know who we really are. I really appreciate what you've said here.

Hope you have a great day!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have been looking for what God has in store for me....I am the mother of 3 sons, 1 is recently divorced with 3 children, 1 is married with 2 children and 1 is still at home. I have gone through the nasty divorce with my son all I can say is that the Lord has been our there for us for making things fair and I have seen one work of miracle after another through prayer. I have asked myself what does God wants for my life and through this divorce I have been given the opportunity to have my grandchildren get to know me and love me for who I am. I will post the prayer you have where I can read it every day and see what God has in store for me. I want to the Lord to show me what I am meant to be. Thanks

Blogger Amy Ensminger said...

Renee, you and I sounded very similiar at one time and it brought back lots of memories! For me it was a very lonely and sad discovery that I didn't know what my dreams were. My youngest daughter actually become my angel on that! We had sent her to a workshop training to 'find herself' when we felt she had lost her direction at 20. This training ultimately led her to her dreams, back to God and back to her family. As a result, our whole family signed up and found our way to an intimacy with God we'd never had (individually and as a family); to direction and clarity about what our dreams were using the tools that we create in the training to do it! Thank you for the reminder of all that I am thankful for! Amy Ensminger,

Blogger Tara said...

the question of "Do I like who God created me to be? Why or why not?" actually stumped me. my first instinct was to say "no, i don't like myself" but how can i say i don't like what the perfect and almighty God has done? wow....that question has certainly stirred my heart. for many years i have struggled to accept me.
thank you for this post and using yet another method God is getting my attention lately.

Anonymous Jessica said...

Thanks for a great devotion.

Blogger {lisa} said...

This is just the post I needed today. I have been feeling less than perfect lately and struggling to find out exactly who God wants me to be and what he wants me to do. I'm 24 and though a lot of people would say that I have plenty of time, I want to make sure that I'm using my time wisely for the Lord. Please pray for me that the Lord would show me exactly what He would have me to do and who He would have me to be.

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