I’ve spent an unusual amount of my life in introspection—wondering who I am, what I’m for, and how I can be better.
The problem is that the deeper you go down that rabbit hole, the darker it can get.
For me, perfectionism combined with the fear of disappointing others to form a mental acid that quietly eroded my sense of self. It ate away the lights on the staircase as I walked down into my own depths, then eventually erased the stairs themselves. The harder I looked, the less I saw, and the further I stumbled into the dark.
It took me years to understand that when your concept of “better” isn’t fixed—when it’s easily changed by outside influences—there’s little progress or happiness to be had. Trying to be your best self is a noble goal, but the angst of an introspective mind makes even your most iron-willed attempts at change into a game against yourself that you can never win.
I tried, though.
Over the course of two decades, I studied Paganism, Zen Buddhism, cognitive psychology, and even dabbled in Kabbalah looking for ultimate, capital-T Truth to anchor me. The kind that you know that you know that you know. The kind that you feel humming in nature. The kind that resonates in your spirit like a perfectly-tuned harp string. And while I got occasional glimpses of it, nothing stuck.
It wasn’t until I met Jesus that I found what I was searching for. Turns out he has a lot to say about who I am.
I am a joint-heir with Christ.
A new creation filled with wisdom, holiness, and righteousness.
Forgiven, delivered, called, and complete.
The light of the world.
A royal priest.
His chosen daughter who brings him great joy.
And he doesn’t just say these things once. He’s thinking them all the time.
“How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered! I can’t even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand!” (Ps 139:17-18 NLT)
There’s the fixed point.
Not only are God’s thoughts higher than mine, but those thoughts are empowering and innumerable. The Creator of the universe is constantly shining light on who I am, what I’m for, and how I can be better (even though he loves me as-is). And no darkness can stand against that truth.
The ability to examine my own soul is a precious, holy skill that lets me partner with God to understand my inner workings and become more like Christ. When I tune out other people’s changeable ideas and opinions and instead align my introspection with the truth of God’s Word–eyes trained on that fixed point–my best possible self will naturally emerge.