“The eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings. And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden” (Genesis 3:7-8).
Have you ever felt like life has caused you to lose yourself?
When I say “lose yourself,” I am not using it like the world does, as when people try to “find themselves” by doing whatever makes them happy, find themselves by exploring all of the base desires of the flesh, or find themselves by rejecting all traditional inhibitions.
What I mean is finding your true self, your “child of God” self – your best self. I mean that “self” that God created you to be as your destiny, walking in power and authority, made in the image of God. Your true self.
Have you ever felt like life circumstances have caused your true self to be hidden?
Perhaps it was a divorce that created so much bitterness, frustration, hatred and hurt that it hid the joy-filled Christian you were created to be; or a senseless tragedy rocked your world and crushed your trust and faith in the goodness of God.
Maybe it was a personal betrayal by someone close which caused you to harden your heart and put up protective emotional walls.
Or maybe – like Adam and Eve – a small, seemingly insignificant sin has become a big and chronic issue, stealing your confidence before God, and casting a shadow of shame over your life.
Even if your true self has been hidden behind the fig leaves of pain and shame, lost in a thicket of brokenness and hopelessness, or beaten down by blame, confusion, and addiction, you can find yourself again! But you will have to do some soul-searching and honestly answer three critical questions.
Photo credit: Unsplash/Daniel Jensen
1. “Where Are You?” — in Relation to God
“But the Lord God called to the man, ‘Where are you?’ He answered, ‘I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid’” (Genesis 3:9).
If you try to get driving directions to go to a certain place on the WAZE app, you must enter your starting location. In the same way, you can’t get to where you want to go in life without knowing where you are starting from…and especially, where you are in relation to God.
- Where are you in your prayer life?
- Where are you in your devotional time?
- Where are you in your church life?
- Where are you in living a life pleasing to Him?
- Where are you in your dependence upon Him?
- Where are you in your commitment to Him and His will in life?
- Where are you in living in Him, moving in Him and having your being in Him?
- Where are you in your excitement about Him?
Is He your greatest desire? Is He your number one priority? Do you still count all things but loss compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus the Lord? Are you still willing to discard everything else to gain Christ? Are you still willing to stretch for the prize of the High Calling of God in Christ Jesus? Is the cry of your heart still to know Him in the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His suffering?
Where are you?
Not in relation to where you want to be, but rather in relation to where God is. Because where God is, there is liberty, joy, peace, and every blessing. So inevitably the answer to the question leaves us with a realization that there is far more distance between us and God than there should be.
And who hasn’t hidden from God’s presence at one time or another because of bitterness, anger, sin, or shame? Who hasn’t hidden themselves from God – afraid, because they were naked before Him?
We all have.
But instead of hiding from God, we must recognize where we are and run to Him to remove our shame, heal the hurt, be blessed, and set free. We must see Him not as punisher but as provider, meaning that He always has our best interest in mind.
Photo credit: ©Getty Images/ALLVISIONN
2. “Who Told You…?” — What Voice Are You Listening To
“And He said, ‘Who told you that you were naked?’” (Genesis 3:11).
Clearly, God was letting Adam and Eve know that the reason why they hid themselves, the reason why they lost themselves, is because they listened to the wrong voice. So too, the reason why we lose our true selves in life is because we listen to the wrong voices.
- The reason why you stopped being funny is because you listened to someone tell you that you were corny
- The reason why you stopped being creative is because you listened to someone who told you that you were out of touch
- The reason why you stopped pursuing that dream is because you listened to someone who said you couldn’t do it
- The reason why you stopped taking care of yourself is because you listened to someone who said you are ugly
- The reason why you stopped going to church is because you listened to someone who said “they are a bunch of hypocrites”
- The reason you stopped running to God is because you listened to someone who said God is a punisher and not a provider
Often times, the wrong voice comes from various different people. But in reality, Satan is the voice behind the voices. He is the one who is constantly trying to get us to listen to some lie and lose ourselves in the process.
So even though there are many places and people through which we can hear the wrong voice, it’s really just the voice of the enemy.
Who told you that you were stupid? Satan.
Who told you that you were ugly? Satan.
Who told you that you’ll always be broke? Satan.
Who told you that you’ll never get married? Satan.
Who told you that it’s too late? Satan.
Who told you that you’ll never get another chance? Satan.
Who told you that God has abandoned you? Satan.
Who told you?
Who. Told. You?
Have you been listening to the voice of the enemy? The more you listen, the more you will lose yourself. Recognize it, repent and refuse to engage the lies of the devil. Instead choose to meditate on the promises of God. These promises fuel passion and vision in the soul and free us to become the person God intends us to be.
Photo credit: ©Getty Images/fizkes
3. “What Have You Done…?” — Taking Personal Responsibility for Your Actions
“And the Lord God said to the woman, ‘What is this you have done?’” (Genesis 3:13).
When God confronts Adam and Eve about their actions, they both play the blame game. Adam blames God and Eve: the woman You gave me made me do it. Eve blames the devil: the serpent deceived me and I ate.
However, if we are ever going to find our true selves again, we must take responsibility for our part in losing ourselves in the first place! That is, we must take responsibility for the choices we have made, and decide to make better ones in the future.
“What have you done” is not a question that should cause us to be covered in condemnation, but rather is a question that should convince us of the power of our choices! It should compel us to realize that the same way our past choices have contributed to the concealment our true selves, our choices today and tomorrow have the power to help us rediscover who we were created to be. For there is no greater power in all the earth than our power to choose.
“This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live” (Deuteronomy 30:19).
In other words, a life of reward and blessing does not happen by chance… but happens by choice.
I recognize that in life there are many things that are non-negotiable realities that we don’t get to choose, which will impact us: family dynamics, race, the part of town we grew up in…. We didn’t choose these non-negotiable realities, but we do choose our response to them. And that choice is the choice which impacts whether or not we experience blessing.
From this point forward…
I’m choosing to put God first in my life.
I’m choosing to forgive and move on.
I’m choosing to go “all in” with my faith and trust in God.
I’m choosing integrity and accountability.
I’m choosing to be faithful to my spouse.
I’m choosing to be attentive to my children.
I’m choosing to be a good steward of my resources.
I’m choosing to walk away from what I know is wrong for my life.
I’m choosing to hear the voice of God and to follow Him in all things.
God expects us to choose better, choose wiser, choose smarter, choose life, and choose righteousness. But when the choices we have already made have created circumstances that cannot be resolved or improved by making better choices for the future, do not worry… God will step in to provide, cover and heal us. God can make rivers flow in the desert and open up a way where there is no way.
Photo credit: ©Getty Images/Kevron2001
Come Out, Come Out Wherever You Are!
There’s a childhood game that nearly everyone has played at some point in their lives, called Hide and Seek. Everyone finds a spot and hides themselves, while one person searches and finds them. They remain quiet and hidden until the seeker gives up and shouts “olly olly oxen free! Come out, come out wherever you are!” The idea is to never move early and give up the location of a really awesome hiding spot. (Someone in my family remained hidden so long they had an embarrassing accident… but that is a story for another day!)
My point is that when you have lost sight of your true self, when you have lost the vision of who God created you to be…you are stuck hiding in a place of the devil’s choosing. And if you stay there too long, you are bound to regret it. If this is you, recognize that God is calling you today, to come out, come out… wherever you are! He has a great plan for you!
Photo credit: Pexels/Samuel Silitonga
Frank Santora is Lead Pastor of Faith Church, a multi-site church with locations in Connecticut and New York. Pastor Frank hosts a weekly television show, “Destined to Win,” which airs weekly on the Hillsong Channel and TBN. He has authored thirteen books, including the most recent, Modern Day Psalms and Finding Christ in Crisis: Lessons We Learned From Covid. To learn more about Pastor Frank and this ministry, please visit www.franksantora.cc. Photo by Michele Roman.