Each of us in our own ways, consciously or unconsciously, has voluntarily played roles in our lives. Some of us have gotten so good at playing our roles that we no longer hear the Infinite Presence calling us to step out of the roles the world has cast us in, and step into the role of the true and authentic self. Some of us have chosen to conform to this world, not be transformed in it.
Some of us have been performing our roles for so long; we no longer realize we are still in character. It is as though in many respects the world has tamed us, domesticated us, and taught us how to conform to the ways of the world. We do so many things without even thinking about them, just because that is how we have been taught to do them. We learn how to conform to the ways of our family, our community, our city, our country and our world. Over time, we learn how to conform to the rules of society, the dominant beliefs in our country and the laws. We learn how to celebrate holidays, how to behave in school, how to behave at social events. We learn how to conform to the ways of the world.
We learned to conform to the ways of the world, by experiencing the sanctions and punishments for the times we did not. Those who were mentoring us have had this way of teaching us how to live according to the ways of society and of the world. The Message version of Romans 12:2, one of my favorite scriptures from the New Testament reads, “Don't become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You'll be changed from the inside out.”
The process of being transformed from the inside out is about aligning our intentions with where we spend our attention. It is a challenge to stop going through life conforming to the norm and to begin living the life we were born to fulfill. It is time for us rediscover ourselves and gain an understanding of who we were created to be. It is time for us to reconnect with the authentic self. It is time for us to stop just going through life, but to go through life with passion, excitement, and confidence. It is time for us get in touch with the authentic self and learn how to stay authentic.
We cannot unlock our spiritual potential; we cannot make ourselves fully available to the Infinite Presence as long as there is a gap between who we are and what we do. If we are faking the funk, if we are acting as if we are auditioning for a part in society’s play, then we have turned down the opportunity to play ourself in the Infinite Presence’s production. It is time for us to stop participating in the casting calls of the world. It is time for us to stop auditioning for parts in other’s productions and focus on developing an understanding of who we were created to be. We have already been cast to play ourselves in God’s production; there is no need for us to attend the casting calls for the world.
We have all been in a place where we were focused on pleasing others. We have all learned how to play by other people’s rules in an effort to get our needs met. However, as we seek to grow spiritually, as we seek to unlock our own potential, we might find we no longer want to chase other people’s dreams, and live by other people’s rules. We may find we seek to be true to the dreams the Infinite Presence has placed in our heart. We may find that what is more important than societal approval is inner peace. We might find it is more important that the way we are living feels right, than looks right.
When we are living as our authentic self, when we are living our authentic lives, we find ourselves greeting each day with enthusiasm and sleeping peacefully at night. There is a peace because who we are is the same as what we are doing. That does not mean others will agree with your choices. They might want to cast you in a different role or have your character behave in a different way. However, the words of the Infinite Presence remind us we are not to conform to the ways of the world, but be transformed by the renewing of our minds. The renewing of our minds comes because we consciously make decisions about our life. We no longer conform to what others are telling us to do.
It is hard to trust people when they lie to us. When we are not leading an authentic life, we are lying to ourselves. We are choosing not to be honest with others or ourselves about who we are or what we need to be fulfilled. We cannot create lives for ourselves as long as we are allowing others to cast us in roles, make choices for us, and conforming to the ways of the world.
Digging through the layers of our lives is not always easy. It means we must spend time with ourselves. It means we have to stop making excuses about how we do not have the time or about how we have too much to do. My grandmother used to say you could tell a lot about a person by where they spend their time and their money. When we choose not to spend time getting to know ourselves for who we are, we are saying we are not important. When we choose not to spend time getting to know the authentic self the Infinite Presence created, then we wind up moving farther and farther away from who we were created to become.
The transformation does not come from the renewing of one’s body, the change of one’s schedule, the friends one keeps, but from the renewing of one’s mind. When we choose to make ourselves a priority, when we choose to take time to connect with the wisdom the Infinite Presence has already placed inside us, then we will begin to notice changes happen in our lives.
Waiting for X to happen is not going to give you the inner peace you might be looking for. As Meg Christian sang, we must be like submarines and dive within our spirits seeking the great wisdom, which already lies within us. This week, I am going to challenge you to claim time that is just for you. Claim the time to reflect on what is important to you. Spend time meditating allowing your inner voice to surface. Or you might try journaling for a few minutes every day and see what wisdom surfaces. Or do something else that will provide you with the time to gain insight into who you are, what you want, and what is best for you next. This may seem like it is about you, but all spiritual leaders in this world have been known to do this for themselves, so they did not lose the authenticity of who they were created to be. Jesus spent time in the desert and wilderness. Buddha would sit in silence. Others have found ways and places to be in tune with the spirit and find the enlightenment they could find nowhere else. Take the time this week to listen to your inner voice and wisdom.