* This is the second post in a series about “What I want my kids to know before they leave the nest.”

I didn’t grow up knowing God. (More about that here.) And, I didn’t know myself either. When I think back to the days before I started getting to know Jesus, I remember emptiness. My teens and twenties were all about me and what I could do. What I should be. Where I should go. What I could attain.

I was swept along in the river of cultural norms…go to college, get a job, buy a house, buy a bigger house. I had no compass other than the culture. I measured myself based on how I compared to others. Life was mostly about work. And trying to live the American dream.

Here’s the thing. The way we live flows out of what we believe. At that time, I dreamt of shopping at Talbots and buying a model home. Why? Apparently, I thought that was the purpose of life. Of course, I never actually thought about what I believed…but my lifestyle revealed my philosophy.

It wasn’t until I began to know God – and His unconditional love – that I could get to know myself and understand my true identity.

Here’s what I discovered: God says I was created in His image – made to glorify Him! I was fashioned after the Creator of the universe so I can reveal His character. I’m a one-of-a kind work of art – a masterpiece. He says I was created on purpose and for a purpose. And that He loves me and has a plan for my life. (And the same is true for you, by the way.)

Living out of this reality is entirely different!

It turns out getting to know God and getting to know myself go hand in hand. It’s not one or the other – they go together. I picture it like pedaling a bike. The pedals go up and down – they work together. The more I get to know God, the more I can get to know myself – back and forth.

As I grow in knowing God, I have the opportunity to know myself and see the areas of my life that aren’t aligned with Him…and let the transformational power of His love change me. Not in order to be accepted by Him, because I already am…but in order to continue becoming more fully who He created me to be (a lifelong endeavor, by the way).

As a parent, I’m sure you can relate. I love my kids and can’t imagine loving them more – or less. I loved them when they were babies. I loved them when they were learning to walk. I loved them as teens. And I love them now. I want the best for them. I want them to grow and thrive and enjoy the life God has given them. And I want a close relationship with them throughout life.

God wants the same for us.

He loves us at every stage of our journey. And He is delighted as we discover more of who He is, grow in who we are, and develop a deeper relationship with Him.

So here’s what I tell my kids:

  • You were uniquely designed to glorify God – to reveal His character and presence to the world (Isaiah 43:7).
  • You do this by being who God created you to be and doing what He uniquely asks you to do (Ephesians 2:10; John 17:4).
  • And by the way, Jesus says He came that “we may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows).” John 10:10

Did you hear that? God wants you to thrive and enjoy life!

In summary, just as we need to continually get to know God better each day, we also need to grow in knowing ourselves. I think God rejoices when we begin to see ourselves the way He sees us (beloved) and when we allow Him to help us grow more fully into the people He created us to be!

Do you agree? Leave a comment and let me know!

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