by Jay Bransford
“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” Psalm 139:13-14a
In the first verse of Psalm 139 David declares an important truth to God, “You know me.” He goes on in the chapter to explain how God knows every single thing there is to know about David. Amongst other things, God knows every strength and every weakness of David. And He knows those same details about you and me. God knows exactly who we are and what He put us on this earth for. We were each uniquely woven together by God to perfectly fulfill His purposes for us. And His purposes are GOOD!!
So how do we better understand how God uniquely created us? Figuratively speaking, what kinds of materials did God make us out of? What colors did he use? What pattern does our fabric have? What imperfections does it have? What does it smell and feel like? And perhaps most importantly, what is our fabric intended to be used for?
You are like an amazingly beautiful and priceless fabric in the eyes of God. So the ideal place to start in understanding yourself is to ask God to describe you from His point of view. He knows best! And He is happy to talk to you about it. Consider the following:
- What are some core biblical truths you have learned that help define how God thinks of you and your value?
- What specific words or bible verses has God spoken to you over the years that you know are especially for you? How do those verses help describe you?
- What prophecies have been spoken over you? What do they tell you about yourself?
That’s a great start! But how can you go even deeper in understanding yourself? The good news is that God has provided many ways for us to learn about ourselves. We are complex creatures and there’s much to learn. Although this is by no means an exhaustive list, below are some additional ways to gain a greater level of understanding of who you are. Note that some of the items below provide a website link to help you answer the question. But first, get out a piece of paper and a pen, or open up a new blank document on your computer, and enjoy discovering more about yourself!
- What are your likes and dislikes?
- What are your strengths? What have people complemented you for?
- What are your weaknesses?
- What are you passionate about and energizes you just to think about?
- What kinds of things quickly zap your energy and motivation?
- How do you like to be loved and appreciated? (i.e Love Languages: quality time, words of encouragement, physical touch, receiving gifts, acts of service)
- What kind of personality do you have? (i.e. Myers-Briggs/Jung or DISC)
- What are your spiritual gifts?
- Think of your last 3 jobs/roles in life and write down what you most liked about them.
- Think of your 3 favorite classes in school and write down what you most liked about them.
- Think of the hardest time in your life and what you learned about yourself through it.
- Think of the happiest time in your life and write down what made you so happy.
- Think of the proudest you have ever felt in your life and write down what made you feel so proud.
If you quickly read through all of those questions and moved on without answering them, now is the time to stop and think through your answers. Discovering yourself is an ongoing, never-ending process that requires your time and thought. Self-reflection is one of the keys to understanding yourself. So if you really want to better understand yourself, you need to be willing to commit to some serious time to pray, think and reflect.
Once you’ve finished reflecting, it is time to dream…
- What is God speaking to you through all of this?
- How does this begin to tell a story about you, your value, who you are, and what you were uniquely designed for?
- What are the 3 biggest dreams on your heart right now?
- Assuming there were no obstacles in your way, what would you most like to be doing with your life?
- How can you start moving in that direction?
Remember that understanding yourself is a life-long process. Periodically set aside time to reflect on what God has been speaking to you, on your life circumstances, and on questions like those listed above. As you do so, I guarantee you will gain a clearer understanding of yourself, how God sees you, and ultimately God’s purposes for your life. You are truly an amazing work of art in progress, personally and perfectly woven together by God.
* For more resources to specifically help you with the topic of Understanding Yourself, see the ALLC website here.