The Secret : The 5 Ways to Own Your Story and Silence the Voices Telling You Who to Be

The Secret : The 5 Ways to Own Your Story and Silence the Voices Telling You Who to Be

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God is writing the story for each of our lives. As the Creator and Savior, He alone gets to tell us about our identity and purpose. Yet, as much as we would like to say we are focused on what the Lord says, there are competing voices telling us who to be.

These are the opinions of others, assumptions we have developed, or aspirations we have set for ourselves. Maybe our parents have always expected us to pursue a specific career path, or we assume we should carefully place our feet in the footprints of our friends. Regardless of the source, these voices take the story God is writing for our lives and try to scatter the pages and smudge the ink. We listen so intently to them that we lose sight of what our Author intended and are left chasing after elusive pages.

Our identity and sense of unique purpose are gone.

Thankfully, even when everything seems hazy and hopeless, God is not done working. If we find ourselves in this place today, where we have molded ourselves into what others want or conformed our lives to what we think they should look like, the Author of all is here to guide us back. To call us by name and remind us of who we are: Beloved sons and daughters who are on this earth for a purpose.

To move toward owning our story and silencing the voices telling us who to be, we should consider implementing the following five steps.

1. Establish Your Purpose and Identity in the Bible

The voices telling us who to be might come from a place of good intentions or even from the mouths of people we love. They could also stem from our goals and dreams. However, the most important voice to listen to is the Lord’s. What God says is infinitely more important than what others say or even what we think of ourselves.

To own our story the way God intends for it to be, we must cut through all the noise and listen to Him. To do so, we need a weapon to serve as both an offense and defense against ideas, plans, and identities that do not align with what God says. Such a weapon is found in the Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God (Ephesians 6:17).

Regularly studying the Bible allows us to listen to the words of the Lord. He speaks through the Bible because it is divinely inspired and God-breathed (2 Timothy 3:16). If we listen and obey His Word, we will be surprised at the changes God will make in our lives.

By filling ourselves with Scripture, we can clear the haziness surrounding our purpose and identity. Although the voices around us, whether from family, peers, or instilled assumptions, try to tell us who we are and what we should do, the Bible shows us the truth. As Christians, establishing our purpose and identity in Scripture is vital because Jesus defines us now. We want to follow the story He is writing for us.

2. Write a Mission Statement for Your Life

Many of us know that organizations and ministries have mission statements, telling us who they are and what they exist to accomplish. However, individuals can have mission or purpose statements too. They can provide us with direction and focus when we lose sight of the overall story God is creating in our lives.

Crafting a mission statement is much easier once we have studied Scripture to know what God says about us and our purpose. We might even want to include key verses in our statement and memorize these verses. That way, when our assumptions or the advice of others crowd in, we can anchor ourselves to solid truth.

Of course, as believers, we all find our identities and purpose in Christ. Every Christian is meant to glorify the Lord through his or her life and lead others to become disciples who, in turn, also bring glory to Him (Isaiah 43:7; Matthew 28:18-20). How we fulfill this purpose, though, looks different in each of our lives because we all have different gifts and talents (Romans 12:6-8). We can reflect this variety in the statements we craft.

The act of writing a mission or purpose statement enables us to own our part in God’s great story. People will probably not include us in their history books or even know our names. However, that is not the point. What matters is knowing who we are in Christ and living out that purpose without being tethered by the expectations and opinions of others. A mission statement allows us to do that, focusing on the path God wants us to walk.

3. Stop Comparing Yourself to Others and Wishing You Were Someone Else

Theodore Roosevelt is attributed with saying, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” Although the exact source of this quote is uncertain, the sentiment is true. When we constantly compare ourselves to others, we stop noticing all the ways that God made us unique. Instead, we wish were someone else.

The current age we live in fuels the temptation to compare or listen to the lies that say we should be more like others. Social media provides a gilded image of how others carry out their days. All we see is what others want us to see, which often is not the real version of events or the entire picture. The messy, ugly parts of their marriage, vacation, or job are filtered out. Yet, we still scroll through, convinced that if only we acted or looked more like them or had that job or house, we would be happy.

Those are lies.

Consider all the people around the world – People who look different, have unique personalities, and live in various places. Each of them was created by God in His image with a unique set of traits (Genesis 1:27). None of this is an accident or mistake. Knowing this, we should add our voices to David’s prayer, saying, “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well” (Psalm 139:14, NIV). Every person has worth, and this value is amplified because of the diversity in humanity.

To be who God wants us to be, we must stop comparing ourselves to others or wishing we were someone else. Amy Carmichael said it well in Thou Givest…They Gather, “We are not here to wish to be somewhere or something we are not, but to do the thing that pleases Him exactly where we are, and as we are” (CLC, 1958, p. 127). He has a purpose for our lives, one that only we can carry out. We might have idiosyncrasies and fears, but the Lord delights in using the weak things of the world to shame the strong (1 Corinthians 1:27).

He can work through us now with all our unique traits and strange quirks. Let us focus on that truth instead of the noise of opinions, expectations, and comparisons.

4. Commit to Following Jesus Instead of Competing Voices

We encounter countless messages every day from the world, those around us, and pressures in society that tell us who to be. They try to convince us to follow certain paths and lifestyles. Some of these messages may come from people we trust and care for, like parents, family, coworkers, friends, or spouses. Their desires and expectations for our lives could be more difficult to manage because we are invested in a relationship with these individuals.

Although we should listen to the wise counsel of others, not all advice is equal (Proverbs 19:20). We must weigh all things against Scripture and commit to following Jesus. In a comfortable, easy situation, this does not seem costly. However, when relationships get messy, or conflicts of interest arise because of our commitment to Christ, we start to experience the true cost of discipleship (Matthew 16:24-26).

A young college graduate might feel called to serve as a long-term missionary overseas in an unreached area. However, the graduate’s parents or grandparents expected him or her to stay close to home, get a high-paying job, and start a family. Children should seek to honor their parents, but in this situation in which Jesus calls them to follow, they need to obey Him. Doing so will cause conflict in the family. We should expect conflict since the Lord already spoke about this reality (see Luke 12:51-53). However, as Scripture says, “We must obey God rather than human beings!” (Acts 5:29, NIV).

Or consider a Christian who recently retired. The message of the world tells this person that his or her time of activity is ended – relaxation and pleasure is all that retired life is about. Serving Jesus, though, has no age limit. Multiple times in Scripture, those who are older are encouraged to mentor and teach the young (Titus 2:2-8). The way they live and interact with others can have a lasting impact, even though they are older and may have health issues. For the believer, retirement is not the end. It is another opportunity to use time, relationships, and other resources wisely for the glory of God.

Committing to living in obedience to Christ will prove difficult at times. We cannot live the story our Savior intends for us, though, if we ignore Him and chase after the approval of competing voices.

5. Show Grace to Yourself

Sometimes the only thing holding us back is ourselves. We feel trapped by our failures and wrong decisions. Maybe that is where some of us are – in a place where our inadequacies and insecurities keep us standing still. The voices used to do it, but we internalized those a long time ago. Our minds tell us that our lives are far too messy and broken. We think God is done with our story. The pages seem too scattered and torn to be put back together again.

When all we feel is shame and guilt over past mistakes, we can move forward by reminding ourselves of God’s grace. Believers have been forgiven based on Jesus’ death on the cross and His resurrection. Nothing we did or will do made the Lord save us (Ephesians 2:8-9). He laid down His life for us because of love (Romans 5:8).

If Jesus has given us His grace, then we need to live in the reality of that grace. There is no reason to hold on to failures and wrong decisions that Christ has forgiven us for. We are new creations in Jesus (2 Corinthians 5:17), and His mercies are new every morning (Lamentations 3:23). Let us show grace to ourselves instead of allowing regrets and mistakes to hold us back.

It is never too late to live the story God has intended for us. He can take those worn, tattered pages of our story and make them new.

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