A few years ago, I decided to stop writing, and publishing my material. I had already worked on a few moderately successful projects, but still, I felt the need to dig a deeper well in my life. For a time, I lost my desire to know God – at least, the God that was demonstrated to me in church. He represented to me someone who made many promises, but did very little – so, I thought. Therefore, it became hard to feel at home at church because it did not seem that anyone saw what I saw. I felt God was distant, leaving me to fend for myself in this world. While this may sound theologically wrong, everything in my life seemed to tell me that I was alone. Still, I went through the motions of church services, even preaching and teaching, only to go home from church, wondering if all of this religiosity represented anything that was real.
I spent years wondering what to do with my life. After multiple personal battles, and more failures than anyone can count, I began asking the hard questions, the hardest of all being, “Lord, who am I?”I didn’t want Bible verses about promises, as I secretly wasn’t convinced they would happen for me. I also did not want a general answer that was true for everyone else on the planet – or everyone else in church. If it was true that God made me unique, I wanted to know exactly who I was. After many difficult sessions of mentally overcomplicating issues in my life, God gave me a simple answer – I am Niral Russell Burnett, and God wants me to love this person.
Jesus said to “…love your neighbor as yourself.” When I actually started to take this verse of scripture seriously, I realized that I did not truly love myself – neither did I know myself. By this time, I had lived out my young life as a stranger to who I really was. The ancient Greek philosophers used to say,“Know thyself.” They were on to something, as it is impossible to truly love – to fully give yourself to another person, or even, God, without knowing who you are. If you understand the weight and measure of how glorious you really are in Him, and are then capable of laying it all down before God, you have done something worthwhile. You have given a priceless treasure that only you possess. But, what if you don ’t love yourself?
That’s the problem for many. They have lost the joy and wonder of knowing this “wonderfully made”person God has created, even after repeated encounters. It’s as though they get glimpses of their real selves, but never resolve themselves to live as this triumphant individual. Some have even taken a self-loathing approach, where nothing they do is good enough. Not knowing who they are, they go through life indifferent towards themselves because of their appearance, or their life circumstances – even their weight. They never gain a healthy relationship with who they really are, and therefore, never begin the process of walking in the power of this glorious human being – their truest selves. This is the person the world needs to see — the triumphant you; the glorious you; the truest you.
Niral Russell Burnett
Becoming: Knowing What to Do by Finding Who You Are (2011)