Fully Alive: Becoming True You!

By Terri Sullivant

…if indeed you heard about him and were taught in him, just as the truth is in Jesus. You were taught with reference to your former way of life to lay aside the old man who is being corrupted in accordance with deceitful desires, to be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and to put on the new man who has been created in God’s image – in righteousness and holiness that comes from truth.” Ephesians 4:21-24 NET 

God made us and the Bible says in Genesis that everything He made was good, right? We were created to reflect who He is in our own unique way. Then came “the fall”. Paradise was lost and corruption invaded that beautiful, original design we were given. Our true original design is still there but it needed to be redeemed and remade. Thankfully Jesus makes that possible. We can put off that old man self and put on the new one He has given us. But how does that happen? We don’t just make a one-time exchange – it’s a lifelong process of being renewed daily by His grace. 

Do you remember the first thing Adam and Eve did when they sinned and were aware of it? They felt shame. For the first time they knew they were naked, felt afraid, and were ashamed of themselves. They grabbed the nearest things they could find to cover themselves – fig leaves. Not that they covered up very well, but it seemed to them like the best thing to do at the time. 

Not all shame is bad, mind you. Feeling shame is an appropriate response when we sin. It is intended to lead us to repentance. But there is toxic shame also, which is what I’m talking about here. Toxic shame happens when we internalize names and messages about who are that don’t line up with the way God sees us. 

The first thing we need to know when we go about putting off the old self and putting on the new is this: Wherever shame is, there you will find a fig leaf. Those fig leaves are false facades or identities we take on to make ourselves feel respectable and presentable. They make us “seem like” the person we think we should be. That’s what our “as-if selves” are all about – fig leaves to cover our shame. 

As we walk through the process of transformation into our best selves, becoming aware of where we feel shame is a big clue to watch for. Holy Spirit is so good at gently pulling back the fig leaves to expose the shame hiding there. It may feel very uncomfortable as this is exposed, but we have the Comforter with us 24/7 so we are never alone in this! 

“But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me has not been in vain. In fact, I worked harder than all of them – yet not I, but the grace of God with me.” 1 Corinthians 15:10 NET 

The whole process of becoming our true, new and fully alive selves is initiated and completed by His grace. If we attempt this without His grace, trying to make ourselves presentable by our own strength, we only mess it up. Relax! He’s got this. It is hard work, but it is worth the hard work as you relax in the middle of it into His loving arms. His grace is a free gift, so receive! Let Him walk with you and work with you. You are His masterpiece. He has staked His life on molding you into that beautiful person He designed you to be. 

I wrote a book on this whole subject. It’s called, The Divine Invitation: Entering the Dance of Becoming Fully Alive. As a young woman in my 30’s, I asked the Lord this question: What does it look like to be fully me with Jesus in me?”  

He answered me with a powerful vision where He used the metaphors of a dance and a gift exchange to show me what it looked like to be the fullest version of myself connected to Jesus. I wrote this book for women, because I happen to be one! But it is very applicable to men as well. Several men and women wrote endorsements for it. 

While “dancing to the music of His Grace”, God offers us a gift. It is a free gift of a particular virtue, character quality, restored personality trait, or aspect of restored dignity. We receive that gift, and in exchange we give Him the gift of our shame, sin, brokenness, which He is delighted to receive. Then in addition, He gives us more grace to work that free gift into our lives. The dance goes on for our lifetime. 

“But now, freed from sin and enslaved to God, you have your benefit leading to sanctification, and the end is eternal life. For the payoff of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:22-23 NET 

You have received a divine invitation to enter the dance of becoming fully alive, the true you! All that is needed is for you to rsvp “Yes!” 

You can check out the book HERE

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