By Marlene Allen
Over the last couple of weeks, the Life Model Works team has shared what it means to be your best self, versus your false or avatar self. Now and in the coming weeks we will dive into the theme of what it looks like to be your best self with Immanuel.
“I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made…” Psalm 139:14
This simple Bible phrase encapsulates our incredible design of bones, tissues, organs, muscles, veins, skin, memories, thought processes, and more. All of these make up what I call me. The question is, how do I make all this work together at optimum capacity so that I am living my best me? How do I possibly know how these many parts of me affect each other physically, emotionally, or spiritually?
It is the same as if we stood in the doorway of the local library, staring at the shelves loaded with books from floor to ceiling. I have not read these books. I do not know how much of this unknown content affects my relationships, work, and body. People have said for years, “What you don’t know can’t hurt you”. Most of us have discovered this is untrue, but how can we know it all? Thank God we don’t have to.
In the Life Model family, we hold dearly to “they shall call His name Immanuel…God with us” from Matthew 1:23. We have discovered, as Michel Hendricks, author of The Other Half of Church says, “For what we don’t know, we can always look to the bigger brain in the room, Immanuel.” He has an answer for what I need to know now. As we delve into the topic of being our best selves, He not only holds the answer to how I live my best self but is a revealer when I ask. Now, there are gentle reminders from Immanuel to live every day fully alive before Him and others. He highlights the right book with the content I need for today.
An area highlighted to me by the Lord within the past few years relates to Life Model Works’ teaching about heart values. Simply put, this fearful and wonderful design of me is unique to me. There are values I carry that differ even from my twin sister’s. These are what distinguishes me from everyone else. I am God’s unique expression to the world, and living my best self with Immanuel is acknowledging, accepting, and leaning into understanding and developing these values.
When I first began identifying my heart values, I leaned on Immanuel, the bigger brain in the room, because He knew me far better than I knew myself. His gentle voice pointed out qualities I hid behind a false self. He pointed out values I had dismissed because of previous childhood ridicule. He applauded values I refused to acknowledge to avoid being viewed as haughty. My kind, gentle Lord mostly reminded me that this is who He had created me to be. I heard him say, I see you. I see the very essence of your being.
With these words came the realization that the pain I had lived to avoid was because of the values in me. I felt ashamed of not owning who I was but was also inspired by the thought that if I don’t live my best self, who will? From that moment, I began to rise from a chameleon existence to learning how to fully embrace myself because Immanuel wanted me to see and be me.
Now, there are gentle reminders from Immanuel to live every day fully alive before Him and others. When I betray myself by withdrawing from my true self, my loving Lord reminds me that being my best self fills a sacred space for what today needs.
Knowing ourselves is essential to this relational journey, and knowing the gentle voice of Immanuel makes the journey richer and more fulfilling. He knows. He sees. He validates. He accepts.
May the Lord lead you to discover what may have been hidden or dismissed so that you, too, can live your best self, fully alive before Him and others.