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The Only Thing You Stand to Lose

“All we stand to lose is the false self…”

I’m in a season of transition right now. I just spent four hours packing away books that I don’t think I’ll need for the next six months. I’ve resigned from a committee at church. I’ve pushed pause on the process of getting ordained. I’m not sure what our move holds for me. Will I keep writing books? Keep up my podcast? Continue to speak around the country? 

In the midst of all this uncertainty, I’ve been reading Ruth Haley Barton’s Strengthening the Soul of Your Leadership. It’s a great book for any leader who wants to stay (or become) centered and grounded. It has been particularly timely for me as I consider questions about calling and purpose and what lies ahead.

Recently, I read these words:

“Some of us will wear ourselves out trying to change ourselves before we realize that it is not about fixing, it is about letting go—letting go of old patterns that no longer serve us. This is frightening, because we are not sure such an approach will really work. At this point it is helpful to remember that all we have to lose is what we don’t really want anyway. All we stand to lose is the false self…” 

All we stand to lose is the false self. 

It’s really amazing how tightly I would like to cling to my false self. How, especially as we go to a new place (and go back to an old place), I want to prove myself through performance and achievement and hard work and conforming to expectations and pretending to be someone I’m not. 

I don’t know what this next year holds for me. But I know that it is an opportunity for me to let go of the patterns that no longer serve me (or those around me). Barton concludes,

“To give ourselves to this process, we must trust that our true self is hidden with Christ in God, to be revealed as God sees that we are ready to live into it.” 

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