You word is a lamp on my feet, a light on my path” (Psalm 119).
In a previous piece I wrote about how listening to too many opinions can make it hard to hear God’s voice. This dovetails with another thing that can drown out God’s voice; an unclear sense of identity; not really knowing what you like and don’t like etc..
I used to obsess over everyone’s advice and opinions because in addition to lacking a clear identity, what sense of self I did have usually came from people, places and things outside of myself. Since I didn’t really know who I was, deep down I was unconsciously hoping other people would show me.
But how do you even know who to listen to when you don’t know who you are? That’s the problem, you don’t.
Making decisions (even small ones) can be agonizing because so many things live in that ‘lack of identity’ void. Things like fear, anxiety, paranoia, guilt, and shame camp there because when other people determine your identity you’re on a continual roller coaster ride. Why? Because other people are the one thing you can’t change or predict. When so much is wrapped up in what others think, it leaves only one option-perfection.
I felt I needed to be perfect at all times to be loved. That’s one of the reasons why not knowing who you are makes it hard to hear Gods voice.
It’s because the need for approval drives the ship-not God. In a sense, that need for approval becomes your identity.
This might sound kind of cheesy, but one thing that really helped me was simply paying attention to myself; my feelings, likes and dislikes. Those were things I had ignored most of my life. (I will get into why in my next post.) I also had to pray that God would heal me and tear away my need for approval no matter how much it hurt…and it did hurt, really bad. But, it was the only way for me to hear Him.
I also had to pray for revelation about everything I just told you. You can’t begin to figure out who you are until you realize you don’t know, and it’s hard to stop letting other people’s thoughts and opinions control you until you know you’re allowing it to happen in the first place.
Knowing is half the battle.