Being the Best I Can Be

All too frequently I wake up to find I have a new ache or pain. Sometimes it goes away. Sometimes it doesn’t.

Why should that surprise me? I’m seventy now. I’ll turn seventy-one this coming Saturday. While I’m not nearly as old as I hope God will permit me to become before I die, I have no choice but to either accept the fact that my body has been deteriorating since birth or hold a pity party I won’t invite anyone else to because I know nobody wants or needs to listen to me complain.

Fortunately, my mind still seems to be in reasonably good condition. I say “reasonably” because, like many of my younger peers, I catch myself forgetting more and more of those everyday words none of us can live without. So far I only forget familiar people’s names when I’m not with them, but I anticipate the day that will change.

Being the best I can be? That sounds like a real challenge since the best possible seems to be shrinking beyond my ability to control.

What does “being the best I can be” really mean, anyhw?

I’ve come to a definite conclusion. Whatever I may be good at, being the best I can be doesn’t involve comparing myself with other people. It has to do with using what I am and what I have in a way that pleases God. The fact that I’m not the best guitarist or bass guitar player in the world isn’t important.

Or the best novelist. I haven’t made it to the New York Times best seller list yet and don’t expect to.

What matters is my willingness–my desire–to use my talents in a godly way. If I’m able to do my best playing bass for the worship services and Christmas musical, if I’m willing to do my best providing a guitar accompaniment and doing a weekly solo at the nursing home ministry, I should be pleased.

Neither do I need to become a best-selling author. If I write the books God inspires me to write, if He helps me to publish the ones He wants published, if the people He wants to buy and read them and get from them what He wants them to get, I should be thrilled.

Perhaps it’s time to measure “the best I can be” in a different way. Not from the limited way I view my own talents and abilities, but from knowing God gave them to me for a reason. He wants me to use them for Him.

I treasure the sayings, “I’m a work in progress” and “God’s not finished with me yet.” I’ll never be the very best I can be in any area of my life  until He has finished with me. And that won’t happen until I come home to Heaven.

Better to hope for His “Well done, good and faithful servant” than to fret about my shortcomings and inconsistencies here on earth. As long as I’m honestly trying to let Him make me a better person–the best person I can be–He’ll use whatever talents I have in whatever way He desires. What more can I ask for than that?

Your comments are always welcome.

I’ll be back again next Sunday. If you’d like to receive my posts by email, go to “Follow Blog via Email” at the upper right.

Best regards,
Roger

    

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The Me I Want to Be

Last night, our Bible Study group started a new series of lessons using a DVD and print materials from John Ortberg. It’s called The Me I Want to Be. Fascinating topic. And so very relevant.

Some people might wonder why I–at sixty-eight–would find that topic so relevant. After all, I’m not only growing older day by day, but have reached the point where change that isn’t forced on me isn’t likely to happen. So, doesn’t that mean I’m already as much “the me I want to be” as I’m ever going to be?

Now that’s a scary thought. Although I can see progress in many areas of my life–I’m much more patient, kind, and thoughtful than I used to be–I still haven’t reached all of my life’s goals. Furthermore, I don’t expect to.

But that doesn’t mean I’m going to be satisfied with myself and stop growing.

Mr. Ortberg lists some counterfeit versions of me:

  • The “me” I pretend to be
  • The “me” I think I should be
  • The “me” other people want me to be
  • The “me” I’m afraid God wants
  • The “me” that fails to be

But then he concludes that the best version of me is…

  • The “me” I’m meant to be.

You might want to check out his book  for more of an in-depth look at this whole idea.

I’d like to believe I’ve passed the point of pretending to be someone I’m not or trying to live up to other people’s expectations. I much prefer just being myself. If I’m slow at times, if I’m overly careful about some things and careless about others, if I’m a million-and-one other ways that fail to meet my own expectations, why fret about it?

That doesn’t mean I’m satisfied with myself, however. I’m declining physically–maybe even mentally at times–but “the ‘me’ I’m meant to be” still gives me something to shoot for. Not unrealistic goals. I’m not apt to turn from a super-quiet introvert into the life of the party, for example. Or to become a well-known singer/songwriter.

I don’t believe God ever intended for me to be either of those things. According to the Bible, He knew what I would be like long before my birth. He gave me strengths and weaknesses and inclinations–everything that makes me me.

But He also gave me the desire to love Him and want to become the person He wants me to be. That doesn’t mean following a set of rules.

Yes, there are things a Christian should do–and some he shouldn’t do. But the important thing is trusting God enough to place my life fully in His hands. Not just when things are going wrong, but when they’re going well and I might be tempted to think I’ responsible for my success.

Being “the ‘me’ I’m meant to be” requires walking daily with God. Not trying to walk ahead of Him as if I think so highly of myself that I think I don’t have to let things happen in His time. And not falling behind as if I’m fearful that He isn’t able to bring me safely through every valley.

What are your thoughts about this subject? Are you the “me” God means for you to be, or are you one of the counterfeit versions of “me”? Please share a comment if you feel led to.

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I’ll be back again on Wednesday. If you’d like to receive my posts by email, just go to “Follow Blog via Email” at the upper right.

“On Aging Gracelessly” isn’t my only blog. I post lyrics of the Christian songs I’ve written over the last fifty years on “As I Come Singing”–check it out HERE. Free lead sheets (tune, words, and chords) are available for many of them. View the list HERE.

Be on the lookout for my next novel, The Devil and Pastor Gus, which releases on November 25.

Best regards,
Roger