Bringing Your Full Self to Your Whole Life

“Don’t make yourself smaller in a misguided attempt to please God or men. Bring your full self to your whole life – that is a form of worship and thanksgiving. Nobody is helped by you becoming less than everything God created you to be.” – Sara Bessey

Meditations in Motion

Today is Graduation Day in our small town. We have only one public high school and seniors graduate tonight.

When I taught at that high school, in the days immediately preceding graduation, students would bring their yearbooks to me and ask me to sign them.

In addition to writing down a brief, personal memory that we shared, I always liked to give a small snippet of advice. Something that they might actually read and think about, if not in the tumult before the end of the school year, then later, in a more quiet moment.

Over the years, the message I wanted to leave with students changed as I personally evolved. The quote above from Sara Bessey summarizes the advice I gave my students at the end of my career.

Sara’s words, more eloquent than mine could ever be, represent what I finally wanted to tell my students.

God created you to be your own extraordinary, unique, awe-inspiring, stupendous self. Be what God intended for you to be. Let His light shine through you and illuminate the world with your brilliance.

Meditations in Motion

Just as no one is served by making yourself small to avoid intimidating insecure people, you do not build yourself up by tearing others down. It’s a false premise, a trap, to believe that self-confidence is a zero-sum game.  You don’t get more assurance because someone else has less.

We are all served by being our own best selves and helping others to become their best selves as well. Supporting, listening to, and encouraging people we encounter not only helps them, but it also helps us to become better people as well.

That is the message I wanted to give to my students before I sent them out into the world. That is what I hoped to instill in them and tried to model for them during the year we were together.

So much wisdom to try to cram into a small space in the yearbook.

“For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.”2 Timothy 1:7.

 

I am linking with Welcome Heart for Let’s Have Coffee, Debbie at Dare 2 Hear Amy at Live Life Well, Raisie Bay for Word of the Week, Susan B Mead for Dancing With Jesus, Embracing the Unexpected for Grace and Truth, Random-osity for Little Things Thursdays, Reflections From Me for A Blogging Good Time, Knit by God’s Hand for Thankful Thursdays, Morgan’s Milieu for Post, Comment, Love, Counting My Blessings for Faith ‘n Friends, and Worth Beyond Rubies.

Please click on the following link to read more funny or inspirational one-liners. One-Liner Wednesday.

1LinerWed

 

 

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60 comments

  1. I so know what you mean, Laurie: I want to tell all the departing eighth graders to go be as big and as astounding as they can be, and I keep wanting to repeat Dr. Suess’s words: “Today you are you/ that is truer than true/ There’s never been anyone/ You-er than you.”
    Also, one of the pleasures of living in a small town is how everyone in the community gets behind the annual rites of passage like high school graduation. Here in St. Helena, Main Street shuts down every fall for the Homecoming Parade. Considering that Main Street is also a stretch of CA 29, a state highway, that’s a testament to just how seriously we take it 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

    • You can’t go wrong with a Dr. Suess quote, Jan! We have these kids for a year and try to teach them the important stuff all year long (like be true to yourself, be kind, and honor commitments; much more important than quantum theory), but at the end of the year, there always felt like there was so much more I wanted to cram in!

      We visited St. Helena a few years ago for my nephew’s wedding. What an absolutely gorgeous town you live in!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Love your quote, the verse from Timothy and the message you have given your students. We tend to worry about what other people want us to be rather than being true to ourselves. Thanks for sharing this.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. All of your students were very lucky to have you as their teacher. Your personal notes I’m positive meant a lot to each and everyone who asked you to sign their books. Their willingness to ask you to write a comment shows me that you made a difference in their lives.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m not sure ALL of my students would agree with you, but thanks! 🙂 Making a difference in students’ lives was the reward for me (and most teachers). I miss the kids, but not the schedule!

      Liked by 1 person

      • I can imagine there were some that didn’t seem to appreciate you – in the long run, you’ve made a difference. I have a few retired teacher friends – they say the same thing. And they seem happy to be retired too. Hmm…retirement…does sound good. I’m not quite ready for it though! But, you do make it sound great…………………….!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I couldn’t agree with you more. When I was a bit despondent recently about things out of my control, a little voice said that God put me on this planet for a purpose. If more people could understand how precious they really are, they might not descend into especially self destructive habits. We can model self love and service, and pray others will find their way. Encouraging others is a wonderfully powerful thing to do.

    Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. What wonderful advice from Sara Bessey to give to your students (and to us!). “Nobody is helped by you becoming less than everything God created you to be.” I need to remember that and not shrink back from being “me.” Thanks, Laurie!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Laurie, what a great quote! It’s sometimes a fine balance of walking in the confidence God’s given us but not in a way that puffs ourselves up. I guess it comes from being comfortable with who God created us to be and walking in that.

    I didn’t know you were also a teacher. I taught elementary school MANY years ago. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • I didn’t realize you were a teacher, Jeanne! I love what Sara Bessey has to say about many topics. I think there is a difference between hubris and self-confidence. Only self-confidence leaves room to give glory to God, our creator.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I wish you’d been my teacher. Science really wasn’t my thing, but I can tell you were a great teacher!

    I think we, as women, are taught from a young age to make ourselves small. Just look at all the runners who downplay their speed — I get that it’s human nature to always see they’re someone faster, but I seriously wish women would own their speed rather than say they’re so slow.

    Or if someone compliments how we look — a simple thank you is the correct response. But usually (and I’m certainly guilty of it) we just say this old thing? or No, I was so rushed my hair is just a rat’s nest or words to that effect.

    Great advice for everyone Laurie!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Awww…thank you, Judy. That is such a kind comment!

      I wish I had thought of that. Women are taught to make ourselves look small. We diet to be tiny, we assume postures that make us smaller and we make ourselves smaller in lots of other ways too. Maybe it’s so men don’t feel threatened! 🙂

      I have a difficult time receiving a compliment well too. I sometimes think “Why don’t I just say Thanks, then shut up?”

      Liked by 1 person

  8. These are words that even as an adult, we need to be reminded of
    Graduations always tug at my heart – to see these young people move into the next big phase of their life. Such a push into adulthood. God be with all the graduates this year!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, I used to cry at almost every graduation. Before we walked into the ceremony, teachers (in our caps and gowns) would form 2 lines and the students would walk between us. We clapped while all the students walked through. That usually made the tears flow.

      Like

  9. My small town takes graduation, and other school functions, just as seriously. Just one high school, elementary school and middle school for our whole county. Your words of of wisdom and encouragement are spot on for those grads. Thanks for linking this up .

    Liked by 1 person

    • I hope it helped them too. I think women especially, may have been given the message to make themselves small. You are wise to teach your children differently!

      Like

  10. Be yourself is really the best piece of advice you can give. For a lot of my teens and 20s I tried to be what other people wanted me to be, or how I thought they wanted me to be. Ita taken a long time for me to learn who I am and love that person too.

    #abitofeverything

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Important and helpful advice for an introvert like me; I am quiet and it is natural for me to shrink as much as I possibly can. It is not always for me do as you discuss, but I work on it, forcing myself to do the uncomfortable thing…even if afraid. Thanks for sharing this. God bless you!

    Liked by 1 person

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