The Magnificent and The Seedy

Filed under Feed Your Strength on Mar 07 12 by

A driving passion in my life is to search for what feeds our strength and conversely, what feeds our weakness. I didn’t come by those phrases randomly. Years ago, I stepped out on my deck with a God-question, seriously wanting an answer. I asked why some girls and women seem anxious, fearful, and in less control of their days while others, often under even more adverse circumstances, walk through life with confidence and power. I limited my question to ladies who, as Christ-followers, have access to the power of Christ. I believe an answer came into my heart that set off my passion: Feed your strength. Three little words but how profound! If more of our daily decisions fed our strength than our weakness, strength would surely grow.

Our daily view of self will either feed us well or take us down. It is easy to hear the worst about ourselves, but what if we take a more balanced look? Yes, we are flawed and misbehaving, but we are also beautiful and gifted. Better said, we are made up of the magnificent and the seedy. Isn’t it exciting to think of yourself as magnificent? Isn’t it disconcerting to imagine that you could be seedy?

Your Magnificent Self

God says that you are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14, NIV), so that’s a start. But since there is this inescapable thing called personal responsibility, you have to apply energy and self-control to find your magnificent self.

You have a unique combination of gifts and experiences that to make you a powerful force to change lives for the better through love and service. At the end of the day (and at the end of your life), it is this repeated productivity that fills you and completes you. This version of life lived is your magnificent self.

Your search begins with listening to your heart; what is it urging you to do? Then, develop your self-control and skills through time with God, intentional scheduling of your day, and picking yourself up every time you fall off-course. You want to be headed in the direction of discovering how you fit into this world. Because you are wired to be useful and productive, your dream, when lived out, will translate into lives transformed by your love and service.

Your Seedy Self

Alas, there is your seedy side. It is petulant, whiny, entitled and emotionally draining. It goes back to the voices in your head that we looked at in the first installment of Feed Your Strength. When you indulge the whispers of “it’s not fair” or “why don’t I have…” or “if only I had her life” or “why isn’t life easier,” you are more easily defeated and occupied by the pursuit of the seedy.

Your seedy self will, if left unchecked, get in the way of what you were created to do. The life or set of lives that you can impact through your love and service will remain unchanged if you let each day slip by untended. Daydreams and what-ifs will leave you frustrated and feeling incomplete.

Are there models to inspire us?

Because I believe that God loves to teach us, I am always looking for Him in unusual places. I think He messages us through the Bible and through others, of course, but also in movies, music, and books – even secular ones. For me, He showed up in Bella’s quest in the Twilight series. To the average person, the story appears to be about vampires and werewolves (or more technically, shape-shifters). But the story is also about the incredible weaving of effort and faith and the belief that there is a dream worth fighting for. Bella, thoroughly human, falls in love with a vampire. Her best friend is a werewolf. Since vampires and werewolves are natural enemies, she is constantly walking a tightrope of danger as she tries to right her upside-down world.

Her heart is urging her to chase both of these worlds and somehow bring them together to live in harmony simply because she loves them both. For the most part, the books express the battle in her mind–the times she feels like a failure, her frustration with the people with whom she is dealing, and the outright fear and danger she repeatedly collides with. Yet, she perseveres. It is her love and service for Edward and Jacob and all of their counterparts that drive the story and the outcome.
The amazing thing about Bella is that she underestimated herself. She thought she was too plain, too weak, and too uninteresting to capture the heart of Edward, but she answered the call of the mysterious force that drove her. She didn’t let her conclusions about herself, right or wrong, derail the dream she chased which moved her toward her magnificent self.

I know Twilight is fiction, but I want to be Bella-esque. I want to chase my dream of righting some part of my world that I have the tools and love and service to impact. I want to wake up every morning and put my day in God’s hands. I might not know if I will be alive at the end of the day, but I believe that I will have taken a step toward my dream. This is finding my magnificent self and living out of its empowering and energizing productivity.

On Becoming Bella-esque

1. Set aside time to ponder what dream is calling out to your heart. Ask God to make it clear. It will always be a wrestling match to find this dream and chase it. Though Bella didn’t “ask God,” she certainly wrestled against her seedy self to keep moving to the magnificent.

2. Don’t settle for the world’s perspective on your dream. It will probably tell you to back off and just live a quiet, unchallenged life. Bella, in believing that two natural enemies could somehow be brought together, went against all logic. The fuel of belief in her dream came from within, from the imagining and perseverance of her magnificent self.

3. Step into this magnificent self and live the life you are designed to live. Bella, at series’ end, has discovered a gifting about herself that no one saw coming, least of all herself. The wrestling, conviction, hard work and seemingly impossible quest all fell into place as she understood the depth and power of her magnificent self and its purpose in loving and serving the lives around her.

We cannot fully escape our seedy selves. I think the greatest tool for making our seedy side as inconsequential as possible is to develop and share our magnificent selves. The magnificent you is fearfully and wonderfully made by none other than God Himself. The world is waiting on you to unleash His version of magnificent that only you can bestow.

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Debi White
Debi is a former NC elementary teacher and middle school principal. As an educator, she was keenly aware of the need to inspire students and teachers, helping each to understand what keeps the heart melted and learning and productivity strong. She left education to research, on a broader scale, how each of us can move from exile to freedom in every area of our lives. For daily inspiration, check out her blog at feedyourstrength.com.