The Power Of Proximity

One of the most common issues I receive questions about revolves around a two-fold question. “Who am I and what do I want to do?” This problem plays out in a circle because our society places more weight on what someone does than who someone is. Let me show you what I mean. When someone asks you, “Who are you?” your inclined to give them your name. Your name is NOT who you are, but is an easy label of identification.

When someone asks you, “What do you do?” how do you respond?

For the majority of the world, the answer aligns with a profession or job. For hundreds of years we have taken much, if not all, of our identity from what we do. Many last names are derived from the profession of the person… carpenter, miller, smith, etc. We have become so accustomed to our professions being the source of our self-image and our names being the measure of who we are; we have lost our sense of something very important… our selves. If you really want to figure out what to do with your life in a professional capacity, you first need to know who you are beyond your name. When you know who are, a profession is only an extension of who you are. Working out the expression of your calling and identity can happen in a variety of contradictory circumstances. You are a unique expression of  God, and as such you carry a signature presence. Its effect on the environment is stronger when you are filled with God’s Spirit.  The opposite is also true—people can be filled with other spirits and their presence can wear you down, intimidate and inhibit, or provoke you to unwise acts. Make a decision to monitor your “state” and take note of how others affect you. Never surrender your internal freedom to an external influence. If you are not stronger (I did not say better) than the one influencing you, it would be wise to leave their presence and engage when you are better advantaged.

PROXIMITY IS POWER

It is always amazing to me that change occurs in my life just by being around people.Proverbs says over and over again that wise people make relationships a choice, not a coincidence. Proverbs 14:7 Leave the presence of a fool, for there you do not meet words of knowledge. We’re going to end up doing what the people we spend the most time with are doing.  Wisdom is looking to the future and seeing what we can do now to be the people that we want to be in the years to come. And that means it is wisdom to limit certain people from influencing your life, and seeking others out who are living the life that you want, need, and were made by God to have. Not “meeting words of knowledge” like it says in the verse, is more than just a lack of information. It’s talking about a deficit of truth within the relationship.Wisdom is a must in relationships, especially in a society that puts so much emphasis on feelings and desires. Wisdom will allow you to manage your feelings and desire what is truly the best for you, not just what feels right now. We all must understand the power of proximity, it’s just cause and effect it  increases your attentiveness, and allows you to grasp a situation. Sometimes you may have to go to the geographical place God’s calling you to go before the other pieces will fall into place.

This will require a period of transition, Transition is the phase of life and process that is meant to form congruence within you. Transition is a phase where some things are ending. There is a change coming to the way you think and feel—a change in your very identity. Transition moves you toward the alignment of your ultimatecalling and the unveiling of your true God identity as a man or woman in His image. The cool thing is that who you are can be expressed through any number of professions. Contrary to what so many of us seem to think; what I do does not equal who I am. When you utter what God says in the sphere you are called to, your words have an effect. Your utterance is one of the demonstrations of the unique expression of God that is meant to flow through you, and it affects the atmosphere at several levels. It can literally shift a room full of people or key individuals one way or another. The people you are called to impact will feel the impact of who you are.

So who are you?

To begin, make a list of things you love. What are the commonalities of those things? What are the common traits that surface in you while doing those things? What are things you got in trouble for as a kid or adult? Just because the people in charge decided it was subversive doesn’t mean that it is. It’s more likely that the thing which got you in trouble was a gift of yours, overextended due to immaturity. Even more likely is that is wasn’t really a big deal but was inconvenient for them. What came out of you in those moments? What are the things you stopped doing because someone told you to stop showing off? Maybe you outshined everyone around you so badly that the backlash caused you to see it as bad. Don’t kid yourself into thinking that playing small is humility. It isn’t.  Look at the list and attach some descriptive words. Use bold, expressive words that stir you. These are closer to describing who you are than any profession could.

For example; I can look at my life and easily identify recurring traits that get me very close to telling me who I am. Words like radical, extreme, encourager, influential, teacher, and fighter are easy indicators for me. You could take a snap shot of various times of my life and see these in various forms throughout. Here’s where I may lose you though, because they only tell part of the story. Those traits in me or whatever the traits are for you are like bullets without a gun. Their power is not in themselves but in the proper combination with something that guides and activates them. I spent many years letting those traits fly wildly or lay dormant in response to the environment around me. Regardless of the kind of people or situations, those traits could come out but were seldom guided. It is like going into a job just because you can meet the task requirements. Being able to execute tasks is one thing, but having a framework that activates and guides who I am is another. In this situation we feel stifled, frustrated, and disempowered because of the mismatch. Regardless of the tasks or title of a job, if it doesn’t provide room for me, I’ll never excel. There is one more aspect to this conversation that plays a bigger role in who you are than even the traits that describe you: the One that created you with those traits.

The traits I carry around have enormous potential… for huge amounts of damage if not guided and activated properly. I could get lucky and find a job that does a decent job of this, but I’m still limited once I leave that job and go home. Job duties seldom translate to the rest of my life. Only when I identify with who I am in God and what He has for me do I gain the perspective and context of the traits and gifts I possess. The context of His love and purpose in my life lets the traits spread out through my entire existence for the purpose of good. Nothing escapes. And that is where I want to leave you with your thoughts. Who are you? What can you learn from your loves, challenges, and the excellence inside ? If you were able to wake everyday knowing you could be 100% yourself… what would that be worth? And if you have yet to explore who you are in the context of who God created you to be, please do. It is not only part of who I am to ask the question, but to care about the answer. Please let me know.

Become a better you!

JR

 

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