Your Best Version

It’s an exciting season in our home. When I say “season,” I’m talking season ten of The Voice. There is rarely an evening during the week our family is home together; therefore, we have marathon viewings of the show over the weekend.

We’re somewhat new fans of the show. We’ve watched it from time-to-time, but last season we were blown away with the blind auditions. Barrett Baber sang one of my favorites, “Angel Eyes” by The Jeff Healey Band. But you know what had us captivated from the get-go, Jordan Smith’s rendition of Sia’s “Chandelier.” His story and message touched us as deeply as his vocals. We were tuned in to the very last episode when he was announced the winner.

Here we are now, back to snatching some time to snuggle on the sofa and watch our singing show. We’ve enjoyed seeing the unique artistic expression delivered in singing original hit songs. The contestants are quite talented in making a song their own, while keeping with the aspects audiences love most about the song. They can’t change it too much or we wouldn’t connect with it. And if they didn’t change it enough, we’d find it unoriginal. It’s a balancing act; one that appears to make them thrive.

Their performances demonstrate just how many different versions can be made from just one song. And that makes me realize how very much we are like a song.

A pleasant sound fell on my ears last fall when my friend and I were driving in the car. With a belt of laughter she exclaimed, “Heathe, you are like one big exclamation mark!” I loved that description. Some have said, “loud.” Some are subtler saying my “voice carries.” And yes, I’ve been informed that some have determined I talk too much.

At times I’ve allowed this feedback to soak in, trying to grow from it. It’s all in the balance, like those artists balancing originality with nostalgia. The desire is to grow into the best version of myself. Because you know what? Just like a song, we have different versions of ourselves.

It’s a conversation I had with one of the kids recently. We discussed a few different points when considering what makes us the best version of ourselves.

First, we are uniquely made. We love Psalm 139 imagining how we were knit together in our mother’s womb. We find comfort knowing the Lord is familiar with all our ways; we have security knowing He goes before us and follows us and that His hand of blessing is on our head. When we’re sharpening ourselves to be better, let us start with the One who made us.

One of our children has made the statement, “I’m just trying to find myself.” Honestly, it irritated me. I know it’s normal. I know those are thoughts we’ve all expressed in our quest for personal identity. But there’s a misconception in it. The world implies you’ll find yourself if you venture into a variety of places, trying an assortment of things. Yes, I’m being vague. I’ll allow you to fill in the “places” and “things.” The possibilities are innumerable. The point is, we’re not going to find our true self wrapped up in a package under some tree in the Wild Blue Yonder. Finding ourselves is found in seeking the One who made us. As we seek the Lord, He reveals who He designed us to be— the best version at that.

Secondly, we have to be mindful of the company we keep. We’ve witnessed what is mentioned in I Corinthians 15:33, bad company corrupting good character. Many times we take this scripture and pair it with II Corinthians 6:14, “Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?”

A great Word to direct us in the relationships we form. But remember, there is more to building close relationships than labeling someone as a believer. There’s been a lot of characteristics I’ve seen in the church that I know doesn’t make our Father proud. Yes, some of them even coming from yours truly.

I remember a close friend who was a great person, and loved the Lord. However, she was really negative. She had frequent complaints about her husband and her in-laws. After some time, I found similar critical thoughts crossing my mind. God was super gracious to reveal that my friendship with her wasn’t bringing out the best version of myself.

Finally, on the thought of friendship, we need a pride.

Last year my heart was greatly encouraged by reading Lisa Bevere’s Lioness Arising. It’s a book speaking to the strength of women and the importance of women in the lives of one another. God is so good to give us family, friends and a church to groom us through the journey of life.

Lisa informs us that lionesses groom each other’s hard to reach areas, the head and neck. She says, “Because we belong to Jesus, we are clean. But even so, in the course of a day, our feet can get dirty, and sometimes, depending on where we’ve been or what we’ve done or worn, our feet can even get stinky.” She connects this to Jesus washing the disciples feet in John 13 saying, “the foot washing symbolizes how we can refresh and restore each other, especially when the paths we tread get us dirty.”

The point is—we need one another. Allow me to share a final thought of Lisa’s with you, “friendships and churches without connection and interaction will not groom you for God’s purpose.”

God intends to use us to strengthen, encourage and uplift one another. Let me tell you, I’ve been in some miry clay this past year. I’ve had some mountaintop moments accompanied by as many valley low heartaches. How would I have pressed through without the connections and interactions the Lord provided to groom me from my special relationships?

Three things to keep in mind: you are uniquely made, seek the Lord to lead you as He designed you; be mindful of the company you keep exerting caution around negative emotion; have your people, we all need restored and refreshed from time-to-time.

It makes for a beautiful picture and a beautiful sound….

the best version of you!

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[Lioness Arising, Chapter 7 – Lisa Bevere]

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