One of the most annoying buzz sayings out there, (to me), is, “be the best version of yourself.” It sounds real good and “positive” on the surface… but the immediate implication is, that the “version” of myself is not good, or good enough, and that I need to improve on the version that I currently am to be… accepted? To be successful? To be likeable, loveable? Which is it? Or is it all of them for you?
The last time I was in New York, I stopped in to one of my favorite churches, V1 Church in Farmingdale. Pastor Julie was teaching the day I was there. One of the things she said, was that, “process with progress, will allow you to love every version of yourself.” This is a true statement, but why?
It’s because God loves every version of you just as you are, and you and I are made in His image. We are told that He cannot deny Himself. As the saying goes, “He loves us the way He finds us, and loves us enough to not let us stay that way.” Does that imply that the “version” of us that He finds us as is therefore “unacceptable” and has to change to be “acceptable”, or loved?
The answer of course is no. And this is the key to understanding. He loves us as we are, AND transforms us into His image. Bill? What do you mean, “His image?”
SInce I am made in His image, I contain the DNA to “become” all He created me to be, even if I have deviated way off the pathway, like I did. I was a drunken loser until I was 30 years old. Did God not love the “version” of me that I had become, by living my own way and doing my own thing? Of course He did… in fact it was Him who lit up my darkness so that I could see the way He had always had for me to go. He mercifully kept me alive so I could find that place, that next “version” of me that could begin to become all I was meant to be.
Was the drunk “version” of me any less valuable than the current “version” of me? The answer is no. The drunk version of me was me. I was very, very busy working on my testimony in these formative years. I had unlimited value to God then, and I still do today. I learned in time that whenever I chose to surrender my own way of living, that He would take me at that moment, and that His plan would continue in my life, to transform me into who I ultimately am today…. but that was me.
Without that “version” of me, the version I am today could not exist.
So don’t think that the version of who you are today is somehow invalid, and that you “strive” to not be that person, because you will leave potentially the greatest part of who you will become behind.
“Hatred of the impostor, (or the version of me I reject), is actually self-hatred. That version of me , and I, constitute one person. So contempt for the false self gives vent to hostility, which manifests itself as general irritability – an irritation at the same faults in others that we hate in ourselves. And self-hatred always results in some form of self destructive behavior.” (Adapted).
Love every version of you because God does.
BH / Content added – Brennan Manning