Afraid of Losing Myself

Afraid of Losing Myself

Hurry and go up to my father and say to him, “Thus says your son Joseph, God has made me lord of all Egypt. Come down to me; do not tarry.” Genesis 45:9

I’ve said this before, but I think it’s worth repeating – When I went to God, desperate to find recovery, he asked me to genuinely attempt to walk with him every day, abandoning my will for his. I worried that this would make me a religious nut or that he would take me to some strange, scary places. My fears were actually well-founded. I am a radically different person than I once was. If I’m honest, I must admit that others probably see me as a little weird. And God has taken me some strange places, as I now work in addiction medicine and jail. Here’s the thing though – I’m infinitely happier than I was back then. I was afraid I’d lose myself in following God but it was only in following him that I found the best version of myself. The only thing I sacrificed was the misery of my way.

I doubt I’m alone here. Most of us understand the anxiety of doing something new and the fear of becoming something different. My first days as a medical student and my first days on my first job after residency were filled with insecurities and fear of change. I liked my life the way it was. I’m afraid it’s about to become very different. The unknown future is intimidating.

I’ve got to wonder if Joseph experienced something similar. His brothers had once sold him into slavery and in that betrayal, he had a choice. He could wallow in self-pity and bitterness. Or he could do whatever God put before him to the best of his abilities. He could follow his nature, or he could follow God. In following God’s will, he had to surrender his resentments, forgiving his brothers. Did he worry about losing himself and his right to be hateful? Following God meant giving up part of himself, but it also meant finding the best version of himself. In fact, his relationships with his brothers and father could only be restored when Joseph surrendered his right to hold that old debt over his family. Reconciliation only occurred when Joseph allowed himself to be radically transformed.

Many of us fear what it will mean if we truly follow god’s will. Yes, we believe in God, but we want to do life our way, and we know that God’s will often runs contrary to ours. We fear that in following God we may lose ourselves. The only thing we surrender though, is our old misery. It’s only in following God’s will that we can become the best version of ourselves.

2 Responses

  1. Yes! Yes! Yes! I struggled with an addiction for more than 3 decades…and when I finally surrendered, I found peace, rest, and a freedom I never thought possible. God is continuing to shape and mold me into the best version I can be. Looking back, I wish that moment of surrender would have happened as a young adult. But, whatever the reason why it didn’t happen then, I live every day in gratitude for God’s love, grace, and forgiveness.

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