Would your friends use the same adjectives to describe you as you would use for yourself? Perhaps they would say, “friendly and outgoing”, while you would hesitate to use those exact words because you know that you often feel rather insecure and shy. Some of them might see you as “loving and gracious” when you know that too often you are putting on the external image of those characteristics but internally you are resentful and jealous of the success and identity others seem to have. Bringing those varying images together into a consistent and honest appraisal happens most often in the context of deep and trusted friendships and with people who are wise, well-balanced and non-judgmental. It also requires a sincere desire for integrity and consistency, which often comes through life experiences and genuine relationships.
An even bigger question one might want to consider periodically is “would God use the same adjectives to describe you as you see yourself”? Even more importantly, what are the characteristics that are most important to Him and the ones that will most clearly be a reflection of your relationship to Jesus? Isn’t it amazing that throughout Scripture God chooses individuals who know they are not adequate to do what He is asking them to do or that they are not sure His ways are the best, but that as they choose to trust in Him and to believe His promises to be with them and to strengthen them, wonderful and surprising things happen. Moses is a clear example of someone who was totally reluctant to believe he could “go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?” (Exodus 3: 11) Yet, as he listened to the Lord and heard His voice, God enabled him to be the leader of his people and to give to him the foundational beliefs and practices of the nation of Israel for centuries to come.
Whose description motivates your ideas and actions? Your own self-analysis, your friends’ or family’s portrait or the one that God has given you as His beloved, His child, His image-bearer?