Identity is a pretty big deal. Businesses large and small focus on their “brand”, the mark that identifies them. People all over seek out tests humorously and seriously to help them discover who they are and who they were created to be. I think that discovering who you truly are and what you were created to do is one of the most critical things that each of us can do. I believe that when we each are operating in our truest identity, not only are we more fulfilled, but so is the world around us.
I recently watched Disney’s Moana for the first time. I know, I know… I’m not known for keeping up with new releases. I also watched Disney’s new Beauty and the Beast. I’ve read some of the blogs about both, and I find it interesting that what you see depends a great deal on what you’re looking for, what you’re going through, or what you’ve been through. What struck me most in both of these films was the consequences of both Moana and the Beast stepping into their true identity.
Interestingly, Moana came out a year ago, as did my second book written with my friends and collaborators, Seneca and Del. Accessing Your Spiritual Inheritance shares experiences that we’ve all had in gaining access to what our ancestors failed to claim, refused to claim, or were unable to claim for whatever reason. We are currently working on what we think will be Book 2.
I’ve become increasingly convinced that working towards freedom, dealing with our baggage, and all that I help people do isn’t just for us. That’s true in relationships: if I don’t react to you out of woundedness, then I am far less likely to wound you in turn. It’s true in work settings: if I am able to participate and produce at my highest capacity and abilities, then the entire work environment/business/system is able to function better increasing profits, customer service, etc.
With that as my background thought process, then it may not surprise you that when I saw Moana, I could see how she grew into her individual identity, of course. She encouraged Maui that he was Maui with or without his hook or the accolades of men. She recognized and reminded Te Fiti of who she really was inside the monster of Te Ka and restores her heart, thus saving her people and her island from the blight. but what struck me was that by accepting and operating in her identity she not only set herself and these other characters free, but she set her entire island free.
Moana learns that her ancestors were voyagers and it was through fear that sailing ceased. Fear kept all those on the island from going outside of the reef. They forgot who they were. It’s not that they had a bad life, it just wasn’t the life they were created to live. When Moana accepts the call of the sea and discovers herself, she returns and shows her people how to sail, returning them to their inheritance of fearless way finders. Her freedom set her entire people group free.
Beauty and the Beast has a similar message, though outside of a familial or ancestral setting. I’m sure you’re familiar with the storyline: the cruel prince is turned into a beast until he can learn to love and be loved in return. But, not only was he imprisoned, his entire castle staff was as well. And, when the beast remembers who he is and learns to love and is loved in returned, his entire castle is set free as well. Again, one person coming into their true identity sets a large number of other people free as well.
I’m convinced that this is true of us as well. Being or becoming all we were created to be and doing all we were created to do is of critical importance for our community at large. Not only for us as individuals, and not even just for our families and bloodlines, but for the world as a whole. The Bible talks about God creating us to do good works (Ephesians 2:10). Paul tells us that creation itself awaits our grasping of our identities as the sons and daughters of God so that it can be freed from the tyranny of sin (Romans 8:19-20). That’s a pretty awesome charge.
I’m convinced that it is the ultimate adventure.
Pushing beyond what we’ve always thought.
Unveiling who we were meant to be.
Releasing that freedom to others in our wake.
No animal sidekick required!
I’ve been contemplating that question for a while now. Prosperity has rather mixed reviews in Christian circles. I just read a headline accusing someone of being a “prosperity gospel” preacher. I’m not overly familiar with that preacher and the who doesn’t matter as much as the interesting dichotomy that we have on the topic of money – which is what most people jump to when they hear the word prosper.
On the one hand, there are those who give up all their earthly possessions and often live in poverty level conditions to follow God. Their poverty has become a badge of honor and a sign of their holiness. And then there are the prosperity gospel people who declare that God is the giver of wealth, and having lots of money is a sign of God’s pleasure and favor with you. It’s no wonder that each extreme considers the other heretical.
Here’s the thing – and is where both camps may unite and call me the heretic – you can find Biblical support for both positions. God often demonstrated his favor on others by giving them wealth as well as giving them the skills and abilities to create and acquire wealth, and He has also called various people to give up everything and follow him without a visible means of support. I don’t want to get into all of that here – suffice it to say it’s enough to make me question either extreme.
But if your soul is prospering does that mean money? I don’t think it does. And in this case, we have simplified a word and stripped it of a greater meaning that we would do well to regain. Kind of like the word shalom, which we have nearly neutered to peace – but that’s a topic for another day.
Beloved, I pray that in all respects you may prosper and be in good health, just as your soul prospers.
3 John 1:2 NASB
This is the verse that keeps weaving through my thoughts. John is writing his friend Gaius, and this is how he begins his letter to him. It had been a while since I read this little book, and I think I may hang out here for a while – but for now let’s focus on this prayer that Gaius would prosper even as his soul prospers… The word that he uses here, transliterated euodoo means the following:
to grant a prosperous and expeditious journey, to lead by a direct and easy way
to grant a successful issue, to cause to prosper
to prosper, be successful
In ALL respects, he says. I like to keep things simple – I think all means all. So what would this “all” encompass? It would at least include body, mind, and spirit. It would include those internal things, but also the external. And, yes, I think it includes money. But notice the last, intriguing part of the verse: even as your soul prospers. The word used for soul can also be translated as breath or life force.
I propose, that this is a pretty significant key – that the root of our success and prospering in anything is that our soul prospers first. Another verse, the latter part of Matthew 12:34 says that out of the abundance of our heart, our mouth speaks. Again, the more outward expression is dependent on the inward reality.
And this is where the core questions have to be asked, answered, and settled. Is God who he says he is? Who does he say that he is? Who does he say that I am?
Is God a God of abundance and enough?
Is God for me or against me?
Is God helping or hurting me?
Dos God want me to prosper even as my soul prospers?
As a side note – herein lies the difficulty that many find with the law of attraction, it isn’t that our words don’t have power because they do. It’s that there is too much difference between what you are saying and what your soul believes. If there is a disconnect here – you might manifest something – but it’s not likely to be what you are hoping for unless and until there is greater coherence in your soul. You are free to prosper in all things – as your soul prospers. Look after your soul – it’s pretty powerful!
You need to heal those inner wounds and believe the truth. And, I’ve got some things that may help:
Grab the tool that you need to help set yourself free from lack and limitations – and access prosperity in all areas as your soul prospers.