I am a big audiobooks guy. I am constantly listening and re-listening to books. I listen when I drive, when I work, and even when I go grocery shopping. To put my obsession into perspective, I have listened to 14 books since January…

I was recently listening to a book where the author was reflecting on her time as a small group leader. She said that her girls would “share things that are really true to themselves,” and I really didn’t understand what that meant. I felt like it was something really profound and certainly sounded great, but I didn’t know what it truly meant until recently.

I am on the tail end of the hardest season I have yet faced.

It was a time marked by severe depression and crippling anxiety. I lost all interest in the things that I once loved and inspired me. I distanced myself from my friends, students, mentors, and even my fiancé. The simplest things like getting out of bed, going to work, and eating suddenly became daunting challenges. I felt like a complete stranger in my own body.

Through therapy and medication, I was able to begin the tough road to healing. It started by simplifying everything in my life – stripping it to the bare bones. I wrote out a list of everything in my life and created a separate column titled, “keep.”

The only things that started in the “keep” column were God and Kayla (my fiancé). Everything else was on the table and I was holding everything with an open hand – even my job.

I knew that God called me to be a pastor, but I investigated why God was calling me to that and what made me a pastor. I looked at what I actually loved and what truly inspired me. Late one night, I told Kayla, “These things are the truest things about me.” I finally got it.

With that as my guide, I ruthlessly cut about two-thirds of the things in my life. I realized that there were so many things that I was doing based on an idea of who I thought I should be and who others thought I should be. 

Guys… I have never felt so free and so confident in who God created me to be. I am a better Christ-follower, pastor, friend, and partner because I know what is most true to me.

I tell you this in the hopes that you might do the same. That you might take a good look at yourself and prayerfully, thoughtfully, and ruthlessly find what is most true to who you are and live a life that reflects that. 

This doesn’t mean you live a life with no accountability and it doesn’t mean you get to avoid all of the responsibilities that come along with being an adult and person of influence. This means that you live a life that is authentic to who God created you to be.