True Self.  New Self.  False Self.  Old Self.  Surface Self.  Real Self.  Religious Self.  What’s with all these “Selves”?

The Religious Self uses religious practices and spiritual talk to cover up what we believe to be a very unlovable and unlikable person.

The Real Self is honest and vulnerable, but rarely makes appearances because of past pain caused by reactions to the honesty and vulnerability.

The Surface Self comes out at social engagements where it’s easier to protect yourself and splash around in the shallow end.

The Old Self “is being corrupted by its deceitful desires” and is to be “put off” (Ephesians 4:22).

The False Self is driven by the need to hide or to be accepted and “is fabricated by social compulsions” (Henri Nouwen).

The True Self is the “new self which is being renewed…in the image if its Creator” (Colossians 3:10).  It emerges, most always painstakingly, out of the old cast of pretense into the light of truthfulness.


The New Self is what the world sees when “Christ is formed in you” (Galatians 4:19).

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Jesus, most of the time I’m terribly confused about my own self.


In the spirit of Tozer, “I want to want Thee.”  My soul yearns for You, but it also yearns for other things—revenge, a nicer car, a trouble-free life, and validation from others.  I say that You are “more than enough” for me, but when I have the option to choose You above all others, why do I sometimes not choose You?   


Lord, You’re good at knocking the props out from under me and asking me to stand with only You holding me up.  Only You.  You.  You have the audacity to ask me to live what I talk about.  You peel away my False Self layer by layer and leave my heart exposed and naked to the harsh elements of reality and to the warm glow of the Radiant Son. 


Potter, I am the clay.  Pound me.  Shepherd, I am a little helpless lamb.  Lead me.  Master, I am Your servant.  Command me.  Father, I am Your child.  Hold me.  Friend, I am honored to be Your friend.  Stick with me close.  Lover, I am Your Beloved Bride.  Woo me.  May there be no other but You.  God, I am my Truest Self when I am the surrendered clay, the helpless lamb, the loyal servant, the obedient and vulnerable child, the faithful friend, and the radiant Beloved. 



Today’s guest blogger Jamie Overholser is the founder of The Jacob Institute where he seeks to live out his true self in his vocation as a teacher, retreat leader, preacher, writer and director of a spiritual formation program.  He is an Affiliate Partner with CenterQuest.


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