The Me I Want to Be Student Edition: Becoming God's Best Version of You

The Me I Want to Be Student Edition: Becoming God's Best Version of You

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Overview

Maybe you’ve gone to church and just not felt like you were connecting to the service like everyone else. Perhaps you have been trying to get closer to God but simply hit block after block and feel more frustrated than faith-filled each time you sit down to pray or worship. Or maybe you feel like you are doing okay spiritually, but feel you’re missing something you can’t quite define. And on top of everything else, you’re simply trying to figure out who you really are inside and what you’re supposed to be doing with your life.

The good news is you’re not alone, and you don’t have to feel discouraged. Though in the pages of The Me I Want to Be Teen Edition, bestselling author John Ortberg focuses on what makes you who you are, looking at how you spend your time, your unique experiences, your relationships, and your overall world to help you see where you are now, as well as providing exercises and quizzes that help uncover God’s plan for you and the positive directions you can now go. Find out what it can look like when you discover what the best version of you looks like, as well as the life God has always desired you to have.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780310748632
Publisher: Zondervan
Publication date: 09/16/2014
Edition description: Student
Pages: 192
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.60(d)
Age Range: 13 - 18 Years

About the Author

John Ortberg is the senior pastor of Menlo Park Presbyterian Church (MPPC) in the San Francisco Bay Area. His bestselling books include Soul Keeping, Who Is This Man?, and If You Want to Walk on Water, You’ve Got to Get out of the Boat. John teaches around the world at conferences and churches, writes articles for Christianity Today and Leadership Journal, and is on the board of the Dallas Willard Center and Fuller Seminary. He has preached sermons on Abraham Lincoln, The LEGO Movie, and The Gospel According to Les Miserables. John and his wife Nancy enjoy spending time with their three adult children, dog Baxter, and surfing the Pacific. You can follow John on twitter @johnortberg or check out the latest news/blogs on his website at www.johnortberg.com.



Scott Rubin has been on staff at Willow Creek Community Church for 18 years, and he's currently the director of Elevate, the junior high ministry at Willow Creek. Scott, along with an entirely-fantastic team of staff and volunteer leaders, has the privilege of helping young adolescents follow Jesus. He also co-authored two books in the Middle School Survival Series with Mark Oestreicher.

Read an Excerpt

The Me I Want to Be


By John Ortberg, Scott Rubin

ZONDERVAN

Copyright © 2010 John Ortberg
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-310-74863-2



CHAPTER 1

Learn Why God Made You


Do you ever ask the question, What am I doing here?

Do you ever wonder, out of all the people walking around on this planet, Why did God make me?

One week it was all the rage on Facebook to replace your profile picture with the photo of a celebrity who could be your double or look-alike. Some call it your doppelgänger, which means "double-goer." I noticed a lot of people chose extremely attractive celebrities for their doppelgangers and claimed that people say they look "just like them." I wondered if some of those people might need contact lenses.

There are around seven billion people living on planet Earth. 7,000,000,000. That's a lot of people. And there are no "repeats." No doubles. No "extras." Absolutely every individual on this globe is a person who God meant to be here.

So, if God really wants us here, have you ever considered this next question?

What do you really want?

What I really want is to be fully alive inside. What I really want is the freedom to live in love and excitement and wonder and passion. What I want is to Really Live.

But there are a lot of other things people get preoccupied with, aren't there? When you're in school, you can be absorbed with getting good grades or getting cute people to like you. As the years go by, lots of people become preoccupied with jobs and families and hobbies. But I believe God made us for much more than just being preoccupied with things ... even good things.

I want to Really Live more than I want anything else. Not because I think I'm supposed to, and not because it says somewhere that I should—I want it.

There is a me I want to be.

Life is not about any particular achievement or experience. The most important mission of your life is not what you do but who you become.

There is a me you want to be, too.

Ironically, just as no one becomes happy if the main goal is happiness, becoming this person will never happen to you or to me if our primary focus is on us. God made you to Really Live—but Really Living never happens by looking out for number one. It's tied to a grander and better vision. The world badly needs human beings who are Really Living, and you and I are called to bring God's wisdom and glory to the world through Really Living.

The truth is, those who Really Live always bring blessings to others—and they can do so in the most unexpected and humble circumstances.


" What Does It Mean to "Really Live" This Life?

There are two school bus drivers. Both drivers are safe and run their routes on time, but that's where the similarities seem to end.

The first bus driver picks up students, but he never really looks them in the eye. He doesn't acknowledge them when they hop on the bus in the morning, or when they drag themselves back on the bus after a long day at school. He's not super-mean, but he's crabby when students laugh too loud. He's focused on getting them where they need to go, but he has a brain full of personal concerns and worries that he's keeping track of, too. He's never learned the names of any of the students on his route; maybe because of that, none of the kids know his name, either.

The other bus driver's name is Phil. Students are pretty tired in the morning, but just a few weeks into the school year, Phil greeted them all by name as they boarded the bus. Often he'll notice if they're carrying projects for one of their classes and ask if they need extra room for them. He lets the kids vote on which radio station plays during the ride, and on Fridays he turns up the volume a little louder. Students like telling jokes to Phil, and he'll often have one to tell them in return. And if somebody's running late, that student can count on Phil to wait an extra minute as the student runs down the street to catch the bus. Phil has a brain full of personal concerns and worries, too; but while he's on that bus route, he's more than just a driver—he's the leader of the bus. Phil is moving toward the best version of himself.

Are you sometimes like that first bus driver—the one who can't get beyond himself to show love toward others? We all are, in different ways and at different times. But even when you're acting like the first bus driver, sometimes you do something that surprises you—and you catch a glimpse of the person you were made to be. You say something encouraging in a classroom. At school you talk to the kid who most people completely ignore. You're patient with an irritating little brother. You lose yourself in a song. You show compassion. You stand up to a bully. You willingly make a gift that costs you something. You forgive someone who hurt you. You say something you'd normally never say, or you stop yourself from saying something you'd normally blurt out.

As you do these things, you get a glimpse of why God made you. Only God knows your full potential, and God's guiding you toward that best version of yourself all the time. God has lots of tools and is never in a hurry. This waiting can be frustrating; but even in your frustration, God is at work to produce patience in you. God never gets discouraged by how long it takes, and God's thrilled every time you grow. Only God can see the "best version of you," and God is more concerned with your reaching your full potential than you are.

"For we are God's handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do."

You are not your handiwork; your life is not your project. Your life is God's project. God thought you up, and God knows what you were intended to be. Did anyone ever ask you, "What do you want to be when you grow up?" Did you ever feel like maybe you should have an answer—even when you don't have one? Well, God has an answer. God wants you to be the best possible version of you! God has many good works for you to do, but God's good work isn't like homework or chores. God's good work points you back to your true self.

Your "spiritual life" isn't just about stuff like going to church, reading your Bible, and praying a prayer; it's about receiving power from the Spirit of God to become the person God had in mind when God thought you up.


" Where Growth Leads

God made you to Really Live—to get strength from outside yourself, create energy within yourself, and give blessing beyond yourself. Really Living is God's gift and plan. And when you Really Live, you're synched up with God, other people, creation, and yourself. Really Living isn't measured by outward signs such as chasing after honors or awards or getting more possessions or trying to be really attractive. It means becoming the person God had in mind when God created you.

Really Living means moving toward God's best version of you.

As God helps you grow, you'll change; but you'll always be you. An acorn can grow into an oak tree, but it cant become a rosebush. It can be a healthy oak, or it can be an undergrown oak—but it won't be a shrub. It can't be! In the same way, you'll always be you—either a growing, healthy you or a weak version of you. God didn't create you to be anybody else. God prewired your personality. God chose your natural gifts and talents. God made you to feel certain passions and desires. God planned your body and mind. Your uniqueness is God-designed.

Some people believe that if they want to grow spiritually, they have to become different people. But God doesn't want you to be someone else. God wants you to be you ... even though God may redirect you. Before Paul met Jesus, he was a brilliant, passionate zealot who assaulted others. Afterward, he was a brilliant, passionate zealot who sacrificed himself for others.

Some friends of ours have a daughter named Shauna who, at age four, was a classic strong-willed child. For example, she kept trying to take off on her tricycle, ready to ride far beyond where her mother was comfortable. Shauna's mom couldn't hold her back, and she finally said, "Look, Shauna, there's a tree right here, and there's a driveway right there. You can ride your tricycle on the sidewalk between the driveway and the tree, but you can't go past that—or you're going to get a spanking. I have to be inside; I've got stuff to do. But I'm going to be watching you."

Shauna backed up to her mom, pointed to her spanking zone, and said, "Well, you might as well spank me now because I got places to go."

Would it surprise you to learn that when Shauna grew up, she had amazing leadership abilities and a huge sense of determination? She'll always have them.

God doesn't make anything and then decide to throw it away. God creates and then, if there's a problem, God rescues. The guy who wrote Psalm 100 says, "Know that the LORD Himself is God; it is He who has made us, and not we ourselves."

Here's the good news: When you flourish—when you Really Live—you become more you. You become more that person God had in mind when God thought you up. You don't just become holier. You become you-ier. You'll change; God wants you to become a "new creation." But "new" doesn't mean completely different; instead, it's like an old piece of furniture that gets restored to its intended beauty.

I used to have a chair that my grandfather helped build 70 years ago. I loved it, but its arms were broken, the wood was chipped, and the cushioning was worn through. I finally gave up on it and sold it for 50 cents at a garage sale. The person who bought it knew about restoration; and a few months later, I received a picture of it—repaired and refinished. I wish this were one of those stories where the restorer surprises the clueless owner by giving back the now-glorious chair. But all I have is this attractive picture. Still, I keep the picture taped inside my desk drawer to remind me that "if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!"

God wants to redeem you, not exchange you. So if you're a quiet, reflective person who's hoping God will change you into an extrovert, have fun waiting—it'll be a long wait. Or if you're a big-time extrovert who's hoping God will turn you into a quieter individual—again, have fun waiting. It's never going to happen.

It's humbling to know that I cannot be anything I want. I don't get to create myself. I accept myself as God's gift to me and accept becoming that person as God's mission for me. But inside your soul there's a battle between a self that Really Lives—the person you were created to be—and a decaying self. This book is all about that battle as it moves from deep inside you to a world waiting for God's rescue.

The journey starts with your spirit, which becomes empowered by God's Spirit. You know that feeling when you're getting ideas or energy from a source beyond yourself? In other words, you're being in-spired—a Spirit-word that literally means something has been breathed into you. So this sense of Really Living—being connected with the Spirit of God—is available all the time! And when your spirit Really Lives, you're most fully alive. You have a purpose for living. You're pulled toward goodness and away from sin.

Then there's your mind. The mental life of your Really-Living self is marked by joy and peace. You're curious and love to learn. You do this in your own unique way, whether through reading or talking with people or listening or building or leading. You ask questions. You're not easily bored. When negative emotions come up, you take them as reminders to take some action.

Your decaying self, on the other hand, feels uneasy and restless inside. You find yourself drawn to bad habits—watching way too much TV or isolating yourself or doing things you know are destructive—because they're attempts to make pain go away. In your decaying self, thoughts drift toward fear or anger. Learning doesn't feel worth the effort. You think a lot of selfish thoughts—and not much about other people.

Along with your spirit and mind, when you Really Live your time starts to be transformed as well. You have confidence that whatever life throws at you won't overthrow you. When the day dawns, you awake with a sense of anticipation and hope. You have an exciting sense that things matter. You start to view each hour as a God-filled gift, waiting for you to unwrap it.

When you Really Live, you pour blessings into your relationships. You view other people as sources of wonder. They often bring you energy. When you're with them, you find yourself really listening to them. You're struck by their dreams. You bless. You talk about your thoughts and feelings in a way that invites openness in others. It's not as tough to admit when you make mistakes; and when other people make mistakes, it's easier to forgive them.

Relationally, your decaying self is often troubled. Your speech is out of control—sometimes you're super-sarcastic, or you gossip, or you say things that aren't even true. You isolate. You dominate. You attack. You withdraw.

But as God grows you, God wants to use you in his plan to redeem the world, and you find God changing your experiences. Your Really-Living self wants to contribute. You have a sense that your life really counts for something—that it really matters. You become tougher in the face of suffering. You get better. You grow.

What could you want more than to become the person God created you to be?


" The World God Wants to See

Here are some great secrets you can find in the Bible:

Your desire to become all you were meant to be is just a tiny echo of God's desire to begin that new creation.

The more concerned you are about your own satisfaction, the less satisfied you'll be.

When your life is all about you, it's as small as a grain of wheat; when your life is given to God, however, it's as if that grain is planted in rich soil, growing into part of a much bigger project.

I get hung up on so many things in life, worrying about what I'll never do or achieve or have. But I don't want to miss out on what God has for me! I want to love my family and give life to my friends. I want to do the stuff God made me to do. I want to love God and the world God made.

I want to do my part to Really Live because my spiritual growth isn't measured by following rules; "the me God made me to be" is measured by how much I love. When we live in love, we Really Live. And the time to love is now. Not when you're older. Not when you "get your act together." That's the whole ballgame.

In many ways this life is a kind of school for the next life—a kind of preparation for the me you were meant to be. Because that person will go into eternity. And what matters most isn't what you accomplish; it's who you become.

God's ready to help you become The Me You Want to Be.

Are you ready?


(Continues...)

Excerpted from The Me I Want to Be by John Ortberg, Scott Rubin. Copyright © 2010 John Ortberg. Excerpted by permission of ZONDERVAN.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Contents

Part One finding my identity,
1. Learn Why God Made You, 9,
2. The Me I Don't Want to Be, 18,
Part Two: flowing with the spirit,
3. Discover the Flow, 29,
4. Find Out How You Grow, 38,
5. Surrender: The One Decision That Always Helps, 46,
Part Three: renewing my mind,
6. Let Your Desires Lead You to God, 55,
7. Think Great Thoughts, 63,
8. Feed Your Mind Great Stuff, 72,
9. Never Worry Alone, 81,
Part Four: rescuing my time,
10. Let Your Talking Flow into Praying, 93,
11. Temptation: How Not to Get Hooked, 99,
12. Know Your Primary Flow-Blocker, 105,
13: When You're Out of the Flow, Jump Back In, 116,
Part Five: deepening my relationships,
14: Try Going Off the Deep End with God, 129,
15. Make Sure Your Relationships Are Life-Giving, 136,
16. Be Human, 146,
17. Find a Few Difficult People to Help You Grow, 153,
Part Six: transforming my experience,
18. You've Gotta Go through Some Junk before You Come Back Home, 163,
Part Seven: flowing from here on out,
19. Ask for a Mountain, 177,
Sources, 188,

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