Do not deceive yourself

Do not deceive yourself

Last month I arrived in Indonesia to start the next “book” of my life. For the past 4 and a half years, I had been “wandering aimlessly” throughout SE Asia.

Some would say, if you are lost, go and search for yourself.

However, having spent the past few months reflecting on my previous journey, I don’t consider the experiences I had as a process of “finding myself” but instead a transformation toward “getting in tune” with who I really am.

Earlier today, I was talking to the host for the room I rented on Airbnb, and she shared this thought with me–FYI, I’m paraphrasing:

“We are not lost and we do not go in “search” of ourselves. Instead, we are merely peeling back the layers from our social conditioning. All the thoughts, ideas, and concepts that have been put into our minds and influence the way we speak, the way we think, and the way we act, it is this that we must discard. And, when we do, we can get back to our true self which is a child-like state of innocence, bliss, and harmony.”

Right now, I find myself in a state where I have peeled back and discarded multiple layers that have been built up and conditioned within me since as far back as I can remember.

It’s a liberating and frightening feeling.

Why frightening?

Well, I find myself completely exposed. I’m not quite naive, because the life and death experiences I had throughout my previous “book” provided me with valuable life experiences. However, as I explore and build new relationships with the world around me, I’m only just beginning to discover my real potential, on a personal, business, and spiritual level.

For those of you who have been following my blog, you may have noticed I disappeared for a month.

The reason why is because I stumbled upon an opportunity that could have put to use the talents I’ve cultivated over the years and the new version of me that I am just beginning to understand.

Unfortunately, expectations and reality are often two entirely different things. I’ll go into more detail as I continue to process out the experience I had, but in the meantime, I want to share you this:

“Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.”

Ephesians 6:11

Yup, that’s a bible quote–and–by no means am I trying to be preachy, but, I just find it so fitting for the situation I just went through.

I don’t know where you are in life.

Geographically, you could be here in Indonesia, on the other side of the world in Canada, or somewhere struggling for wifi in Timbuktu. But this is not what I mean.

I don’t know where you are in your emotional and spiritual journey in life.

Perhaps you’re enjoying some of the best moments of your life. You’re surrounded by a loving family, supportive friends, and a job you get excited to wake up to go to in the morning.

Or, perhaps half your family just passed away, you bear the burden of bringing people together who only hate and despise each other, all the while, you’re struggling to keep your head above the water and trying not to drown.

So, that’s why you, me, and all of us need a full armor of God, so that we can take a stand against the devil’s schemes.

But, what exactly are the devil’s schemes?

Is it a red-skinned, horny-headed creature, hiding in the bushes, getting ready to snatch our souls?

Definitely (hopefully) not.

To be honest, I don’t really have an answer qualified or suitable enough to tell you what “he (the devil)” is. Instead, I highly recommend you read the Five Subtle Devices of the Devil to learn more.

The only thing I want to say, wherever you are in your own life journey, is this: do not deceive yourself.

There’s nothing more valuable than the beliefs and virtues your hold clear and dear to your heart. I don’t care which religion you follow, as long as you have a little faith, we can all work toward making the world a little better.

So, if you deceive yourself (or allow yourself to be deceived), what good is that going to do you or the rest of us?

Jef van de Graaf
Canadian Copywriter & World Traveler
Business | Travel Blog | Connect


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