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The Table Video

Ruth Haley Barton

Are You Your True Self?

Nietzsche wrote, “We are unknown, we knowers, to ourselves…” Does this ring true to you? Are you living into your true self, open and honest to yourself, to others, to God? Or do you feel the need to constantly posture and present a false image to the world? Ruth Haley Barton of The Transforming Center explains the hope for the process of transformation in seeking out our true selves, as they are exposed to us by God.


So the first thing I want to assure people about is that there is a true self, and it is a true self that God knows, God created, God called it into being. Our true self is hidden with Christ in God, which is why the only place we can find the true self is in relationship with God, and the false self patterns are just patterns that have grown up and emerged out of our, usually our earliest experiences, family of origin, things like that. It’s defensive, it’s meant to be self-protective, it’s to protect us against some of the primal anxieties of life, and this is the way the young child learned to protect itself against those primal anxieties, that’s the other hard thing about that false self is that it’s developed primarily unconsciously, so you don’t even know until God, by His grace, begins to show you that there are aspects of yourself that really aren’t your truest self.

So, the true self is called forth by God, and as we begin to have more confidence in God and discover God at the depth of our being, we begin to be able to trust God with ourselves and with our destinies and the false self patterns can fall away and the true self begins to emerge, and we begin to see what it’s like to live in faith, what it’s like to live surrendered to God, rather than needing to trust our own false self patterns to keep ourselves safe in the world. And we discover what it’s like to live as a person who can be given over to God and to other people in love without so much self protection. And it unfolds throughout all of our lives. We will not be completely free of the false self until we see Jesus face-to-face, right? So I never talk about transformed leaders or transformed people, I always talk about transforming leaders and transforming people, because we’re always going to be transforming until we see Jesus face-to-face, and then we’ll be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. So for right now, we’re transforming, we’re on the way, and we’ll never arrive, you know, in this life. [soulful music]