So many twenty-somethings resign themselves to lives far below what God intended. They don’t see themselves as worthy. For some, this insecurity may manifest itself in their girlfriend/boyfriend relationships; for others, it’s in their finances; and for others, it’s in their life as a whole. As a result, instead of working to grow and advance, they cope with a “barely-get-by, grin-and-bear it” approach to life.

The Bible says “How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! (1 John 3:1)”

We are a children of God, but we don’t always view ourselves that way.

Your self concept refers to the way you customarily think about yourself and it either expands or restricts your potential for living our God-given calling.

Your Self-Concept

Your self-concept is quite simply your impression of yourself as a human being. Though it is chiefly an unconscious mental construct, its influence on who you become over the course of your life is very real. Your self-concept is your distinctive combination of convictions, assumptions, life experiences, memories, feelings and dreams for the future that are all bundled together to fashion the image that you hold of yourself. If you become consciously aware of your self-concept, you can refine it to your advantage and tap into more of your potential.

The greatest news that I can give you about your self-concept is that you were not born with it.

You have acquired it as you progressed through life – and that means you can change it if you want to and if you learn how.

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Picture Inside a Picture

Remember the PiP function on your television? That’s the picture-in-picture feature that allows you to watch two programs at once. The function creates a small picture in the upper right-hand corner of your screen while you are watching the primary game or program on the main screen.

Get this TV image in your mind. Your self-concept has a lot of similarities with this PiP function. It consists of three elements, all of which operate behind the scenes at the unconscious level. The first is your self-ideal or future picture which is the perfect vision you hold of yourself and what you hope to achieve at some point in your lifetime. The next is your self-image, or current picture, which is how you see yourself today. Finally, there is your self-worth, which is the private reputation you hold of yourself.

Your future picture is like the game you’re watching up in the corner of the screen – the picture within the picture. You pay very little attention to it. Your current picture is the game that is going on right now, the program taking up most of the screen. This holds most of your interest. Your self-worth determines what channels or programs you give yourself permission to watch.

As long as the current game is interesting, you will keep watching it. If the game in the upper right-hand corner is no better or even less exciting than the game you are currently watching, you’ll watch the current game indefinitely. That annoying little picture box will never be expanded. But if the game in the corner starts to get really compelling, you will click on the remote to make that picture take up the whole screen.

A fundamental reason why so many people are living far beneath their potential for joy is that there is little difference between the two “games” on the screen of their self-concept. There’s no substantive difference between their current self-image and the vision they have for their future. This shouldn’t be the case! As God’s child, he has planned the future for you.

Your future picture is exciting; you can count on it. But you’ve got to do your part. You have a responsibility to ask for the vision. Then you must polish that vision into something irresistible that you are impatiently searching for with the remote to press that little button and fill up the full screen with the “other game.” If you have no clear vision, your potential for joy can rapidly disintegrate.

Your future picture is your best-case scenario. It is the future you, upgraded and better than ever. When this future vision is divinely inspired, it will pull you over, around, or through any wall of comfort or fear that may be temporarily blocking you way.

In the next post, I will deconstruct the three components (self-ideal, self-image, self-worth) and continue how you can embrace your God-given identity.

The post is adapted from an excerpt of The 4:8 Principle by Tommy Newberry

Paul Sohn is a leadership coach, best-selling author and speaker. Paul is the founder and CEO of QARA. Paul is a best-selling author of Quarter-Life Calling: Finding Your God-Given Purpose in Your Twenties. Paul was named one of the Top 33 under 33 Christian Millennials to Follow by Christianity Today.