Should I Stop Apologising?

The other day I tripped over my hubby’s shoes when I came out of the toilet and I apologised to them! 😂 What’s that about? I actually laughed at myself when I did that. I do it all the time. I bump into tables at work and apologise to them too!

I saw a link to this TEDx talk a while back but I only just got round to watching it.

It’s by Maja Jovanovic and she’s specifically talking about women’s tendency to apologise. The more I think about it I realise it’s so true for me. In some situations (and I guess with some people more than others) I play myself down so much it’s almost as if I’m apologising for my own presence in a situation. I apologise for having an opinion or something to say. I think she’s right. I need to STOP it because it’s hurting my confidence.

I remember when I was quite young (maybe about 10 or 11) my sister and I were asked to sing at the Scottish conference of the church denomination where my dad was a lay preacher at the time. It was pretty daunting! All the pastors sat on the rather large stage and it was probably the biggest room full of people I had seen at that point in my life (with one possible exception). I can’t remember exactly what size the room was but I’m guessing that it probably held no more than 500 people. There was an overflow room too so maybe there were another 100 there, I’m not sure. At the time I remember feeling like it was thousands of people. Anyway, we sang our songs and I remember several of the pastors behind us on the stage had tears in their eyes. Maybe because we were little kids (my sister is a year younger) and they thought it was cute or maybe the Holy Spirit touched their hearts through what we sang. I really don’t know. Afterwards in the corridor I remember an older, grey-haired man coming over to me to compliment my singing. I don’t actually remember what the compliment was but I remember down playing it in some way – maybe I pointed out my mistakes or said I had done it better in the practice? What I do remember very clearly is that he gave me a lecture (in a kind way) and told me that when someone pays me a compliment I should just say ‘thank you’. That has stuck with me to an extent and I have remembered to do that on the whole (although I definitely do that thing she talks about in the TEDx talk where I tell people how cheap my clothes were 😂).

In the video Maja talks about a definition of being humble and it is pretty negative. I wonder if this is partly the struggle for Christian women ’cause the Bible teaches us to be humble? Thinking about it though, I don’t reckon that the biblical definition of humility is what she described. The Bible also teaches us to know who we are in Christ and about the authority we have as believers and so on. Jesus ‘humbled himself’ but that didn’t mean he lacked confidence. It didn’t mean that he thought he had no power or authority. He knew exactly who he was.

I guess there’s a balance to find where self confidence is concerned? It’s important to be able to acknowledge our own strengths as well as our weaknesses. It’s important to be able to put others first without losing our own identity. It’s important to understand our position in Christ Jesus without becoming full of pride.

That gives me some more stuff to be working on. Maybe if you catch me saying sorry without good reason you would pick me up on it? I think I need to do what I can to improve my confidence because I want to be bold enough to do what He wants me to do and that’s going to take me really grasping my true identity.

Who Am I Really?

I’ve been thinking a lot recently about who I really am. You’d think I would know at 44 years old right?

I grew up in a loving Christian family and was a daughter, sister, friend, cousin and niece. I was a normal kid, did the right thing sometimes and the wrong thing at other times. I wasn’t the most popular kid at school but I had a small group of friends and never really found myself alone. Most people seemed to like me even if they thought I was a bit weird. I became a leader of sorts at a young age starting various kids groups and clubs from around 11 years old. I was actively involved in church from an early age – maybe ’cause my dad was the pastor.

In adulthood I quickly became wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend, teacher and an active part of my church community. I took my responsibilities very seriously and did what I thought was expected of me. In the process of trying to be what I perceived was expected of me I lost myself somewhere along the way. I tried to live up to my labels and be ‘what it said on the tin’. Essentially I let the labels define me. I became so busy I didn’t realise I had no time just to be. In the ups and downs of life I tried to be a rock for everyone else and forgot that ‘no man is an island’. I wore a mask more often than not, keeping up the appearance of how life should be. I wasn’t consciously trying to deceive anyone, maybe it was my way of protecting myself and others. Who I am was swallowed up somehow and buried deep below the surface. The real me was suffocating and desperate to get out.

I guess you can’t go on like that forever. Eventually the mask slips and you are exposed. The good and the bad. And despite everything you have done and who you’ve been many people (not all) can’t get past the bad or at least that’s how it feels. The real me is torn. I’ve been desperate to get out of my cocoon and be myself but wearing a mask was easier in some ways. Hiding is easier. Not having to face people’s judgement. Being who they want you to be keeps everyone happy. It takes bravery to be myself – people will see my brokenness, they’ll know I’m not perfect. Some people won’t like who I am.

But I want to be me. God made me unique. He didn’t make me to conform. He made me fun and free. He made me creative and loving. He made me strong and safe. He made me beautiful. He made me a worshipping warrior and a leader. He made me to soar. God tells me this stuff and sometimes I find it hard to believe it about myself but I guess if he says it it must be true.

I often feel uncertain about who I am but I know who God says I am. There are loads of great songs about that around just now. I love ‘Who You Say I Am’ by Hillsongs and ‘You Say’ by Lauren Daigle. Despite the fact that I’m not perfect He says I’m His child and He loves me. He says I am chosen and I am free. He says I am enough and I am strong even when I don’t feel it. He says I belong, He has a place for me and He is for me.

On Saturday I found myself writing over and over ‘God is for me’. Almost like writing lines at school. Writing is one of the ways I process stuff. As I wrote it over and over God started filling in other stuff between my lines. God is for me – who can be against me. God is for me – it doesn’t matter what other people think of me. God is for me – it doesn’t matter what I think of myself. God is for me – I don’t have to fear the future. And more like that. It’s starting to sink in now. God is for me. God is for me. God is always for me. He likes who I am. He made me that way. He doesn’t want me to be someone else or to wear a mask cause he made me in his image. Instead of trying to be like other people or like who I think I should be I need to try to be more like Jesus.

I feel like this journey is gonna take a while. It’s gonna take all the courage I have to be myself again. I could do with a bunch of cheerleaders to encourage me to keep going. Maybe I’ll need to find some of them? I wonder if it’s just me or if anyone else out there feels like I do? If you’re reading this and you can relate I want to encourage you to be yourself. Be the awesome, amazing, beautiful person God created you to be. The other day I saw this on Facebook:

As the Steven Curtis Chapman song says ‘there’s no other masterpiece like you, You are the only one and only you.’