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.’