Hi sweet friends,
Last week was absolutely a tidal wave of business, but this weekend I was finally able to paint and craft some more. I find that I am finally allowing myself to be fully me.
This year has brought me to realize how much I confined my true self starting in 7th grade. I am not sure what it is about middle school, but I see that it is a time where many of us start believing that who we are is not adequate or good enough. And what a lie!
For more than 8 years, I was trying to be like everyone else in some ways. Middle school came with the discovery of hair straighteners and American Eagle. I would watch other girls and push myself into the mold I saw them making. I tried the whole rebel thing and as soon as a teacher snapped at me that was done. (I am a rule follower to my core!) Then came high school where I was labeled with the "naive Christian girl" tag and allowed myself to fit that mold. I tried the whole be sarcastic and pretend you don't care what everyone thinks. And to a degree I really didn't care to fit into the cool crowd. But for hilarity's sake let me just say that my sophomore year I never once wore my hair up in any way. It was straight and down all 187 school days!! Oh Sophia...
Then came college and a fresh start. OH was I happy to have a clean start! Then again who isn't? I found the Christian crowd and immediately felt safe in my bubble again, but then came the molds I needed to fit into again. This time it was determined by the guys I liked. Whatever mold I thought they wanted, I tried to fit it. What a waste of time! The first two years were much like high school. Then came my sophomore year that changed the perceptions of my heart. The Lord took me through trials that made me realize nothing in this life is worth it except Him.
But here I am out of college and only now finding who I am. I recently was looking through some old pictures and something hit me...
I absolutely love that little girl. I love her.
I love how she giggled when she ate popsicles, secretly ate all the cherry cough drops because they tasted like candy, delighted in horses, ate macaroni and cheese like it was life, hated the color pink, and shopped on the boys side of Gap because all the girl stuff was sissy. I love how she could play for hours by herself imagining the most amazing plot lines. I love how she would snuggle every kind of animal with complete joy, ask her parents for a farm, and imagine that her beanie babies were her real pets. I love how she idolized Annie Oakley and dreamed of being a cowgirl in the mountains. I love how she would walk into her parents room at all hours and say, "I need some love," which would ensue sweet hugs and kisses. I love how she would fall asleep creating stories in her mind. I love that she didn't care about anything in life except eating sweets and being loved.
I love this little girl.
And the crazy thing is...I am still her.
I still have those same dreams, desires, and joys. When did I become embarrassed about these traits? Why would I ever shut these qualities out of my life or try to suppress them?
Because I was told to. The world told me to grow up and stop being silly. I was told that being this little girl was no longer acceptable. Put on your suit. Straighten your hair. Stand up straight. Don't laugh too loud. Smile, but not too big because then people will think you are weird. ;)
But ya know what? I think that's stupid. I've had enough of trying to be things I'm not. I love who I am deep down inside. It sounds so strange to say that, but I do. A year ago I don't know if I could have genuinely said that. I am not saying I am perfect by any means, but I am quite tired of trying to figure out who I am. After all, what message am I sending the Lord when I constantly try to recreate myself?
I know who I am. I am that little girl He made nearly 25 years ago. I have to laugh when I think about how perfectly God put me together. The combinations of joys He put in me all fit together seamlessly. I'm unique. I'm special. I'm cool. Lol. I am. I am all of these things because I am finally letting myself be me, the me God made me to be. And God only makes unique, special, cool things. :)
There is a flame that I tried to snuff out inside me, but I realize that when I let that flame shine I can find no greater joy. My personality is beautiful, my laugh is joyous, my pitchy singing is angelic, my smile is perfect. All because of Jesus. yup. All because I am giving Him free reign of my entire being.
You see, when we give ourselves permission to be who God made us, quirks and all, we are allowing His way in our lives. When we stop trying to force things upon ourselves, our personalities, our bodies, it leads us to His original plan for our lives.
And so, as I look at this little girl with stickers all over her face, and if I could speak to her now this is what I would tell her:
You are perfect. Everything from the blond hairs on your head (that will soon turn brown) to your teeny-tiny pinky toes, are beautiful. Your compassion, love, and patience are incredible. Don't worry if people don't love you back. God loves you more than you will ever imagine, and in the end all that matters is that you love Him back. He made you perfectly, and the way you are brings Him absolute joy. So enjoy being yourself. Laugh, dance, sing, and cry. Be real. Be kind. Be true to you. No one else in this world is like you are, and that is the best thing about you. You are so precious sweet child. Let the Lord love you, and know that you are His precious treasure just as you are.
What are you suppressing? What has the world told you it is not ok to be or wish for? I encourage you to go back and find a picture of yourself when you were little. Ask yourself what made you happy back then. I bet it still makes you happy today.
Maybe you already do love who you are and allow yourself to wholly be who you are. Praise the Lord! What a blessing! If however you have not gotten there quite yet, sweet friend, let's try something different. Let's try to enjoy being who we already are, not out of vanity or pride, but in humble joy. Let's not focus on what we can be, but rather sit down and thank the Lord for who we are today, right now.
And just let yourself be.
And remember, Jesus loves you just as you are.