For as long as I can remember, I’ve struggled with feeling inadequate. I always felt “too” something; too tall, too skinny, too uncoordinated, too silly, too sensitive, too talkative, too smart, too studious, too anxious...this list could go on a while. I wanted desperately to feel comfortable in my own skin, to believe that God’s works were wonderful and “fearfully and wonderfully made,” applied to me. I thought if I just tried harder and if I could bolster my faith I would stop struggling and just feel confident. But until then, I wanted to just blend in.
It’s hard to blend in when you’re a six-foot tall woman. It was hard in junior high when I towered over most of my classmates; it’s still hard living in a community where many of the women are 5’ 5” or under. (As an aside, I’m in Texas right now and apparently everything really does run bigger here because I’ve looked eye-to-eye with more women in the first few hours I was here than usual). However my goal was still just to blend in, and that impacted my personality—don’t make waves, don’t draw attention to yourself by disagreeing or voicing controversial opinions—as well as my style choices—do your hair in a style that doesn’t stand out, wear what everyone else is wearing, etc.
Recently I’ve been doing the hard work of removing that “too” from my definition of myself. This hasn’t been an easy process and I’ve appreciated the guidance of a professional as I’ve worked on re-defining myself. Dedication to quiet time with God, including reflection on what he says in scripture and what the Holy Spirit whispers to me when I’m alone with him in prayer, have helped me to slowly chip away at that skyscraper of a “TOO” that I lived in the shadow of. As I’ve done this work, I’ve realized that God doesn’t want people who blend in, he wants us to shine in our individuality. He wants to empower us to be the truly unique people he designed and then love him and each other as we walk that out.
In 2 John and 3 John, Paul writes about walking in truth. This morning it hit me, I spent years trying to walk out obedience to the good news about Jesus without embracing the truth about who God says I am and how deeply he loves me. It’s impossible to spread or even experience the joy that comes from freedom in Christ when you are still chained to an inaccurate picture of who you are. When we believe that we need to fit some image that we’ve created in order to be pleasing to God, we’ve missed the mark. God looks at us and sees us, truly sees who we are at the core, and calls it wonderful. He invites us to strip away the image we’ve created and allow ourselves to be recreated in his image. Freedom and joy came in as I learned to embrace the truth. I am tall, thin, sometimes uncoordinated, silly, sensitive, talkative, smart, studious, anxious, artistic, emotional etc.; the list could go on and on. God looks at all of the uniqueness in each of us, the things we describe as strengths and the things we call weaknesses and he LOVES us. Sure, he sees the areas where we need to grow but he knows that growth will happen when we embrace who he says we truly are and walk in the freedom of his love for us. That is so monumental that Paul said, “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.” (3 John 1:4). NO GREATER JOY.
Let that sink in for a minute; then let's take a walk.