Monday, June 21, 2010

The Gift

You know what? I don’t think that many woman can say that they like themselves. In fact, I’m not sure when I started to, but I know that it was not always like that. At one point I was like everyone else, just so dissatisfied all the time about every little thing. I would analyze myself with a fine tooth comb and wonder how anyone could bear to look at such a mess. Then at some point I got over myself and came to see me through the eyes of God. The weight that was lifted and the freedom that followed was life changing. I can’t imagine being bogged down with trivial things again. I can’t believe I didn’t appreciate the person God created me to be. All those years of trying to emulate different aspects of different people was just so frustrating. It was so unnatural and exhausting. Maybe that’s what people talk about when they say, “Oh, he or she is just trying to find themselves.” Before I thought that they were just trying to figure out who they wanted to be. In actuality, it means coming to grips with the person you are and were always meant to be. The person God thought up when He created you. You really don’t search for it, it’s always there smacking you in the face every morning.

I think our culture screams, “Be like her! Be like him!” and so it’s truly hard to fight against that. If everyone is trying to be like the skinniest, loveliest-haired girl or (in the church circles) the godliest, holiest homemaker; it makes sense to want those admirable qualities.

I love Cara Capobianco’s laugh. I think it’s so adorable and it makes you want to laugh just listening to her. It doesn’t even matter if you know why she’s laughing. I love Nicole Crist’s way of interacting with people. She really does bring the best out in everyone and makes you want to be around her all the time. I love Lauren Feichter’s way of being so creative and thoughtful about birthdays and any special occasion, really. She makes you feel so special. I love Amanda Troya’s heart to serve. She is the most selfless person I’ve ever met I think. She’s one of those people that don’t ask what she can do, she just comes over and does it. What a treasure! I love Brandon McConnell’s wit. Whatever the situation his little comments at the exact right time make it entertaining just to see what he’ll say next. I love Joanne Findley’s ability to research anything and be able to articulate all the new things she’s learned. I could go on and on. I’m sure you’ve also encountered people with talents and abilities that just make you stand in awe. It’s natural to want to be like that, and I believe in some ways God puts people in our lives to show us how to be a better person or to grow us in certain areas. I believe the problem comes when we try to be the other person. When who we are is simply not good enough.

We can grow bitterness toward ourselves in pursuit of something that is not ours. Envy might take a hold of us and we might justify tearing ourselves down for the greater good of becoming this amazing person that we create for ourselves. We subconsciously (or not) think, “If I could create me I’d have Cara’s laugh, Niki’s personality, Lauren’s creativity, Amanda’s servant heart, Brandon’s wit and Joanne’s smarts.” What we’ve done is taken the best out of all these people and put them all together to create a person called me. The truth is that all these amazing qualities are not even theirs. Every good thing comes from God. Do you believe that? If you do you’d realize that God saw it fit and good to give Cara that laugh. It’s His gift to her. I can go through the list and say the same thing about everyone.

It’s time to take a look at the person God made you to be. Are you quiet or loud? Sometimes quiet, sometimes loud? Neither quiet nor loud? There are so many variations to the human soul, who can number them? It is important to know that whatever way you naturally tend to go, don’t just accept it- embrace it. See it as a gift. My hope and prayer is for you to love it. Be proud of the gifts and talents God gave you. It may not be a gift or talent in a measurable sense. It may just be something quirky, goofy or unique. Don’t confuse love with an arrogant prideful obsession with yourself. God knows we have enough people like that. Most people who are obsessed with themselves really are trying to cover their messed up psyche and create this alias they think is awesome and amazing. The whole time it’s just one big cover-up and everyone sees it but them. So, no- don’t love some made up person that you claim is you. Just appreciate the person God created you to be. Out of billions and billions of people alive and dead there is and has never been and will never be anyone else on the planet like you. Isn’t that an amazing thought? You know what? I’ll never have Cara’s amazing laugh or Brandon’s wit but I’m okay with that. In fact I am more that okay with that. I so appreciate that about them. It makes me happy to be with others who are blessed with such admirable qualities. I’ve come to a place where I don’t envy. When you can see something great in someone else and not feel threatened by it, that's true appreciation. I don’t put myself down and wish for something someone else has. Instead I appreciate them and love them. In fact, I believe this is what God was talking about when he said that we are His hands and feet. We all possess different qualities and talents that really belong to God! If we could create the perfect combination of ourselves, you know who we’d be? God. When we are envious and jealous and hating in hopes of gaining what’s not ours to gain, we are actually trying to be like God in a self-centered narcissistic way. Hone in on the gifts God’s given you. God hasn’t created one person who is perfect in every way. We all reflect God in different ways. Isn’t it silly to want a gift God didn’t give you? Open your eyes to see that the whole and complete person you are is the gift. Appreciate it. Hold fast and share the gift of yourself with others. Not the made up person I’m trying to be because I don’t like myself person, but you. I love the fact that I’m a deep thinker. I love the way I love my kids. I love that I break out in song and dance just because. I love that I started writing this on a whim. I love the way I am so overwhelmed with God. I literally cannot fathom his love and my heart and eyes well up with tears thinking about it. I love the way I’m somewhat unpredictable. I love the fact that I’m not so hard on myself. I love my imperfect body- what woman can say that? I love that I’m not concerned over the fact that I’m writing things to love about myself. I just really do appreciate God’s ingenious way of creating a person and I really do appreciate the person God created me to be. I hope you can come to a place where you realize that you are not only okay, but you are amazing. I believe God wants us to know our true worth. He sent his son, Jesus to come and die for you. You are that special. He hand picked and designed the person you are in hopes that you’d be His hands and feet. Don’t squander the gifts and talents; don’t be embarrassed over the gift. Enjoy it, share it and find freedom in it.