With Both Feet — Terrified — I JUMP!
Today is a heart pounding day. Although what I’m posting is straight from something I wrote almost 2 years ago, this is the first time I mention that I’m not only the writer of the post but the subject as well. I feel like the past 2 days were just sticking my toes in the water to see how it feels, but today, I’m jumping in full force. I have to admit; I’m terrified. I’ll say again that I am a very private person. I keep to myself about almost everything going on with me, but these 7 days outside of my comfort zone are truly forcing me to not just step outside of my comfort zone but move so far away from it that I can’t even see it anymore.
Before continuing on, I want to stress that God created us all unique. There is no mold we are required to fit into. We each have different things that make us who we are, and no one should ever require you to be someone he didn’t create you to be. I say that because I let that happen in my life. I allowed other voices to speak into my life telling me what I should and shouldn’t look like in order to be God’s daughter. God asks us to not be conformed to the patterns of this world but be transformed by the renewing of our minds (Romans 12:2). He did not say to “conform to the patterns of a building with walls that calls itself church.”
Don’t get me wrong. God created the church, and he wants us to fellowship with other believers and find a place within the church family to utilize our talents. However, we are all human, and sometimes the ideals of man are presented to us as the word of God. This is why I urge those I mentor to not just take my word for whatever it is I’m talking about but to look in the bible and determine for themselves if what I’m saying is truth.
God put much thought into creating each one of us. We each have our own specific strengths and quirks and unique things that make us who we are. God does not want us to conform to the patterns of the world, which say “if it feels good do it,” but he also does not want us to conform to one another as believers. What I mean by that is he didn’t intend for every one of us to look and act and talk alike. How could we ever reach others if we all are . . . the same? Are you following me here?
I’m saying you do NOT have to be perfect in order to be loved by God. He will not turn his back on you if you fail at one point. . . and trust me. . you WILL fail at some point! God is still there for you and still loves you, and if you allow him to, he can use those failures to help someone else on down the line who finds herself/himself in a similar situation. If you appear to the outside world as perfect and without a care in the world, then how relatable do you think you are to them? This is not God’s way. He has rules for us, but those rules do not say to conform to a group who will turn their backs on you if the way God created you doesn’t match up with the way they want you to be.
Having said that, I have no idea if it makes sense to you, but hopefully reading the following will help it become somewhat clearer. When I wrote this, I wrote it as if someone else was the author, and the girl was someone I had never even met. Taking out the background story of the author and girl she knew, here is the story of me:
Posted May 4, 2012
I met this girl once. She was quiet and very shy but had such a creative and free spirit about her. She loved to dance, and she loved being able to express herself in different ways—it was her way of speaking when she wasn’t comfortable with her voice. After trying for years to fit in with any crowd, she realized the problem was that she kept trying to adjust who she was in order to be who they were, and it wasn’t working. She made a promise to herself that she would never do that again. She would remain true to herself and be the person God created her to be.
The girl met this boy, and they started dating. He was wonderful and seemed to have everything going for him. Everybody loved him, and she adored him for that. They very quickly fell in love with one another. With harmless little comments he made, she began making some changes. Several years went by before she realized what had happened. She looked in the mirror and saw a stranger staring back at her.
She spent her days reflecting on her life. She had become someone else—someone completely different. Where her reflection used to glow with her creatively thrown together mismatched clothes, messy hair, and a couple of tiny piercings, she saw a perfectly groomed woman who blended in with her surroundings. She had become a female version of this wonderful guy. She should be happy, right? After all, even her family thanked the boy for the changes he made in her.
She wasn’t happy, though, and it took her several more years before she realized why she went to bed most nights feeling like a failure and as though something was missing. It was because the person she was created to be had disappeared. It had been repressed as she morphed into something man-made. But everyone loved who she was, so she questioned if it would be worth it to revive her true self.
She spent hours talking to God asking him what she should do. Hours turned into days. Days turned into weeks. Weeks turned into months and months into years. From the outside she had everything going for her. She was loved and respected by those she encountered. She wondered if she would lose that love and respect if they knew she didn’t really look like this perfectly put-together girl straight out of Stepford, Connecticut. She had become a true Stepford Wife. For those who haven’t heard this term, “Stepford Wife” is used to describe a woman who lives a blindly conforming life, remaining subservient to her husband and other authority figures while attempting to offend no one.[i]
She gradually tried to allow her real self to resurface but was harshly shut down by the guy. “What would people think?” he would ask her. “You’re too immature,” he would say. “I didn’t change you. I just saw that you had potential when we first started dating, so I helped you grow into it.”
It didn’t take her long to realize what he was saying was God didn’t create her perfectly. Instead, he needed the guy to mold and shape her into what could be presented to others as perfect. She couldn’t believe she had allowed this to happen again. When she was younger, she was aware of what she was doing and studied other people so she could be more like them in hopes they would accept her. She had changed that, though, and she loved herself for how she was created. She didn’t understand how it happened again and without her even realizing it had.
God had given the guy a big, beautiful, brightly colored Gerber Daisy to take care of and help blossom into something fragrant and tall. She knew if she continued on this path, the guy would not be able to return this thriving colorful Gerber Daisy to God when the time comes. Instead he would be presenting God with an equally beautiful Lily that had been well maintained but wasn’t the flower God had allowed him to take care of over the years.
Again, she prayed asking God what’s more important to him. Should she be who he created, or should she be the remodeled version—the version who made a difference in the lives of others and was respected by many? Would she still be able to make a difference as herself? She asked him if her real identity should remain silent while the robot everyone knew her as continued on as it had for years. People responded well to the robot, and no one was getting hurt by it. Well, she thought to herself. No one was getting hurt but her.
She tried speaking up to her Stepford-like friends, but they immediately shot her down. She would be wrong if she allowed petty things like emotions and feelings to be a part of who she is. Her job was to allow the guy to speak hateful, hurtful words to her while forcing her to do things she didn’t want to. That’s life, she overheard a few times. Just do what you’re supposed to do or everything else in your life will fall apart. What you’re supposed to do is continue being this person created by the guy who can do no wrong.
Her mind was filled with voices shouting at her. She couldn’t think. She couldn’t breathe. She felt trapped and wanted desperately to hear God’s sweet, gentle voice, but the other voices were just too loud.
In desperation she made decisions she would have never made regardless of whether she was the real her or the man-made version. She continued making those types of decisions until everything she loved was ripped away from her. She compared her life to a bad episode of the Twilight Zone. She couldn’t win regardless of who she allowed herself to be. She questioned her mental health. Was she wrong in thinking God wanted better for her? Was she wrong in thinking the guy was supposed to be pleasant toward her? She didn’t need around the clock pleasant, but she wanted to feel like she mattered at least once every so often. Was that really wrong of her? Because of her desperate decisions, she very quickly lost the things most important to her with the exception of something that meant everything in the world—second under her relationship with God, and even that was something the guy told her she couldn’t possibly really have.
She knew in order to hold on to that one thing she had to forget her true identity. She had to push away the real self and those very few people who knew her true identity and who amidst the flaws and imperfections found it to be beautiful and perfect, and she had to return to her robotic state. She knew her happiness was worth far less than the gift she had been blessed with – the one she held so dear to her. She decided she would do whatever it took to keep it close to her. It was all she had left.
She flipped the switch back to robot mode and shuffled through the days making sure not to offend and to keep quiet. She still spoke to God regularly. He was her best friend. He was the only one who knew her for who she really was, and he adored that girl. His heart broke for the poor decisions she had made in her moment of desperation, but it broke just as much for the life she was forced to lead—a fictional character in a fictional world all in his name.
I don’t know whatever happened to that girl. I think about her from time-to-time wondering if she ever let God’s version of her come alive or if she killed it off altogether. I pray for her often. I pray that whoever she decided to be is making a difference in the lives of others. After all, that was her true calling—her life’s passion, and she was great at it regardless of who she presented herself as. I ought to know. She changed my life. I knew her when she was her fun self who loved to sing and dance, and I knew her when she was the made-up version. Both were beautiful with big hearts, but I couldn’t bring myself to look into the eyes of the fictional version. The one time I did, I know I heard screams coming from deep inside. It made the hair on my arms stand. The pain in those eyes was enough to give me nightmares for days.
Wherever she is—whoever she is—I pray her eyes are now filled with joy and laughter. Her soul is too beautiful to harbor so much hurt.
Today, I can tell you I’ve messed up so much and created chaos in my life. Other people very close to me have also messed up and created chaos in my life. I am only responsible for the chaos I created personally, but I have turned to God to help me get past the chaos and walk in the direction he wants me to walk. I am not a robot. I am not man-made. I am God breathed, and he designed me in such a way I could reach people who are outside of the walls of a church building just as easily as those inside. I believe he created us all in a way we can do that. He desires for us to do that. His vision for us is not to look like the person sitting next to us. Don’t conform. Be true to the creator whose hands so carefully designed every intricate detail of who you are. That’s how you fulfill your destiny.
Original Post The Girl – Wow Posted May 4, 2012