The Greatest Gift-The Rediscovery of the True Me
Have you ever seen the cute little memes with the encouraging phrase that invites you to rediscover the true you? The one that says something to the effect of: Who were you before the world told you who you should be? Deep, right? Uh huh. Forgive the seemingly sarcastic sentence above, I love memes, or some of them anyway. They can be funny, or inspiring, and they can give us a sneak peak into the heart and life of our Facebook friends and acquaintances. The phrase in italics, yes, I like that one too. But how often do we see an inspirational or funny bit of something, enjoy it, and then move on with our day? More often than not I’m sure.
To be perfectly honest, I’m sure I HAVE likely read the above meme and had it pass right out of my mind in a matter of seconds or minutes. But that was before.
Before I started to discover the answer to that question.
Before I began to experience the unbounded joy, gratitude, and freedom of feeling the shackles of artificial self dropping off. The cloying need to shape who I am to please others.
The funny thing is, the truth was right in front of my face all along, I was just too blinded by logic to see it.
Once upon a time there was a little girl who loved sports, and all things artsy. She loved colouring, and even sculpting; you should see the crazy snowmen she constructed! She was creative, developing fun games, actual card and board games, for her and her cousins to play. She loved to share stories of her life. This girl had a zest for learning, and sharing the things she was learning. She loved to sing along, at the top of her voice, to her favourite songs. This girl at times felt insecure and out of place. She wanted nothing more than to be accepted, to fit in and be like everyone else. It’s too bad she did not see herself how so many others, how God, saw her.
Over the course of this girls life, she was so desperate to fit in and do the right thing, she shaped herself to who she thought others wanted her to be. She began to believe lies about herself. The older she got, the more those lies looked like truths. The girl, now a teen, believed she was not creative. That she needed to prove her place and her skills. That she could so easily fail and waste her life. The girl in this story, she was smart, and had a number of strengths. However, at times her confidence was fragile. Though she knew she had strengths and smarts, she was desperately afraid of failing or looking foolish. So, when one of her talents did not appear profitable, she would put it on the shelf and say not for me, I can’t do that. The young woman wanted to be the best, or at least one of the best, at anything she did. It was imperative that her life be directed in the best possible way. She needed to head in a direction that practically guaranteed some measure of success.
This young lady, she nearly gave up on art as a pre-teen. She started to believe the lie that she had no interest or skill in art. Fortunately, her father signed her up for art as a grade seven option. All through junior high and high school, she loved art. She even looked at what types of careers could allow her to do something creative and still provide a decent income. After all, nearly no one is a professional artist.
When it was time to choose her career, the girl let logic dictate her life path and she silenced her heart. Science was something she enjoyed and excelled at, and science was more likely to put a roof over her heard and food on her table.
So, she pursued science. The career of choice was Medical Laboratory Technologist, and she decided to take the 4 year program and obtain her bachelor of science. The program was incredibly challenging; demanding a great deal of time in courses, labs, and studying at home. The young woman put a great deal of blood, sweat, tears, and time into her education. As a result of her intellect and determination she graduated with distinction and first class standing.
First class standing and distinction meant she has achieved exemplary grades while taking a full academic course load. Distinction, and first class standing. What an accomplishment.
The young woman had her entire career in front of her, and all indications said “YOU have potential here!” She had a full-time position in a laboratory where she learned the techniques and workflow quickly. Her abilities and attitudes had those around her prophesying her into a position as a supervisor in no time.
It’s funny how life goes. The young woman was offered a position in a small-town laboratory shortly after marrying her sweetheart. The new job, in Westlock, brought her and her husband back to their hometown, with their 2 adopted daughters in tow. As much as she loved science, and laboratory science, God slowly but surely directed her away from it. She had been working full-time (a 1.0 full-time equivalency, or 1.0 FTE) prior to her wedding, and her job in Westlock was 0.7 FTE. Following the birth of her second biological child, as a mama of 4, her previous 0.7 FTE position no longer existed and she began working in her home town. The position in her home-town gave her even fewer hours of work, 0.54 was her new FTE.
As the couple’s family grew, the woman’s work hours decreased, which helped ensure the busy family’s needs were met without the her becoming too overwhelmed. During this time the woman also found faith in Jesus. A major factor in her finding faith came from seeing how God had worked in her life, how His timing was better than how she wanted things to time out. Her fledgling faith allowed her to see how fewer hours of work benefitted her family life, and so she saw the hand of God in the changes to her positions. Funny, she did not see these changes as a part of her rediscovery of herself and her passions.
Following the birth of the couple’s fifth child, the woman and her husband decided she should resign her permanent position in the laboratory and work as a casual. Letting go of that position was letting go of guaranteed income. It was letting go of worldly security. Letting go of fear.
Embracing a casual position rather than a permanent position was embracing freedom. Freedom to be at the children’s school events, sport events, and appointments.
Giving up guaranteed work was also giving up a piece of her identity; the identity she had spent years constructing. God is so good. He never asks us to give something up without giving us something better. She gave up a piece of her “scientist” identity, and He gave her back a piece of her “creative” identity.
Giving up her position meant she had given up set hours. Set hours means a guarantee of income, but it is also a guarantee the worker will be there a set number of hours per week.
In a very real sense she gave up bondage.
Bondage to the expectations of others; of herself. She pursued her old passions with the extra time being at home afforded her. Time spent doing art and writing increased steadily. The woman felt herself come alive in areas she had not realized were dead. Her confidence increased and she became more playful and free in her writing and art. Currently, she’s working on the courage to explore music.
One baby step at a time, this woman is becoming the little girl she once was. She is challenged, she still often overthinks the process, but she is happy. This girl, she is in process, she is challenging herself, but most importantly, she is enjoying herself.
Rediscovering who she really is has meant liking, loving even, herself in ways she never dreamed possible. She has shrugged off earthly arrogance and clothed herself in godly confidence.
So, I ask you: are you in touch with the real you?
Who were you before the world told you who you should be?
Finding out is the greatest gift God has been longing to give you. Are you ready to embrace it?