Discovering the Real Me

iStock_000013206726XSmallSometimes, when I look back over my life, I come to the conclusion that no one knows the real me. What’s worse is that I’m not even sure I know the real me. It feels like I have spent my life always trying to be who others expected me to be. The truth is, I’ve always secretly felt that if others knew the real me, the flawed, insecure and frankly, sometimes unkind me, they would no longer accept me. We all form opinions and make judgments about others, even if it’s done subconsciously, based only on what we observe about a person, or worse yet, based on what we hear about them from others. But who are the people underneath the facade?

I’ve noticed that those who seem the most arrogant and self-assured, are often the most insecure. Below the surface they are hungering for acceptance and love, oblivious to the fact that the arrogance they are projecting prevents them from getting what they desire most. As I think about all of this, I see we are a society of strangers, built on families of strangers, all trying to be what we think will make us acceptable to others. This isn’t enough for me anymore.

I am filled with a longing to discover who I really am, what makes me unique, and how God can use this individual to further His Kingdom. I want to break the bonds that hold me back, confining and conforming me to what’s expected of me. Those bonds are beginning to loosen, and I am taking my first tentative steps toward becoming the one-of-a-kind person God designed me to be. With each small step I can taste it, what God had in mind all along, freedom. Yes, this is the path I have searched for and longed for all this time. Freedom. The gift God gives us through Christ. And oh, the taste is sweet.

Clarity of Sight

iStock_000011718606XSmallI know it’s not Thanksgiving, but I’ve recently found thankfulness to be on my mind anyway. The past few weeks have been very difficult for me. The pain of fibromyalgia and the exhaustion of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome have blurred my vision and drawn a veil over my eyes that I find it hard to see past. With each step taken and every movement made, the pain is my constant, unwelcome companion. It whispers in my ear to just give in, give up, nothing will ever get better. Unfortunately, after 28 years, this is probably true, it won’t get better. Just when I’m about to give into the sorrow and grieve over the life I’ve lost, my eyes are opened.

I see with such clarity that to give in is to permit illness and pain to define who I am. I think of Jesus and the pain He suffered on the cross and how that pain is not what defines Him. Instead, it is the resurrection that defines who He is. I think of Paul, who says he can do all things through the strength of Christ, and suddenly, this illness that I’ve seen as a curse, becomes something to be thankful for.

In my weakness, I experience the strength of Christ enabling me to do what He has called me to. As my pen moves on paper, I feel His strength. As I feel hope once again take up residence in my heart, I know it’s Him. The One who took five loaves of bread and two small fish and fed five thousand people until they were full, can take the one “loaf” of my life, and if I accept it is enough, will use that life to do so much more than I can imagine. I need only be thankful for the life He’s given me and simply say, “not my will, but yours”. What freedom thanksgiving brings!