Walking with a new friend at a writing conference recently, I mentioned something about how I play on a Women’s soccer team.
“Oh,” she said with her eyebrows lifted in question. “That is interesting, Not what I expected of you.”
Yeah yeah, I wanted to say. Heard that before.
I have never quite felt like I fit in.
As a young child my family jokingly referred to me as the “other child” or “the accident”. A funny statement that left me with an identity crisis early on. That told me something was wrong with me because I wasn’t like the others. I found myself constantly scrutinizing and asking myself…is this me? Is this where I belong? Is this who I am supposed to be?
Moving to four different schools in four years offered me an opportunity to try out new identities. There was the preppy me, the rocker me, the rebellious me and then the perfect me. Trying to mold and shape and become something the world might like, someone the world might accept.
Part of this exploration is quite normal as we try to figure out who were are and where we fit, but as I continued on this never ending quest I began to seek after God’s acceptance too. Was I good enough for God? Did I fit with who he wanted me to be? Was I a good enough Christian? It was like chasing my tail trying to be what the world; my family, my friends, or even what I thought God wanted me to be.
In college, it was exacerbated by these weird worlds I threw myself in. I was a theatre major and a sorority girl. I liked parties and I loved Jesus. I wouldn’t wear my Greek letters to the theatre building, was careful not to dive into deep discussions about Shakespeare or the methods of Ibsen’s plays while in the sorority house. I didn’t mention Jesus at frat parties and didn’t mention frat parties in my bible studies.
And all of this left me empty.
Seeking after the world’s approval of me, seeking after what I thought others wanted and expected of me. Trying to work so hard not to be the “other” child, but one that is easy to be around and easy to be with.
It was exhausting…this inability to be true to myself.
I don’t do that anymore. It is so draining. Instead I throw off these labels that hinder me and instead allow the crazy, awkward and sometimes overly sensitive me to emerge. And maybe you don’t like me, that is ok too. I don’t fit in. I don’t fit into the categories and labels that the world places on me or others. And I am ok with that.
Fitting in robs God of the uniqueness he has so artistically worked to create in the individual that is me.
Trying to be someone else robs God of shining your you-ness through!
So I have let go of this need to fit in. Let go of this striving to be what each version of me the world might want. It is so freeing.
Freeing to just say, Hey, GUESS WHAT? THIS IS ME! I love Jesus, I love wine, I love dancing like a crazy woman, I love literature and theology and words and people. I love dressing up in crazy costumes and I sometimes say the stupidest things at the most awkward and weird times. I am human. I am unique. I don’t need to fit in.
And you don’t either!
This has been the most and empowering letting go that I have ever done. It allows me to not work to be something I am not, but instead to explore just exactly how fun and adventurous and creative this world is and how God wants to move me through it.
I encourage you to do this as well, to let go of this idea of who you are supposed to be, who the world expects you to be, and allow God to show you who HE believes you to be!
It is way more fun this way! GO BE YOU!