Come middle school, I was still singing wherever I went, and I still only had a few close friends. I asked a lot of questions and worked hard for my A+ grades. Junior high brought about a love of boys, but I was still strong willed and still just a bit different because I didn't go through a real questioning stage of my life. When the majority of girls around me were struggling to fit in and feeling awkward, I was proud of who I was and not really ashamed to let others know.
In high school, I hung out with a group of friends from church and my best friend. I became so convinced that my way was the only way of thinking. I also desired to be the best in everything. I remember taking a test in Bible class and being devastated because I got one wrong, and a simple one at that: Who sold Jesus to be killed? I had studied and studied for that test and I loved my teacher. I wanted to be the first person to ever get 100% on his test. When I got such an easy question wrong, I beat myself up over it!
I was a perfectionist and I longed to please others. It has taken me many, many years to admit that the majority of the reason I never rebelled wasn't out of a heart felt conviction, but rather to please people. My parents, my teacher, my pastor...you name them and I wanted to please them.
Legalism at it's finest.
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This leads up to me becoming a mom. Becoming a mama has been one of the most joyful and amazing experiences of my life. It also has left me feeling alone and the odd man out. For you see, sometime in the last few years I started to find out what I really believed about God, politics, drinking, parenting, tattoos, homosexuality, and a whole host of hot button topics. I searched God's heart on these matters and followed Him truly for the first time in my whole life without the desire to please others. I didn't follow blindly because someone told me to, rather I searched out the truth and asked questions.
But old habits die hard. There are times still in my life at almost 30 years old that I so long to be a part of the crowd. That I feel so incredibly alone and lost that I just want to agree to the parenting beliefs of those around me, or just vote Republican because that is what Christians should do, or act a certain way just to fit in with those around me.
And I hate that about me.
Slowly though, I realize that parenting brought me to a lifelong journey of resting in the God who created me as I am. That my worth is not in pleasing others or in being a good enough Christian. Instead, my worth has already been completed through Christ. That He sees me as a daughter of His despite being different. That I don't have to please Him or others by conforming to a certain box.
I'm not always perfect in believing this and sometimes I struggle with it, but I'm trying to rest in His grace and His love so that I can pass it on to those around me.
I'm not sure why today I decided to go ahead and click the orange publish button. After all, it leaves me so exposed and open, which does scare me. But perhaps one of you needs to hear that you are already perfect and being who you are makes you real and genuine despite what others think. It's the lesson I've had to learn and while hard, it has brought about so much freedom which is truly what God wants.