Fellow Residents of Cyberspace,
Letting others define you is a dangerous game to play. To allow others the ability to dictate how you think or feel affords them much too much power over your own life. If we don’t learn to define ourselves, this world with all too gladly do it for us.
We are constantly being branded. Our jobs, our roles, our actions, our appearances – assumptions and impressions – these are the things the world uses to define us. Each of us is wrapped up, put into a box and stamped with a label.
These narrow definitions have a way of restricting us. All to often we silence those hidden parts of ourselves that don’t mesh with society’s limited perception of us as individuals. We allow their judgement to take hold, to mold us according to their whims, to project their sentiments upon us, to fit us for a role we weren’t meant to play.
While it is one of my lesser known traits, I can not deny that I am a people-pleaser. I want so desperately to be accepted, to belong, that I find myself conforming to these limited definitions. I am a different person to different people. I morph into whoever it is that they – whoever they are – want me to be. At the end of the day, when the masks come off, I am a hollow shell devoid of identity.
The many labels that have been used to define me are words forever etched into my memory. I remember them all, the good and the bad. Just last week I had someone describe me as “bright on the outside and dark on the inside.”
Those words seem to confirm that I don’t belong. I have always been a complex person. Throughout my life I have been labeled as too “good” for secular circles, and not “good” enough for Christian circles. While I never really fit into the Christian box (sunshine and lollipops are not my thing), I never really belonged to the world either. I am not exactly shy in sharing my faith, but I’m painfully honest about acknowledging my humanity.
I have found myself dwelling on those words in the quiet hours of the past few days. Turning them over and over in my head. Not sure whether to take them as a compliment or an insult. Attempting to dissect each word and read between the lines, until it finally dawned on me that it shouldn’t matter. What this one person thinks of me just shouldn’t matter.
I need to learn to let go of the stigmas that have been unwillingly applied, to break away from the framework the world uses to restrain me. To posses the force of mind and sense of self that allows me to recognize that I was made for so much more than this.
I am embarking on a journey to define the impact I want to make on the world. To discover who I am apart from all the labels. Not who I am as a wife, as a daughter, as a sister, as a friend. But who I am as a child of God, wonderfully and fearfully created in His image. Period.
I am complicated. I am dark. I am broken. But I am not without hope. It’s time to discover my true identity.
Next week I’ll reflect on the pain of losing a friend to the twists and turns of life.
Until Next Week,
May You Live Each Moment As If It’s Your Last,
Weekly Reflections: (Disclaimer: The great depths of my sorrow can only be justly compared to the impressive heights of my joy. If you stay tuned in long enough you’ll begin to see the silver ray of hope in even the darkest of my reflections.)
On My Own
I must erase you from my mind,
But thoughts of you I always find.
You’re much too hard to leave behind,
These memories never to rewind.
Lost in this world so cold and dark,
You’ve been my ever-present spark.
To me, you’ve always been so good,
You loved me when I thought none would.
You showed me what true life could mean,
And never once did you demean.
I owe my very life to you,
You changed my every point of view.
You taught me how to just believe,
My life with love and hope you weaved.
And now to think of letting go,
Does fill me with alarming woe.
A better person I became,
I know I’ll never be the same.
You found the deepest parts of me,
I thought no one but I could see.
All that I have I’d gladly bet,
That even if we’d never met,
The ghost of you I would have missed.
For you alone, I would have wished.
You make me laugh with all my soul,
And make my life so good and full.
You touch the depths within my heart,
You had me from the very start.
I never truly felt complete,
Until, at last, fate had us meet.
As for my growth, there’s more to do,
And must be done apart from you.
I must find out just who I am,
This flood of doubts I need to dam.
I need to take a closer look,
Than just the cover of the book.
On my two feet I need to stand,
I hope one day you’ll understand.
Alone I need to figure out,
Just what this life is all about.
When fear sets in and pressure mounts,
And all that’s left to do is doubt,
I need to know I’ll be okay,
To stand and face another day.
I need to know I can survive,
And on my own can be revived.
And so alone, away from you,
I need to try to see this through.
I hope and pray you won’t forget,
To you, I’ll always be in debt.
I hope for me, you will still wait,
I promise I will not be late.
I’ll never rest until I see,
All that this heart alone can be.
For then and only then can we,
Begin anew and start to be,
What you and I both truly need,
To grow together as you lead.
Verse Of The Week:
“Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.” – Isaiah 43:1
What I’m Reading:
Forever (Wolves of Mercy Falls Series #3) by Maggie Stiefvater.