The Your Stories blogs are a place where women can bravely and authentically tell their story as it really is. We invite women to collide with Jesus and share how He is meeting them, transforming them and redeeming them. We hope this “your story” meets you in yours…
I tried writing this post a year ago. I would write two sentences, then delete them, then try again, then check my email, then move on. Even writing this again, I’m trying to edit as I go. It has to be just right, and it has to be right the first time. If you don’t recognize me, it’s probably because I’m in a goofy costume that usually involves a hat that covers my face when I’m on stage at Collide events. I say something silly, then make y’all do something silly and then we’re onto the next thing.
I was born to be a performer. I was an obnoxious, charismatic kid that liked being in front of people. I would eat up applause, I loved the attention, and I had a flare for dramatics. When I was maybe five years old, I was in Disneyland with my family, and we were waiting for the parade to start. Just like any other parade, everyone is sitting and standing on the sidewalks, waiting for all the characters to make their appearance. I had a captive audience. I took the opportunity to put on a show of my own. Cartwheel after cartwheel, spin after spin, wink, wink, blow a kiss. I was my own parade. At extended family gatherings my cousin and I were the source of entertainment as well. We’d try anything to make our relatives laugh. Note: calling 911 and hanging up multiple times in a row is not funny. The police will show up at your house and they will not be happy.
Choir, theatre, math class, you name it, you could hear my voice from across the room whether you wanted to or not. I loved being known for being seen, but I loved it to a fault. To this day I fight the lie that I am loved based on how I perform.
Jesus doesn’t love me unless I prove to Him I’m worth loving. Every day.
My friends don’t love me unless I pay them back when we go to the movies or text them often enough.
My parents don’t love me if I don’t make them proud by being successful.
My significant other won’t love me if I don’t meet their physical needs.
My audience doesn’t love me if I don’t make them laugh. Harder than the last time.
I live under the weight of expectations that I assume all these people have of me.
Outwardly performing, inwardly dying. Trying to be someone to everyone and losing myself in the process. I’ve felt like the enemy has stolen my joy and love for the gifts I have. I deeply love and am humbled by the ease with which I can walk on a stage, but it’s not about me up there. I get to set a space of laughter and comfort, but it’s not about me up there. I get to represent the ministry of Collide and Christ’s joy, but it’s not about me up there. I know the Lord has called me to a fulfilling life, but I won’t get filled if I’m trying to do the filling on my own.
This doesn’t tackle the issue of proving myself to everyone else around me with every corner of my heart and every ounce of my energy. So this is what the Lord tells me is true about me, and it’s true about you too: I am loved because I am. Because I am here. Because the Lord thought me up and formed me and chose me and calls me His precious daughter. I do not have to shower first, I don’t have to say the right thing all the time, I don’t have to pray the holiest prayer, and I don’t have earn my spot at the table.
We do not have to earn our spot at the table.
The enemy will tell you’re job title isn’t good enough, that you don’t make a difference, that your presence doesn’t change anything, and it’s because he is intimidated by what the Lord will call you to if you hear His voice first.
Let yourself just be. Let yourself be loved. Let The Lord tell you the things He adores about you. Let Him use the gifts He’s given you to bring more of His daughters home. But first, let yourself just be. We can’t show our friends who they are in Christ if we don’t go there first.
I am finishing writing this post from a work training where I am learning to be on stage in goofy costumes for an entire month this summer. The enemy is telling me that I’m not good enough, that I’m not funny enough, that I’m not cut out for this. We hear these whispers because we are a threat to the enemy. So that’s how I know that I’m in the right where the Lord wants me.