Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Embracing Who God Created You to Be

I had a wonderful childhood and didn’t wonder much about why God made me like I am until the 7th grade. My elementary years were like most children who played kickball, four square, played tag with the boys, swung on the monkey bars, had make-believe weddings, and built pine straw houses. I really didn’t have any worries or concerns about much in life because my parents did such a wonderful job in making me feel safe, protected, loved, cared for, and yes, even spoiled…a little.  In the 7th grade I got my very own locker, had to memorize my combination, go to several different classrooms, had to remember what books I needed for which class, be on time to my classes, plan ahead, etc. Yes, it was now time for me to be more responsible and make important decisions about my education…and OH, not to mention I was a new teenager at the same time. That’s a lot to take on at 13!! I remember how some of my teachers liked to teach us by letting us READ ALOUD a portion of a chapter in our book we were studying at the moment. WHAT??? Read by myself in front of everyone??? I prayed every time the teacher told us to get out our books because we were going to read aloud. I prayed that she/he wouldn’t call on me. I would start to sweat, feel my stomach knotting up and would keep my head down avoiding eye contact. I thought they wouldn’t see me so they wouldn’t call on me to read. Well, that didn’t work! They would still go down each row of chairs to read. So, I did a fair amount of my share of reading in class with sweat dripping down my back and my stomach turning in knots. I was not an outgoing child who never met a stranger. In fact, I was the complete opposite, always on my mother’s coattail. Plus, I was the first born, the cautious one. I remember many times in my jr high and high school years questioning God, “Why did you make me this way? Why can’t I be normal like everyone else and talk a lot? I hate being shy!” I had a hard time even saying the word ‘shy’ for many, many years because I hated it so much.

It wasn’t until the 9th grade that I forced myself to ‘come out of my shell’. There were tryouts for the school drill team and I decided to try out. After all, I loved to dance and knew that if I made the team that people wouldn’t call me ‘shy’ anymore. I practiced my routines all the time and worked really hard to make the team. I MADE IT!!! I was so excited and for the next 3 years, I made the team! Over those 3 years, 10th-12th grade, I enjoyed being an Emerald Entertainer. I became more comfortable in who I was and my personality and talent began to shine. I was elected Jr Captain my junior year and Sr Captain my senior year. Talk about a transformation!! I couldn’t believe it! I had grown leaps and bounds from that shy little girl in jr high to a confident leader in high school.  Now don’t get me wrong, I still wasn’t sure of my ability to speak in front of crowds, but I no longer dreaded it with blood, sweat and tears. 

After high school Brady came into my life and we dated for 3 years before we were married. He was totally opposite from me. He would say some of the funniest things off the top of his head and make the whole room laugh wherever we were. I was drawn to his sense of humor and his ability to talk about anything. He made friends easily because he had no fear in talking to anyone. He engaged them and connected with them with little effort. He still does to this day.  As I watched him and took mental notes and applied them to my life, my confidence began to soar and I started becoming more comfortable in who God created me to be.

In the fall of 2006 I received true revelation and true freedom that I had been seeking all of these years to embrace why God created me like this. I went on a personal heartquest with the Lord for 6 days out on a ranch in Texas with 15 other women seeking answers from Him. It was on the 4th day during our break time that I asked the Lord, “What is it that you want me to see?” And He said, “I want you to see that I made you with a quiet and gentle spirit and that’s not a bad thing. It’s a very good thing. So be proud of it and stop looking at it as a hindrance. You’ve got something to say. Now speak it with the confidence that I’ve given you.” Then He took me to His Word in 1 Peter 3:3-4, “Your adornment must not be merely external-braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses; but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God.” It was my light-bulb moment. I now understood that being quiet was a good attribute and I had nothing to be ashamed of.  I have grown a lot in my confidence in not only who God created me to be; but also, in who I am in the Lord. I don’t have to try to measure up with anyone but the Lord. Lisa Bevere wrote a wonderful enlightening book that helped me in the area of women trying to measure up with other women. The name of the book is The True Measure of a Woman and she states that we should measure ourselves in our faith, love, and fear of God. I can promise you that once you read it, you will stop wishing you were something you are not and start embracing who God created you to be.

Here’s a promise from the Lord to you:

"Because she loves me" says the LORD, "I will rescue her; I will protect her, for she acknowledges my name. She will call upon me, and I will answer her; I will be with her in trouble, I will deliver her and honor her. With long life will I satisfy her and show her my salvation." Psalm 91:14-16

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