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Who I am…

The clock next to the bed taunted me. The time glaring back just more proof that I wasn’t sleeping. I had counted the slats in the vertical blinds, the spots on the ceiling and traced the track of a single fan blade as it whirled round. It was one of those nights where the ghosts in my head forbid me to rest.

She’s so calm and gentle. Why can’t you be more like that?

Her voice is so tender and soft, not like yours.

She’s so feminine, creative, a naturally-tidy-born-to-decorate-homemaker.

Who I AmI’ve struggled with this my entire adult life. I’m loud, brash, boisterous and intense. I thrive with just a bit of chaos around me; if things are completely tidy, clean, sterile, I feel stifled. My house is messy, my voice is harsh and loud instead of soft and sweet. Whether happy or sad, angry or tired I tend to speak with a high volume and strong words.

And I’ve always hated that about myself.

Why can’t I be more feminine? Softer? Sweeter?

Then while reading a book recently, the author asked the reader to put the book down and go read Psalm 139. Really read it. Like many Christians, I had read this chapter umpteen times. I was doubtful, but whispered a prayer for fresh eyes and cracked open the Word.

“For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made…” (v. 13-14)

I started thinking about knitting…and creativity. And how He put more thought, ideas, planning and reasoning into how to create me than the most talented artist, sculptor or weaver on earth.

I felt a tug deep down that He made me the way I am for a reason. It’s not an accident that my personality is strong, my voice loud. And yet…

I feel stuck.

I feel stuck in between who I am and who I want to be.

Who I am and who He intends for me to be.

Who I want to be and who He wants me to be.

That there is more than who I am right now, and I’m ready for change.

But I’m scared of the work.

I say I want to be nothing more, nothing less, than what He wants me to be. I want to be as fully me as He intends, and as full of His Spirit and strength as humanly possible. And yet…

I suppose the adage is right that the grass is always greener on the other side…I know many demure, quiet women who wish they were more outgoing, stronger (not that they are weak, but stronger in assertiveness, etc).

I don’t doubt that God wants to cultivate the gentler side of me. After all, gentleness is one of the fruits of the Spirit – evidence that He is at work in me. And oh how I want that; long for it.

But I also know that to continually trash-talk the innate me that He created on purpose is to spit in the face of the master sculptor. It is the novice stick-man-doodler giving pointers to the expert painter.

So here I sit, stuck in between, praying for the grace to accept who I am, yet be willing to work and allow the change that will make me more like Him.

I don’t have all the answers…heck, I’m not sure I have any of the answers. But for now, when those dark thoughts arise loathing who I am and pining for who I am not, I will whisper a prayer for grace, strength and peace and remind myself…

I am fearfully and wonderfully made.


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9 Responses to “Who I am…”

  1. Christina says:

    Thank you so much for putting in to words how I feel. I’m a rough around the edges, straight to the point kind of girl. I have soft moments but that is not who I am. I feel pulled to be more gentle and soft and will continue to work on it with His help but it seems so unnatural to me. Knowing that I am fearfully and wonderfully made by my Father keeps my chin up and a smile on my face regardless of how down I might get sometimes. Knowing I am His masterpiece is always reassuring. Thank you again πŸ™‚

    • Thank you, Christina, for taking the time to share! It also helps me to know/remember their are other gals like me out there, too. And all of us with all of our different personalities, shapes, sizes, and similarities form a beautiful tapestry.

  2. Joni Ward says:

    I remember this struggle ( I am a wee bit older now) and most of the struggle came from not what I wanted to be but who I felt like others (especially the Christian culture) thought I should be. Yes I do need to have God tame my tongue and show me a better way of communicating so I could be heard (but part of that was also others around me were not able to listen to me because I am a woman). Yes I do desire to grow into the person He has designed me to be. I will tell you I wasted a lot of good time trying to fit into some mold while at the same time feeling this internal disconnect. It is a shame as women that we cannot shed these false “ideas” we have created (or have allowed to be created for us) earlier on.

    One of the things that has resonated recently with me came out of reading Rachel Held Evans The Year of Biblical Womanhood. There is a lot in this book that is fun, a bit tongue in cheek, but she shares learning about the “dreaded” Proverbs 31 passage and what it really means in the Jewish Culture. This is a song of praise that husbands sing to their wives, not just only if they deserve it but as a way of thanksgiving for their wives. The term virtuous woman as translated in most of our Bibles is Eschet Chayil and really means a woman of valor. Now how would you feel if your girlfriends greeted you everyday with Christina, you are a woman of valor created in God’s image for such a time as this? We need to be encouraging each other with this.

    At my church we recently finished a study on Ephesians and once again I am reminded of God’s grace and what that means. Everything that I am is grounded in Christ and God’s grace. I am seated in the heavenlies RIGHT NOW. Because I am in Christ each day is new and I have all the power, blessings, creativity, spiritual knowledge of Christ available to me to be a river of living waters to others around me. This blessing of Grace is there for us to be able to related to one another for a bigger purpose of showing others the grace of God.

    Eshet Chayil, Be encouraged my sisters in Christ. Do not let the whispers of the past or of those who have decided how you are supposed to be because you are a woman, wife, mother cripple you with doubts and unbelief. Look to God and God’s word for those answers and remember that you are the only YOU and God has you where you are right now for a reason. Remember who you are in Christ. Look around and ask God “where are you at work and how can I join you?”

    Remember the great commandment, the Shema: To love God with all your heart, mind and soul and to love your neighbor as yourself. Love God then yourself and then use your unique giftedness to love those around you. Seek justice, love mercy, walk humbly with your God. Amen, let it be so.

  3. Kasey Norton says:

    I’m right there stuck with you! This is beautifully written…thank you!

  4. adelineoh says:

    You would fit in perfectly in the Dominican Republic. I do, too. Be who you are meant to be, all glorious you. You’re not a robot or a cardboard cut-out. You’re wonderfully and fearfully made. Not an afterthought. Be bold, be brash, be exuberant! When I was in the Andes, I would speak as I normally did and do now, expressively and with hands everywhere. Sometimes, my voice would rise as I got excited in the telling of a tale or in explaining something. I was always told to “calm down”. They never liked me being expressive or exuberant or a tad bit loud with my voice. For years after that, I was never sure of how I should be to fit into the culture and I was scared to be me. I am now in another culture where one is required to be loud and brash and exuberant because if one is quiet or soft spoken, no one would pay any attention to him or her. I have learned that one cannot seek to please other people because it is impossible. Seek to please God in who you are and in what you bring to the table, so to speak. As long as your motive is love and to please God, you cannot fail. If you keep looking to Him and keep Him as your centre, He will show you when you need to be quiet, loud, exuberant, etc. πŸ™‚

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