Broken Open

I’ve been feeling this urge to write more frequently over the past few weeks. It’s like I’ve been broken open; all the parts of myself that I’ve tried to censor for as long as I can remember have all come rushing out and I’m completely uninterested in trying to block that out anymore. Now it’s not all good but it’s certainly interesting and in many ways, I feel like I am in the eye of the storm of a breakthrough.

For a long time, I’ve had this idea in my head of who I was expected to be and how I was meant to carry myself in the world. I’ve always been extremely sensitive to the emotions of people around me and I try my best to put myself in their shoes and respond or address them in a way that I would appreciate if I were in their position. Looking back and reflecting on wise counsel, I now understand that a lot of it comes from my childhood. I grew up the first child and grandchild from my father’s family. A lot was expected of me and so I expected even more from myself. I allowed my expectations of myself to be informed by the expectations of those closest to me. It wasn’t until very recently that I realized there are very few people that I feel free enough to be my most authentic self with. And it was because of fear.

I was afraid of not being accepted, of constantly being on the outside looking in and most of all that I would be called a fraud. At the core of it, I was afraid that I never really belonged. And so I allowed some things to happen; nothing serious, just a “not great” comment here or there, a snide remark or a rude tone. As long as I felt like I belonged, failing to set the right boundaries felt like a worthy sacrifice to make. I gloried in conformity. And that was a shocker to me because I often spoke about how I embraced the fact that I was different.

And it has hampered me in many ways but I think I can finally say that I am done with that at this stage in my life. I am a grown woman and I have a responsibility to God first and then myself to express all the gifts and wonderful aspects of my being that I have to offer. I have learned that I cannot be selective about the parts of myself that I try to suppress; it doesn’t work that way. If there is a flaw that needs to be addressed then it needs to be explored. It cannot be explored when it is suppressed and denied in a bid to be “perfect”.

More and more I am coming into myself. It’s not always pretty but it’s truth and that is way more important now more than ever. This life is to short and I honestly have too much to give. And I am overwhelmed with gratitude because I never imagined that I would get to this place.

Who Am I?

For the past couple of weeks, I have been going through an uncomfortable process of revelation and transformation (and I am still going through it). It has been brought to my attention that I still carry insecurities from my past. One of them is this need to feel like I am part of a group that seems esteemed to many. It’s the reason why I have continued to overcommit myself in many ways, failed to draw required boundaries in a number of relationships and felt the need to justify myself and my worth by seemingly giving so much of myself.

I have discovered that it is a trap that many of us fall into, especially women. We feel that we need to be strong and put every person or every cause that we connect to ahead of ourselves. And we end up feeling like we are trapped and have no choice but to make the best of our situation. Another layer of my issue was the fact that I didn’t really believe that I was truly a person of worth unless I worked hard to prove myself. And because I continued to belittle my achievements, I found it difficult to celebrate them. I was always striving to be humble because I was afraid of taking away glory from God and ascribing it to myself.

I discovered something amazing this morning. I started this exercise where I write 40 statements about myself starting with “I am”. And what I use to describe myself has to be a noun. Therefore, I write, “I am strength” not “I am strong” or “I am love” not “I am loving/lovable”. I was struck by the fact that I was initially uncomfortable when I started writing about myself. It felt like arrogance to write, “I am beauty” instead of “I am beautiful” but by the time I got to the 40th statement, there was this feeling of inner validation that sprung up within me. And when I was finished, I wrote, “AND ALL THAT I AM, GOD CREATED”. It was an “aha” moment.

I am free to marvel at all that I am because doing so means that I marvel at who God is. For the things that awe me about myself are the elements of the great God alive in me.

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