I married at the ripe old age of 20 to my high school sweetheart. My husband is everything I’m not. He makes friends just by entering a room. People are truly drawn to him, and have polarized opinions. They either love him or hate him.
I, on the other hand, am the wallflower. I live to blend in. I could read and write all day in silence and be perfectly content. If I have anything important to say, I write it down first. If I don’t, whatever comes out of my mouth is going to end up a jumble of nonsense.
When I met my husband, I knew he was called to ministry, and as time went on, I felt a similar call on my own life. His calling was clear. He was made to stand before others, to lead, to proclaim the gospel message before groups of people. Not being raised attending a church on a regular basis I only had a loose concept of all a life of ministry entailed.
I had a big question. What was my calling? I was even more painfully shy then than I am now. I was no orator. I could not sing. I had no particular talent that I felt I could share with others. Well meaning church-goers made gentle and sometimes teasing suggestions on how I could be a better pastor’s wife. They meant well. Some of the things they said were true, but my take away message was that who I was wasn’t enough. I needed to be more, better, different.
I actually tried for awhile, being someone I was not. I tried to “fix” my weaknesses. I made daily goals for stepping outside my comfort zone to be the person I thought I was expected to be. Growing out of your comfort zone is not necessarily a bad thing, but I was trying to “fix” my weakness when I did not yet know my strengths. I ended up discouraged and emotionally fatigued.
In a lightbulb moment, God spoke to my heart, and said, “You know who you aren’t but do you know who you are?”
I didn’t. Growing up I had defined myself as athlete and student. Now that I was married and in ministry, I was a pastor’s wife, but I didn’t feel like a good one (rough stuff for a perfectionist). As it turns out, God was not asking about what I did, he was asking about my heart.
After a lot of struggle I learned the beauty of who God created me to be. On purpose, he created me to be quiet and reserved, calm and level-headed, and an observer of the world around me. He made me a listener that can hear the weight of the world, and not carry that burden on my own shoulders. I am stubborn as all get out, and the word quit is not in my vocabulary. I will likely never be an orator on a stage, but that’s okay. (And then again maybe I will, God has an incredible sense of humor.)
I was like a shoe trying to be a shirt. It didn’t work, and everyone was uncomfortable. As I further understood my purpose, I realized I didn’t have to become a shirt. I needed to become a better shoe. Or maybe I’m the underwear. See what I did there? Supportive under-layer, that when performing at its best, no one knows it’s there. Har har ;).
As a disclaimer, God created me to be reserved, but not shy and fear-based in pursuing relationships. God and I still work on my social anxiety issues, but its not by a 12-step program. He teaches me to become more and more comfortable with who I was created to be. (On that note, I just got Michael Hyatt’s podcast notification in my inbox: How to Become a Better Conversationalist. I think I will go check that out after I finish this. I need all the help I can get!)
God made every individual with a purpose. It is a phrase many of us have heard our entire lives, but struggle to believe. We don’t know who we are, and therefore don’t understand our reason for being. We take those ridiculous (and some scientifically based) quizzes in a search for validation. If we don’t understand ourselves, we hope some rubric gets us.
Every follower of Christ is an active member of the body. He made you on purpose with a purpose. He equips us all for service. 1 Corinthians 12:27
Do you struggle to find who God created you to be? Does the essence of who you are get lost in the opinions of others? Comment below. If you would like to hear more about my journey to find myself, ask away!