[Who am I?]
After I wrote The Girl Who Wouldn’t Speak it was something of an epiphany for me. I saw so much in my story that I’d never seen before, namely God’s hand in my life, and how it’s all pieced together for good.
Through my mid teens I really didn’t know who I was; so when it came time to start planning for my future I was very confused and unsure. I had no picture whatsoever of who I wanted to be, was meant to be, or what I was even suited for. Everything I tried to put my hand to never really panned out for me, and I just couldn’t find my place. Having social anxiety and low self-esteem made everything challenging, I never had the courage to really see anything through.
After barely passing a legal secretarial course I’d taken, I had no confidence to pursue work in this field; so the thought of working for a lawyer made me too nervous to even try. Finding and keeping jobs was always difficult for me. I always felt much younger than my true age due to the fear, and felt like a child well into my adult years.
I never pursued getting my drivers licence because I couldn’t see myself doing something so grown up, or being so independent. Driving also has a social component to it. (You’re out on the road with other drivers.) I could just imagine getting into a sticky situation, freezing up, and having my mind go blank like it always did in stressful situations. I wasn’t about to put myself in that sort of danger, nor others.
I still don’t have my license, but more so because I’m very protective of others, so I still have a bit of that ‘what if I cause an accident, and someone gets hurt or worse?’ I’m too soft hearted. Mentally, I know I couldn’t handle being the cause of a traffic accident, and I just don’t need that added stress of driving. I’ve seen how stressed Andrew gets in traffic, and with my health issues I just can’t handle that added stress. Sometimes people would give me a hard time for not having my license, (apparently they still do.) but Andrew always respected my reasons for not driving, and has always been more than glad to be my chauffeur.
When Andrew and I married I became a homemaker. Due to the fact that I’d had such a rough time out in the work force Andrew wanted to protect me and told me that I didn’t need to work. I was more than happy to take him up on that offer. When I met Andrew I hated social situations, and I dreaded being alone with anyone for fear they might actually talk to me. I couldn’t see anything good in myself. I wasn’t working, so I felt like others would just see me as lazy. I just didn’t know how to do social situations. Conversing with people never came naturally to me, thus I clung to Andrew and followed him around like a lost puppy.
I remember when Andrew and I were dating how I’d try to avoid being alone with his mom. Which is a little humorous to me now because first of all, she’s one of the nicest people you’ll ever meet, and secondly now I talk her ear off; but I was extremely insecure, I felt stupid, and I was sure everyone would think that I was as useless as I saw myself. I didn’t feel I had much of a personality. At this point (In my twenties) I still barely even had a voice, and I was pretty much hiding out. My awkwardness sometimes even made others uncomfortable or awkward around me, which made me feel worse. Social anxiety really is the pits. It’s not a fun place to be.
Because Andrew was so protective of me he’d speak for me when I’d freeze up. Sometimes he’d get a bit of grief from others because they thought that he wasn’t allowing me to speak for myself. That was never the case. I needed and wanted him to help me out. As I started to gain a bit of confidence though I did have to let him know that he didn’t have to jump in, unless he saw that I needed to be rescued. I needed and wanted that space to grow, and he was more than happy to see me coming out of my shell. For the most part I’ve lost that anxiety. I still feel a little awkward at times, and certain personalities can make me feel insecure, as well as a little guarded, but overall I’m not who I was, and I enjoy people.
Who I was and who I was meant to be got lost in all of my struggles. The real me is still there though, and has definitely resurfaced over the years. I’m still losing more of my insecurities as I draw closer to God, and I’m no where near the shy kid that I once was. I also have no doubt that if God has anything to say about it (which He does), I’ll keep growing even more comfortable in my own skin. I’m too busy these days loving on others to be so focused on who I am, too close to my family in God, and too close to God to feel the way that I once had.
While looking through pictures, I came across these two photographs of my younger brother and myself. In both of them I’m making some pretty funny faces. That one picture in which my little brother has his tongue out, you can be sure that he was giving me a hard time. The look on both of our faces says it all. l know that look on my face well; and I still make a face like that when I’m being teased.
As I looked at both of those pictures, I saw the real me. I also saw who God sees; that happy, goofy girl, with her arm around her brother. I grew up with three brothers, and that’s likely why I’ve always had a real soft spot for my brothers in Christ as well. I was surrounded by boys growing up (my cousins were all males too). You’d likely think that I must have yearned for a sister, but I really didn’t know any different back then. Life was always so interesting with the boys, so I was kept very entertained. (Though it definitely would have been nice to have had some sisters to relate to, as I struggled through those awkward and lonely teen years).
What I see now however, in all the things that I’ve come through, is how God can and does bring good out of everything we’ve been through. We all have a story, and we all face our devils, but God is bigger than all of those adversities. Though there’s still work to be done in me, I’ve experienced how He can repair even the worst of our despairs and struggles if we allow Him the opportunity to do so.
I’ve also experience how He supplies when you’re feeling so empty handed, insignificant, and useless. My self-esteem took a beating for the first part of my life, but God does mend and restore. If you’re not there yet, rest assured that you can trust God to see you through, you just have to give Him the go ahead to do that work in you.
What God sees when He looks at us, is the masterpiece He wants to complete in His precious treasured child, and the bright future that He has planned for you. Who I am (and who you are) is found in Jesus alone. If you don’t know who you are He will show you. The plot and the pictures however, ultimately are of our own choosing. So choose carefully and choose wisely.
“How’s your story gonna read
When they call your name
And it’s all there in black and white?
Will you follow or will you lead?
Will you quietly disappear
Or is this whole world gonna know
That you were here?”
Matthew West/Out of Time
If you’re interested in how I became a Christian —–> Moving In