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They say to be who you are.
Just be you. The world needs you and your voice and your perspective. Don’t compare yourself to anyone else or wish for what they have, because God has a unique plan just for you.
They say it and say it and say it. They all say it. And you know it. You know it in your head but the connection between your head and your heart is so broken. Just so broken. And the running marquee continues to display,
But what if you don’t know who you are? Or worse, what if you know exactly who you are, but don’t like it?
What if — when the pressure rises and you feel completely lost and full of doubt — the real you that you fought to keep hidden emerges? And she’s a petulant child, kicking and screaming what about me??
What if, when everyone’s telling you to be you — you suddenly realize you don’t want to be her?
We struggle with not feeling enough — smart enough, strong enough, pretty enough, talented enough, thin enough, known enough. And the insecurities and doubts that arise from feeling just not enough can drive you into a shell you weren’t born with.
And those times are hard — not feeling enough is hard.
But in those times, you don’t recognize it as who you are…you recognize it as what you’re not.
Then there are The Times. The times when your flesh takes over every part of your mind and soul, and nothing you tell yourself — no thoughts or clichés or scriptures you muster forth — can shove it back down.
And you’re forced to stare face-to-face with the reality of you. The ugly, sinful you that is so easy to keep hidden from the world as they watch you from the outside and read your carefully crafted words and know your (photoshopped) highlight real.
And there you are. You and y-o-u. And your breath catches and you want to turn away but there’s nowhere to go. And your heart aches because she is not who you want to be. But she’s part of you. She might not take over all the time, but she’s there — lurking under the surface and now that you’ve gotten a glimpse of her, you fall to your knees in a desperate cry for God to redeem her and make something beautiful from the ashes she holds out with trembling hands and red, swollen eyes.
This concept of being — of being still and being free — it can’t always be a quiet moment in a fall meadow. It can’t always be moments of peace in your cozy chair with your fuzzy blanket, or giggles with your daughter or snuggles with your son.
Sometimes, being means sitting with you — with who you are, the real you — and owning her. Recognizing the ugly and the sinful — the brutal and the broken. It’s being aware that you are not perfect, you aren’t quite whole, you just aren’t there yet.
Sometimes, being means accepting you. All of you. The messy and the chaotic in the left hand stretched as far as it can. And the healed and the redeemed in the right hand stretched as far as it can.
Sometimes being means recognizing that Christ is the one in the middle of the left and the right and He’s the bridge to both of them. Recognizing that you’re not either/or. You’re both.
Remembering Jesus is the and.
And when you realize that this tension is supposed to exist, you realize that they are actually right. You can be who you are.
Because who you are is held together only — ONLY — by the grace of God. And that is a story that always stays fresh and never gets old and we can never tire of hearing.
The world needs you and your voice and your perspective. Because God’s word is always alive and His word is etched on our hearts and in His hands, and therefore it can never be old.
You and you, and Jesus is the and.
You Jesus you.
They say to be who you are.
And they’re right.