I’ve discovered the humor in hearing “that happened to YOU?” or “YOU did that?” The shock on a teenager’s face when I shared a bit of my testimony and she responded with: “So I still have a chance then? I can still end up like you?” For a long time, I didn’t know why anyone would want to be like me. Mostly because I didn’t even want to be me.
I now laugh to myself when I catch strangers glaring at me and shoot them a smile in return. I don’t have to verbally defend myself even when someone swears up and down they know me, but couldn’t be more wrong about my heart. I used to care, I used to wish everyone knew who I “really” was and exhaust myself trying to prove it. In the tireless identity pursuit, I completely lost who I was capable of becoming. Now, I’m working to constantly evolve knowing that my heart is content with Jesus. I am safe. These days, the people who “really” know me are those who are asking, spending the time, and making the effort. If they do, great. If they don’t, even better. The point is to be good all on my own.
You see, I’ve made peace with myself when it comes to my life thus far. I’m always going to be misunderstood, maybe that’s not everyone’s problem, but it’s been one of mine for as long as I can remember. No, not some “woe is me” misunderstanding, just a matter-of-fact that I’ve been misjudged for a large portion of my life. I won’t sugarcoat, it certainly stings when someone close to me proportionally misjudges me. What I used to do to ease the pain was mold myself to fit other people’s view of me. I’d act totally different from point A to point B. Now, I could really care less. Being misunderstood might sting, but defining who I am based on other people’s wrong opinion hurts. Today, what you see is what you get and if that’s not good enough, you’re gonna have to talk to my boss and make it a heavenly matter because I don’t have the time. He promoted me to higher places!
I’ve wasted more time than I can count on trivial matters. I’ve spent my yesterdays in gossip that did nothing for me today. I’ve spent my energy disliking people I’d never see again. I’ve missed opportunities to tell people that I love them, or that I’m sorry, or that they were wrong about me. I didn’t do something because I was worried what a group of individuals might think of me. I’ve spent more time working towards other people’s dreams than my own. I’ve spent time making other people feel comfortable in a bid to appear more friendly – but dang, it never pays off. I learned that if someone likes the idea of me, but not who I am, then I will never be able to meet the criteria they have placed on me. And what’s the point of spending all that time, doing all those things, for other people, only to lie in bed at night and not know myself?
God, though. He’s been transforming me so as long as I’m letting Him. I’m not perfect, why do I feel the need to repeat that all of the time? It’s that unmet criteria of others hanging over me… but, just so we’re on the same page from here on out: I know I’m not perfect. But God is. He told me I don’t need to be, actually He told me I never will be. My situations will never be perfect, my life, my love, my heart, nothing of me or about me will ever be perfect. Yet He’s here and He’s perfect. He told me to stop chasing this destination of perfection where I think my prayers will sound better or my life will look so differently. God told me that He wants to sit in this mud with me. He wants to get up with me and take me with Him. Ever feel like you just want to run away? God says “just take my hand, girl.”
God taught me that my confidence will always be perceived wrongly by someone out there. It will always threaten others. And that’s okay, because my confidence isn’t for you – it’s for me. It’s for my family. It’s for my future. God taught me that I could have $20 in my bank account, yet I don’t need to lead a lowly life. He stripped it all away and taught me that my confidence can be the most humble trait about me. I don’t need to yell about it any more.
Wanna know what’s even better than having confidence? Knowing that I deserve it. You do, too.
My past is NOT pretty, but it doesn’t have to be. I’ve gone through traumatic events; ones where the line between wondering am I “guilty” or “innocent” is blurry. Time and time again, I’ve felt the need to explain my way out of these events. Explaining my way out only discredits my emotions, my experiences, and the ability to own my hurt. My hurt needs ownership in order for me to truly heal.
I owned up. I cleared up the lines between innocent and guilty. I made peace. I was tired of living a sad life, so I stopped. I was tired of living life with my feelings hurt all of the time, so I started to speak up. I was tired of doing the exact same thing with the exact same results. I wanted change, I wanted confidence – so I went out and found it. Where did I find it? In myself.
It’s not my parent’s fault any longer, I’m 26, baby! Time to unlearn. Time to teach myself. Time to stop saying “I wish,” and start saying “I will.” Time to grow up.
You know how kids go through that stage of constantly asking “why?”
When did we as adults stop asking why?
In facing myself and answering my own “why” I rediscovered an independence, a real confidence, a familiarity within myself that has been so healthy to get back. Too often did I allow other people’s opinions to impart my decisions or allow other people’s solutions to become my savior. I know again how strong I am. I remembered how far I’ve come. I see how special I can be. I was so focused on being a “Proverbs 31” wife these past five years that I forgot God recognizes me as a woman, as Keryn. He knows me by name. “Wife” says nothing about me other than my marital status. Let’s stop hiding who we are behind titles and start asking ourselves “why?”
When I got married to Chris, I closed myself off to even the idea of considering to love another man. That’s the whole point of marriage, right? It was necessary to do when I was 21-years-old without the wisdom I have today. But as I got older and had these huge life experiences, yet continued to live with a guilt based closed-mind, it put me in a robotic state of “going through the motions.” I relinquished my ability to choose Chris by making him my only option and I forgot why I was married in the first place.
You know, the more that God shows me who Chris and I are as individuals, the more I know God has endless amounts of men and women for us to love, collectively.
I want to love Chris like I could lose him. Better yet, I want to pursue him so that I don’t. He is his own person and actually, he’s more attractive when I see and respect him as such. He’s more himself… the man I fell in love with. You know what I mean… when your spouse goes into the grocery store and on their way out, you don’t immediately recognize them and catch yourself “oh, who’s that?” See your spouse like that every day. Continue the pursuit of their heart’s desires, no matter how long you’ve been together. Imagine all the thoughts that go through your mind daily that you don’t tell anyone about. Not necessarily because they’re bad, maybe just because they’re completely pointless. Imagine all the thoughts your spouse has that you probably haven’t asked about in years. Consider behavior that has become habitual.
“Well, he’s always been that way.”
Yeah, but what if he’s always wanted to change?
Consider it for yourself, too. Sound familiar? “I’ve always been this way.” But is that who you were called to be or who you decided you HAD to be?
We can surround ourselves with the same people every day and still never truly be seen, we can preach every Sunday and never truly be heard. I don’t want to live that life. Knowing my “why” gives me direction. Peace. Clarity. Boldness. A teachable spirit. A loving soul. It gives me, me.
For the first time in a long time, I am safe within myself.
If you’ve felt stuck in life, start within yourself. Redefine every single thing that doesn’t make your heart flutter. Redefine until it all makes sense. Unlearn and relearn until you can answer every single “why” not only to yourself – but to anyone who asks. Repeat it again and again until you have your confidence back.
Then, share it with the world.