It's funny how all of us, especially millennials, want to know and state exactly who we are. We want it established, we want it known, and we want it specific. We don't have time for grey areas when it comes to who we are. Am I right?
"I AM an introvert. However I'm NOT an overly emotional person. I AM this, but I'm NOT that."
As much as we want to establish who we are, consider this: yes, you are you, and you are unique. There are some things about you that won't change at the core. But, read this closely and ask yourself honestly, do you think in trying to be so black-and-white about yourself, that you're actually trying to convince yourself of false things? Are you trying to convince others that you're a certain way because you're really trying to convince yourself?
On the surface the answer to that last question is an obvious yes. Social media is a clear example of us carefully choosing what we want to portray because we want it to be so real: "Look, I'm so happy." "I'm at the beach, what a luxe life I live." "See this music I listen to? This is what I do, I'm such an emotional pioneer..." (Don't worry, I post these things too)
But, I'll give you a more real and pertinent example.
For the longest time I hated talking about deeper, emotional topics with people. I hated being a part of or even witnessing overly beautiful or sad moments.... unless I was completely alone. And when I witnessed those moments alone I would cry my eyes out. I just couldn't help it. But if I was around people, my face would get so flushed and my head would hurt from the pressure of forcing myself not to get sucked in to the moment. I would try to think and imagine any other place, object, or moment, not letting myself be present. And all the while, even in places like a church small group where people would spill their guts and cry, I would say "I'm just not a cryer." Sometimes it wasn't even out loud, but in my OWN HEAD.
Who was I trying to fool?
Well, as you can imagine, because it took so much work to resist, it was a big fat lie. It was a big fat lie to myself more than anyone else. I'm a total cryer. On the scale of 1-10, one being sad ten being joyous, if I don't stay at a straight-up 5, it makes me want to cry. But why does that even matter? Because I was denying myself a piece of my true self. And in that, I was taking God's own beautiful creation and distorting it. I was trying to make that lie a piece of me, but that's not what He made. I am me and you are you for a reason. I learned during a huge period of growth that denying things about my true self only allowed me to keep bigger lies and bigger secrets (which only kept me further from God). When I started owning up to who I was actually made to be, not who I wanted people to see me as, I also started owning up to the secrets that were the most deep and destructive. It took me 27 years to admit I'm a cryer. Being real doesn't have to be immediate, but you need to work toward it. It's true, what they say. You're as sick as your secrets...
So how do you know you're trying to fool yourself? How can you be real with yourself? If you have a hard time with something, if you feel yourself resisting something, if you feel that pang of fear about something, recognize it. Acknowledge it. Explore what's behind that fear. The fear itself isn't the issue; fear is just the resulting emotion. I realized that behind my fear of crying in front of others, I was really resisting being vulnerable and open with people. Praise the Lord I've uncovered that, and here I am writing about it, in hope that we can all be a little more real. That's what we really want, right? For people to "just be real"?
We are fearfully and wonderfully made. Let's stop fooling ourselves into becoming something NOT wonderfully, fearfully, and perfectly made! Who are you trying to fool?