When I was a little girl my mom signed me up for ballet class. I was head and shoulders taller than all the other girls in the class. I also happened to be the only African-American. The teacher would often put me in the middle (much to my dismay). As we would dance I would feel completely out of place.
That was when I started my list. I would look around the room and take mental note of everything that I was not. My teacher put me in the middle because she loved my height and my skin tone. She would often tell my mother that I was born to stand out but I didn’t understand that. All I saw was my list of, “I’m not’s”. So I quit the class.
Years have gone by and I wish that I could say that I’ve finally laid my list aside but truthfully at times it still rears its ugly head. I have a list on how I relate to people. Another list on how to behave in certain settings, what to eat, what to wear, and how I look compared to what I dream of becoming. While goal setting is good, holding rigid lists of what we need to be, and bashing ourselves for who we aren’t, is unkind. If I could, I would shake anyone who feels this way and say, it’s NOT healthy.
I learned to live with this list, even though 95% of the time it produces feelings of inadequacy and a sense of being less than. Worse still, it keeps me from wanting to connect with God. I know I’m not alone in this and today I simply want to extend some encouragement.
Jesus asked his disciples, “Who do you say that I am?” Each gave his own answer based on what they’d heard others speak but only one stopped long enough and spoke what he knew. As I began my journey of trashing my list, I felt Holy Spirit encourage me to turn Jesus’ question back on Him. “God, who do you say that I am?” Freedom follows truth and while it’s sort of a duh moment, we often need to be reminded of who God says that we are to Him.
I am finding that as I lay my list down in exchange for His truths, It isn’t as hard to be myself (someone who is uniquely designed to stand out). I don’t have to compete or compare. Today put down your list and know that you are enough, you are beautiful, you are carefully and wonderfully made. I’ll say it to you like God said it to me, “I made you well…I made you on purpose.”
Lauren Sims is a 27-year-old daughter of God who currently resides in the Temecula Valley. She is passionate about seeing women restored in the areas of self-worth and purpose. She holds a BS in Criminal Justice, has an eye for photography, creative arts and a skill for bringing the world around her to life through writing. She is excited to continue to grow and see how God will be glorified through her life.