Friday, May 11, 2012

Its Time: Everything Beautiful

Do you want to stand out? 
Then step down. 
Be a servant. 
If you puff yourself up, 
you'll get the wind knocked out of you. 
But if you're content to simply be yourself, 
your life will count for plenty.
Matthew 23:11

Be contented to simply be yourself....
Sounds simple enough... yet I spent years and years hiding pieces of me.
Years and years of seeing only my flaws...
When I was 12, during a mother and daughter dinner our church hosted, a family friend came up and complimented me. She said, "Amy, you look so pretty. But you walk like a cow."
That was one of those crushing defining moments. I remember exactly what I was wearing right down to my white sandals. I remember right where I was standing. At times, in my minds eye, I can hear the background noises, voices murmuring, the clank of dishes as the dinner was being cleaned up, the smells...
but most of all, the most vivid, is how horrifyingly less than and totally ashamed I felt in that moment.
I was so mortified I didn't even tell my mother. I tried to practice walking different. I wanted to hide myself away. I couldn't make myself walk different no matter how much I tried. It hurt and felt unnatural.
I felt unnatural.

You're too loud.
Your mouth engages before your brain.
You're too sarcastic, I don't know how to take you.
You're nose is really kinda big and did you know you have a little extra chin under your chin?

I spent years letting the world label me and then one day, not so long ago, I began to rip off those labels.
It started with youth pastoring. It seemed that the me God made had a really great purpose as a youth leader. Being gritty and real had meaning with kids that could spot phoniness at 40 paces. Labels began to peel away and my skin began to fit better on this me.
Then I started homeschooling. People in my world smacked new labels on me. Some stuck and the sticking hurt. Then one day a student in my creative writing class for our homeschool group wrote a story about me. A beautiful story about a fun, Jesus-loving nutty teacher that a group of squirrels mistake for the nut of all nuts. The kiddos started calling me Nutty Ms. Amy. They liked the me that I liked being. They liked my spunk and drive. My wit and wisdom. They, out of so many people in and out of my life, saw the real me and embraced me before I was even able to embrace myself.
I ripped off some more labels and dug myself deeper into The Word. I figured if I was going to let anyone define me, it should be Christ. The Bible opened wide for me and over and over and over again in scripture after scripture God showed me myself. He showed me how He treasures my uniqueness and welcomes my individuality. He showed me how he hand crafted me to be Mr. Steady's perfect helpmeet and my kiddos most needed mama. He showed me how my spunk and optimism should win out over the labels of this world. He showed me that in allowing myself to be labeled I was dimming my Jesus light.
Jesus loves me.
Mr. Steady loves me.
My kiddos love me....
why shouldn't I love being me?
So I threw it all over and embraced me.

The joy Jesus has brought me in this process has been unreal.

He has made everything beautiful in its time.
Ecclesiastes 3:11

That everything? It includes me.
he says I'm beautiful because He made me so.
Who am I to argue with that?!

I still walk funny and I'm still too loud.
I've done a pretty good job of growing into my nose.
I've still got a serious sarcastic streak and that little extra chin isn't quite so little anymore.

When I think of how I walk and I remember how that moment felt... I prefer to think that its not so much the nature of my toes constantly pointing outward but that instead, my walk stands out because it's heading toward Jesus. Closer and closer and closer still towards Him who made me unnatural.
After all, I wasn't meant for this world.

So I'm quite content simply being me.
Its exciting to think Jesus says that counts for plenty.

1 comment:

  1. YES. Amy, this is so good. I know all of us have things we don't like about ourselves. My legs aren't very straight; the knees and feet don't line up. I have teeth that aren't quite white because I like tea and coffee too much. I talk too fast and not clearly enough. And on and on.

    But you have helped me put all that into perspective. God made me the way I am. He didn't create me sinful; my sinful nature creates flaws in me that shouldn't be there. But God can use those, too. My focus shouldn't be on myself, what I do or don't like about who I am. It should be on Him and who HE is--because that's all that matters.

    Thank you!! <3



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