Why being different was never bad in the first place.

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.I was researching neat quotes to mesh my title of this blog and the content but in my dismay I couldn’t find anything substantial on embracing what makes us different.

Poo.

ANYWAY.

Ah readers do you know how incredible you are? Let me gush about you for a second.

You are the only you that has ever existed and that ever will exist. What you bring to life is original and raw, full of complex ideas and countless traits. Your talents, abilities, what makes you laugh, what makes you cry, what you fight for, and what you believe in will only ever be originally you. You are fascinating. Even if we disagreed on every subject I would still be blown away by you.

However, I don’t think it is hidden knowledge to say that being an individual is the hardest it ever has been in the world today. We thrive off of image and being different, when, in fact, we are trimming and editing ourselves to fit a mold that no one is able to obtain. I think of Instagram and how there are days I feel like I don’t want to post anything because I don’t have that cute candid photo or that deep and mind-blowing quote. I confess that I fell into the shallow belief that being a solid believer revolved around how creative and deep you could portray yourself on social media. And it’s really no different in the realm of Christian women. In fact, it might be worse. Its funny; up until I really got involved with social media I never really judged my beauty by how many people clicked a button underneath my photo. I feel this raging pressure to be creative and beautiful and to have cool photos of me taken all the time when I’m not looking and cute whimsical outfits and blah blah blah blah. The thief of comparison definitely works its magic when I am feeling low about myself and take the time to scroll through my news feed.

I had the gift of being able to spend several years at a college of my choice where the student body is chock full of future entrepreneurs, teachers, business owners, doctors, musical genius’s, community leaders and philosophers to name a few. Much of the campus body during their time became involved in non-profits, ministries, stellar internships, study abroad opportunities, and gained student leadership positions during their time in undergrad. I am not saying I was a lazy soul by any means, but my first thought when I arrived at college was not “How can I reach my best career opportunity today?” or “I want to gain as many positions of  leadership as possible!” If I am being completely honest, I didn’t really think too far forward for the first two years of school. Not because I wasn’t interested, but because I was still figuring life out as I went. I have a tendency of being a worrier and over-thinker about pretty much everything. I knew I wanted my future to consist of training dancers, diving into music and growing more as an artist there, working in a ministry organization that helps teens and young women or doing theater on the side (Woof I know. I’m still trying to figure all of this out..stay tuned 😉  But narrowing that down became a way bigger stress than I had planned for. I was recovering from a damaged confidence from years of self deprecation and negative friendships and did not think much of my future or that I could even possess anything impressive to write down on paper. I simply believed that I could support everyone else becoming great but to think the same for myself was something selfish, unattainable, and simply not worth it.

Friends, we are our own WORST enemy. You know who damaged me the most in the end of it all? Myself. We have the insane ability to tune our mind to whatever radio we blast. I was so quick to believe one negative comment about myself and dwell on it for years. I had picked apart my body, personality, voice, face, and  thoughts because I always wanted to be someone better, cooler, prettier, more confident etc. I wanted to be liked and looked up to.

I danced competitively in high school and also participated in theater, and I was always the girl who would have no one to eat with or who always had to say no due to my values for myself. Deep down, I always wondered what was wrong with me.  Lies filled my brain instantly and any self-confidence I had went to the way side. I had many friends, but no one who took the time to invest in me.

“Lord, I just want a true friend”.

I prayed that prayer in my early years of high school. I so desired to be known; to be important in the eyes of my peers, and to feel like I was worth being invested in.

In today’s world, we have drastically changed the expectation for the human being. We live in a pretty much anything-goes society. Although the relaxed standard has helped, true genuine and given time has become an afterthought, and distraction and busyness is our prescribed medication.

I will preach this truth till I die: PEOPLE’S OPINIONS ON YOUR PERSONALITY DO NOT MATTER. I am so sick and tired of looking back on my younger years and remember tolerating mean people and their unnecessary comments. It makes me equally, if not, more angry when I am around people who believe that same lie. People-pleasing is deceiving in the fact that it does not benefit anyone. You end up sacrificing your thoughts, beliefs, feelings and priorities and end up silencing your needs. There is nothing wrong with thinking of others. There is something wrong when others whims become more important than your needs.

Be YOU. And only you. The only time you need to apologize for yourself is if you intentionally (or sometimes unintentionally) hurt somebody. If you are doing everything you can to seek goodness and righteousness, then do not let Opinion pick you apart to no end.

Just because some people don’t like peaches doesn’t mean peaches aren’t vibrant, beautiful, full of flavor, and important in the fruit family (You go peach lovers!).

 “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters.” Colossians 3:23

I used to fear pretty much everyone. My boss, my teachers, friends, parents. I was petrified of disappointing people or seeming weak and incapable. I had friends who would point out my flawed appearance, how weird I was, or how loud I was on a daily basis. I felt like I was never enough for the friendships in my life. In the eyes of authority figures, I felt weak and looked down upon. At the root of this, I realized that I unintentionally gave people the permission to give me value based on their critiques. I was involved in a world where I stared at my body in the mirror every day and continually was picked a part in order to succeed at my craft. On the outside, my friendships were distant, unhealthy, and at the time filled with heavy trails of comparison. Then one day I remembered that although these people’s instruction in my life mattered, their negative actions and opinions towards me did not.

“So we can say with confidence, “The LORD is my helper, so I will have no fear. What can mere people do to me?” Hebrews 13:6

 

God doesn’t want us to fear people. If we do, we have made them a god in our life. We are called to serve others in the name of Jesus, as working for the Lord, and not for men. Respect those who are placed in your life, but make sure that you give  Jesus the first say in your worth. He is the only opinion that matters. He is the only opinion that will give you true peace in yourself. I have found true peace in who I am, because I know we are all a work in progress seeking after the life of Christ. Human beings cannot take that away.

You like some things that are different from your friends? Embrace it. You have quirky humor? A loud laugh? Books? Art? Sports? Crafts? Knitting? Animals? More artistic interests? Those are God-given. They were given to you so that you could enjoy this world and inspire others. So be you, be different, and embrace the passions and calling the Lord has placed in your life. He is going to fulfill them in indescribable ways. And only you will be able to carry them out in Jesus’s name.

I hope you find some encouragement in what I have written above, reader. Oh the freedom you will experience when you let go of people-pleasing and pursue unashamed passions that the Lord has given you.

Go forth and thrive.

All my love,

Sarah

 

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