In case I haven’t already told you, I have a 4-year-old granddaughter named Sophie. She is such a joy to me. When she comes over I drop whatever I am doing to play with her. There is great delight in her face when she looks at me. She enters the house and comes at me in a full-throttle run! Grandma! I love you! This is how she greets me each and every time. I cherish that!
It was one of those special days not long ago. Sophie and I were playing, dancing, singing…just enjoying being together. We heard the doorbell and went to the door together and greeted my neighbor Lyz and her two children, Ellis and Jude. We were both so happy to see them! We quickly invited them in to join us in our fun. It wasn’t long before Sophie began to notice that she was going to have to share. Share her toys, share her books, share her Grandma AND share her favorite Barbie reclining chair. I could see the tension rising in her face. She wanted to be a good little hostess, full of grace and gentleness but at the same time Jude was chewing on her crayons.
“Grandma! He has them in his mouth!”
“It’s ok honey, he’s just a little guy. That’s what little guys do.”
She looked at me for the first time ever with suspicion in her eyes. The tension in her continued to rise and I watched the wheels turning in her head. She brought out her favorite Barbie reclining chair and plopped her cute little bottom down on it, right in the middle of the room. As Ellis asked to have a turn, my darling little Sophie looked at her and simply said….no. I then began to try and reason with this child.
“It’s good to share, really.”
My Sophie would not budge. Enough was enough. Hadn’t she already done all that she could do to show our guests that she was a good little hostess? When I insisted that she would have to give Ellis a turn on the coveted Barbie recliner she stood up, threw down her tiara (seriously, she always wears a tiara at Grandma’s house) and yelled “THIS PARTY’S OVER!”
Don’t we often reach a point in our lives when we think, enough is enough! This party’s over! I’ve shared all I am comfortable sharing! I can’t work any harder! Can’t you people see that I am doing all that I can to prove I am a good little _______________! You fill in the blank. In what areas of your life are you trying to perform? To prove to others you are a good little ____________. When do you see the tension rising because you can’t work hard enough or perform fast enough?
The message I often heard in my self-talk was “in order to people to like you Natalie, you need to keep it all together. Be a good little girl. No matter what happens, be a good little girl. Fake it until you make it.”
At one time in my life I actually considered these words to live by – yep that’s pretty biblical, right? Not so much. These lies were especially tempting to believe because I was a pastor’s wife. I told myself that I had to appear to have it all together, not only so that I would be ok, but so that everyone around me would be ok. I didn’t want to be the cause of their faith being shaken. After all, if the pastor’s wife couldn’t manage her life flawlessly than perhaps she didn’t qualify to be serving. My identity was completely tied in to what others thought of me. I breath deeply as I write this and thank Jesus that He is so much bigger than what I made Him out to be. He doesn’t need me to have it all together, He just requires me to TRUST Him and LOVE others as I love myself. In order to do that, I really need to love and accept myself without exception.
I am so thankful that through Phase I of The Ultimate Journey, I learned God’s truth about who I am, who He made me to be. He tells me that I am enough, just as I am today. There is nothing I can do that will make Him love me more or less. My identity lies solely in the fact that I am His precious daughter. He loves me just as I am. The freedom found when I rest in that truth means that I don’t have to have it all together. In fact, people see God more clearly when I am transparent about where my life is at. I don’t have to try and be a good little girl because Jesus already sees me as a woman made by Him and what He creates is good! It has taken me a good amount of time to believe that I am ok. I can be myself completely. I am best when I am a mess. My party with Jesus is just beginning and I wear my tiara with boldness!