ďYou refuse to accept yourself because you are not someone else.Ē
The Lord whispered this in my ear recently. Contemplating that statement was like unearthing what I thought to be an interesting little pebble, only to discover it was the tip of a sizeable rock.
I admit I havenít felt introspective lately. Maybe thatís why I shrugged it off. I didnít want to think deeply about anything. I just wanted to eat Doritos and play Super Mario Brothers with my kids.
But as I tried to remain on the surface of daily life, I kept tripping over this protrusion. It forced me to seriously consider that little sentence. Suddenly, I began to see how self-rejection has sullied almost every area of my being. So I started digging, compelled by both resolve and morbid fascination. What I uncovered was a solid mass of deception that had sunken into the soil of my soul.
The lie that who I am is somehow lacking or wrong pervaded my thoughts. It was always skulking around in my subconscious, convincing me that I am less valuable because I am different.
How many times have I coveted the unique qualities I admire in others? Or failed to nurture the people in my life, because their individuality made me feel inadequate? Instead of appreciating their distinctive beauty and strengths, I have subtly tried to fabricate them. This was a breeding ground for frustration, exhaustion, confusion, and depression.
I have also tried to shoulder responsibilities that I am not designed to carry. If I recognized a lack in a relationship or situation, I would often try to make up the difference, even if it wasnít my place to do so. Beneath my genuine concern, pride was lurking, convincing me, ďIf so-and so isnít going to do such-and-such, then I will have to do it.Ē There are times we should come along side others in support; but we each have our own specific roles.
I canít function as a father to my children, because I am their mother. If I try to act as their father, I usurp my husbandís place in their lives. Next thing you know, my family is in a state of disarray because I have stepped outside of my station. (I have a deep respect for single parents; I only use this as an example from my own situation.)
Maybe your tooth is infected, and you donít have a dentist. I can be sorry youíre hurting, but that doesnít mean I should pull it. It isnít my job. Furthermore, if you decide not to find a dentist, I canít make you. Ultimately, your choices are not my responsibility. It seems simple enough, but emotional involvement can easily blur the lines.
This attitude has run rampant in my spiritual life as well. ďWow Lord, youíve really dropped the ball this time. I better take it from here.Ē This thought would slither around and then nest in some cool, dark chamber of my heart. It was often in those moments when God seemed absent, because He was silent. Or I perceived Him to be silent, because He was not acting in a way I understood.
By attempting to wear the distinguishing traits of others, and by struggling to fulfill a role that is not mine, the weight of false responsibility became buried in my life. False responsibility is so cumbersome and distracting that I began to recoil from the idea of responsibility itself. This fear caused me to withdraw by refusing to make decisions. If I am not fully committed to a choice, then I can retract. I can then make changes to garner acceptance or to avoid any additional burden. To be decisive is to open yourself to responsibility and the possibility of rejection. But to not decide is a dishonest, cowardly existence.
I donít want to hover around the edges of my life, refusing to be present as myself. Or to disallow the person God created me to be, by becoming an amalgamation of other people.
Why cower in fear of rejection, if God Himself loves me as I am?
Why be encumbered by a part I am not equipped to play?
Yet, I am being confronted by my own hesitation. The thing is, as long as I am grappling with my identity, I feel relieved of the responsibility of being myself. But enough is enough. Iím ready to relinquish this hall pass and find my seat.
As I settle in, I realize that God-entrusted responsibility is designed so that we will lean on Him to carry the weight. The burden is easy, because it is done in the power of His strength. I am learning to embrace the simplicity of this truth.
If this is not the entire substance of the rock I excavated, it is at least the shape of it. Either way, Iím done carting it around.
Now if you will excuse me, Luigi, Toad and I have a princess to rescue.
ďI will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well. My frame was not hidden from You, when I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.Ē Psalm 139:14, 15