Ever have those days when a message gets repeated over and over and over in various contexts? …one of those days where you start to think that maybe God might be trying to tell you something?
Today is one of those days for me. The “something” isn’t anything grand or revolutionary. It’s nothing new… God’s told me these things before and often with a lot more power. As I saw this theme pop up today, it wasn’t life changing; it didn’t shatter my reality or bring about some great insight. It actually kind of makes me think of the story where God tells Elijah that he’s going to show up. There was some great wind, but God wasn’t in the wind. There was an earthquake, but God wasn’t in the earthquake. There was a fire, but God wasn’t in the fire. God simply came in a “gentle whisper.” Today, God’s Presense (as we’ve been talking about all Advent here at FT) didn’t come in any big way today… but rather in a couple gentle whispers. I guess the easiest way to say it is that God simply wanted to remind me …to be me.
It started this morning as I wandered through the blogosphere. On one of the blogs I read regularly, someone had posted a comment and the title of their blog caught my attention: Giving Up on Perfect. As I opened the page I read this quote in her header:
“The thing that is really hard, and is really amazing, is giving up on being perfect and beginning the work of becoming yourself.” – Anna Quindlen
“… the work of becoming yourself.” I don’t know, but for some reason I feel like it shouldn’t be “work” to be yourself. Shouldn’t that be natural? Shouldn’t that be effortless? But the more I think about this as I’m writing, the more I realize it really is hard work. I think about the youth and young adults I work with each and everyday (including myself!!!) and I realize that it is hard word to become the person God has uniquely designed you to be. Parents, teachers, friends, movies, television shows, commercials, and yes…even church all lay out ideas of who the best you is. Even in the midst of good intentions and maybe even accurate insight into who you are, mixed messages make “becoming me” hard work. Big life decisions make “becoming me” hard work. Figuring out what you really want in life is hard work.
This afternoon while looking for some resources at work, I stumbled upon another blog: Average Youth Ministry. The subtitle of the blog was what drew me back to the reminder to “be yourself” from the morning… the second “gentle whisper”:
“Average Youth Ministry: Settling into who God made you to be”.
I’m not sure what “the work of becoming [me]” nor “settling into who God made [me] to be” actually looks like, but I know that’s right where I am right now… right smack dab in the midst of the “working” and the “settling”. As the quote above says, it may be a hard place to be at times, but it is also a really amazing place… a place of “average”… a place of giving up on perfect… a place I’m learning to love. 🙂
“But by the grace of God, I am what I am.” 1 Corinthians 15:10