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Saturday, May 8, 2010

Our Sweet Father

Probably a year or two ago when God really started to refine some emotional healing in me (also around the time I thought He was through with that and I was close to a finished product, HA!) I realized what a lack of sense of self I had and how many and how large my insecurities were. I asked God to show me who I was in Him. I asked him to give me a clear definition or picture or sense of who He created me to be because in all of the sin and experiences of myself, my life and this world I had lost that and I needed Him to give it back to me and in some ways re-create it. I can remember begging for that as I felt I was bleeding with insecurities and there are days I still feel so rawly insecure in that way, BUT over the past two years there have been milestones where I have really felt and seen God moving to answer this prayer. There are specific ways He has answered it in my life as well.

I don't think it's a coincidence that I have a high stress job where I am surrounded by teenagers every day and where I have to spend about 7 hours in front of these teenagers with some assurance of who I am and what I'm doing in order to accomplish what needs to be accomplished for things to get done. I also have to command their respect and stand up for myself when it's not given to me or other students.

 This has been life changing for someone who 5 years ago didn't have much of a will or backbone when dealing with other people. Throughout my three years of teaching I have prayed for and watched as God has strengthened my will, and all of those true masculine qualities in me (you know, the commanding qualities that a teacher or someone in charge needs to have). And it's crazy now to me when I hear kids talk about being intimidated by me when my first year I would have done almost anything for that! I don't want to scare or intimidate them, but I'm thankful for a healthy level of respect. It's abundantly clear that He's used my job as a tool to form a stronger sense of who I am in Him.

I also don't think it's a coincidence that in my marriage God has brought us through some serious issues where I've had to call out and confront some things. Again, over and over, God has strengthened my will and assured me that I can do it and He is with me even when other people look at me like I'm a crazy person for confronting my husband for some behavior that needs to be dealt with.

And in the last few months I've watched as God has shown me again professionally how He was giving me back or re-creating my identity in Him. For a little background info, I think I've spent most of my life trying to be the better version of someone else. I've always been emulating other people and until the last few years, haven't been the person God made me to be. I've always sought out attributes in others that I loved and added all those together to make one person in me that I liked. Well that's just a composite of a bunch of other people and that's not what God wanted when He made me. And in teaching the last two years, I have been copying what other teachers were doing for various reasons (lack of instruction, overwhelmed, trying to keep up, lack of creativity, wanting to do the best thing), but I recently discovered how miserable I was just trying to do what someone else was doing all the time and having no ownership in my own lessons. So after some processing, I talked it over with some people and I'm going to try to be creative in my own lesson planning again.

Ok, I know that sounds like, so what, big deal. But for me this was more than just taking back ownership of planning what I do every day in my room. It was like taking back part of my identity as a teacher and as a person. And I know that sounds melodramatic and it probably is, but it was a HUGE emotional shift for me professionally and personally. After I made this switch, it was like a giant weight was lifted off of my shoulders and I could breathe again because I wasn't stifled anymore.

It just feels great to know God is still working on a prayer I prayed or begged him for 2 years ago. He is so faithful.

Another lesson God has taught me over the last two years in finding my identity in Him is I have to keep my eyes on Him. When I focus too much on myself or others, I lose it. I lose my focus, period. That was huge for me. My mom was telling me today that she was reading a book about insecurity and that the way you get over insecurity and deal with it is to find your passion. I agree that doing something you're passionate about can really help in finding your true identity. It really has helped with me. It has been the pathway God has used to teach me a lot of stuff, but I think the key to letting go of insecurity and finding who you really are in Christ is to take your eyes off of yourself and everyone else and to put them on Him. And while you're focused on Him, stop trying to be a better version of everyone else, stop striving period. Just be. Just let Him guide you, love you and form you into the person He created you to be and He'll lead you where you're supposed to go.

Isn't it wonderful to know that our God heals our insecurities? It feels so good to know that because I know that so many women struggle with so many insecurities and fears about themselves. I love that the God that formed the roaring oceans and the billions of stars cares about my little heart and wants me to feel beautiful and that He'll keep working with me until I do. How sweet is He?

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