february recap: identity

It’s been about a month since I’ve posted. At first this felt like failure because I had a goal to post every Monday in 2018. Then I remembered my word for this year – GRACE – and I talked myself through the last month thinking when would i have had the time to sit down and write? I didn’t.

This month has been one of the fullest of my life. I describe it that way because I read somewhere that it’s powerful to replace the word “busy” with “full” or “full of life”. So February has been REAL full of life!

A short recap includes:

1. Flew to Ohio February 1st

2. Nick threw a bachelor party & I spent the weekend with my parents

3. I worked remote

4. We spent time with both sets of parents & grandparents

5. We ate at our favorite Ohio restaurants

6. We made time for friends we hadn’t seen in a year or more

7. Made it to this girl’s bridal shower

8. Wedding #1 was beautiful & SO fun (hubs & I forgot to take a pic together)

9. Flew to Oregon from Ohio feb 14th

10. We witnessed our best friends get married and got to be a part of the incredible day (not posting pics I have of this day because they’re all blurry 🤦🏼‍♀️)

11. I went snowboarding for the first time in years…

I’m honestly still recovering from our cross country trip, even though it’s been a week since we got home.

I love doing these recaps because I get to reflect on what I’ve learned the past month, & MAN has this month been enlightening.

I have learned more about my identity in the past month than I have in years.

For me, the hardest part about “identity” is my desire for approval from others. I worry constantly about people not liking me, talking about me behind my back, or making fun of me.

This sounds like a middle schooler’s fears. Maybe that’s because I struggled through middle school & high school to understand my true self vs the self everyone else accepted.

It hasn’t been until recently that I’ve let my true self be expressed to other people, despite a mountain of insecurities.

While I was in Ohio, I learned about this Doritos campaign. I was infuriated.

Why? Why did I get so upset about a stupid chip brand saying they wanted to make quieter, cleaner chips for women?

I value being self-aware, so I took time to think on this.

Afterwards, I realized a large part of this is because I’m a loud person.

The main piece of this Doritos campaign is that women want to be “polite” and “quiet” and not crunch chips too loudly. First of all, wtf? Secondly, I’ve been told by people for years that my voice and my laugh are too loud and embarrassing or obnoxious. This made me incredibly insecure.

In high school, I’d typically stay quiet for fear of being called “annoying” or “obnoxious”. I think I heard those words more than any others in that four years. I feared disapproval so much that I started to silence myself in big ways. I’d try to speak quieter, more gently like other girls I knew. I’d speak up if I couldn’t help myself, then ruminate for days on what I’d said and everyone else’s reactions to it.

I didn’t want to be the “loud annoying girl”, because who’d want to be friends with her?

I’ve struggled with this aspect of my personality since. I’ve never been fully sure of who I am because I’ve strived for years to be accepted.

Now, one of my most common prayers is for God to make me into the woman He created me to be, when He envisioned me in my mother’s womb and molded me into existence.

I’m realizing, and slowly accepting, that the things that make me POWERFUL are the things that make me different.

For example – my loud voice and laugh, my bold opinions, my sense of humor and love of dad jokes, my nerdiness and love of psychology.

In all our relationships, our defining qualities from God are things other people need.

For example…

My husband: his ridiculous humor and constant singing to make me laugh remind me to not take life so seriously. He is bold and communicates very directly with me. Our relationship would suffer without this strength of his. He pushes me to try new things, even when I am resistant and stubborn as hell.

My best friend: she is RELENTLESSLY encouraging. Even when I don’t want to accept it. My confidence and joy since losing my brother have been largely built on her words, the truth she spoke to me & over me.

What if they held back? What if he decided not to push me and let me stay uptight and scared of everything? What if she had been too nervous and didn’t encourage me?

What is my insecurity keeping from their lives?

My life is BETTER because these people (& others) are confident and unapologetically themselves. They make me better, and God designed it that way.

THE PROCESS

When I pray for God to make me the woman He created me to be, I forget it will not be comfortable, and then I’m upset when it’s painful.

The process can be compared to the challenge of uprooting a 15-foot oak tree. Its roots are deep and strong. They’ve grown to keep the tree stable amidst storms and they are not easily removed.

My husband told me this analogy the other night and it feels very true for me.

The lies I have believed for years about myself: that I must be quiet, speak gently and politely all the time, never speak my mind – these need to be uprooted in order for me to grow and be the woman I was made to be.

I want to accept and appreciate the gifts and traits God placed in me, including the ones the world doesn’t readily accept.

I still struggle. I still feel that pang when someone says “you’re a really loud person” even if they don’t mean it as an insult. I still ruminate on things I say because I think I sounded stupid or was mean unintentionally. I still fight against fear that friends will find out I’m not that great and remove themselves from my life.

But I fight to pull up the roots because I know this is not the life God wanted for me. I know He did not create me the way He did with such love and intentionality so I would hide what makes me me.

He made me with purpose.

He made you with purpose.

Even if you can’t see it now, seek it out.

I couldn’t see it either.

I couldn’t see the woman He created me to be without the pressures of the world.

So I asked Him to show me.

and lately, I’ve caught glimpses of her.

You may be outgoing or shy, loud or quiet, adventurous or cautious, organized or messy, or whatever else.

Above all else, the most important thing you are is loved.

xoxo,

Erinn

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