Hello La Petite Femmes! I’m hoping that’s Frenchish for mini-women. Leslie here:) It feels like forever since I’ve posted but as always I have loved reading your comments and conversations. I admire how brave and honest you are in sharing as well as how much you welcome and encourage each other. It’s so fun to be a part of our Tribelet.
This month we are talking about “Embracing Who You Are.” Each week, one of us (Hannah, Leslie, Asher and Nancy) will share a little bit about our personalities and our journey to embracing the way God made us. Like Hannah said, we all have unique personalities with lot’s of different features. And a big part of life is learning to appreciate who we are and how God made us. Different.
This is a really important topic to me because when I was your age- I lost myself for a little bit. And learned some really painful (but helpful) lessons in the process.
Here is the truth- We are all created in God’s image. And that is what gives us value. He made us. As we are. We are all unique with different gifts and talents. Wonderful combinations that He designed. And no matter what happens in life…Or what anyone says, no one can ever take away your value. Because your value comes from the fact that you are created in God’s image. And you always will be.
But what seems to happen too often, is we lose our voice.
It’s a funny idea but stick with me. My friend Jo describes voice like this…
Voice: Our most authentic self. The real you. Your passions, values, gifts and talents. Your identity in action. How God designed you so that you could make a unique contribution to the world.
She asks the question, “How can brilliant, beautiful, strong, gifted mini-women (which we all are) grow silent?”
- We lose our identities
- We make ourselves small
Her encouragement is that we don’t need to be sorry for how God made us. He see’s us as we are, who we fully are. He sees our stories, the life that we can bring. He sees our potential and purpose. He know us and hears our voice.
I say all of that because when I was your age, I lost my voice.
I always joke that if everyone was born doing the tango, I was born doing the twist. I always felt a little different from everyone around me, including my family. And for a long time, it didn’t matter.
I was creative, funny, full of energy and spunk. I loved life and couldn’t wait to see what each day might bring. I was always reading and playing pretend. I loved to watch movies and learn about new things.
And then I went to a new school in fifth grade.
And there was a group of girls that I wanted to be friends with. Because they were church girls. And they were “popular”.
I think this was the first time in my life I started seeing people as “popular” and “unpopular”. It might have been because of the books I was reading. (I didn’t have Ms. Nancy’s books back then) It might have been because I have an older sister who was figuring out her own journey. Or it just might be something we all wrestle with at some point in life.
But something began to change in me. I started losing my voice. My authentic self.
- I was creative but being a cheerleader was cooler.
- I was full of energy and spunk (Calm down. You don’t have to shout) so I learned how to stay quiet and hide my enthusiasm.
- I was always reading and playing pretend but my friends thought this was boring so I stopped playing like I used to.
- I loved to watch movies and learn about new things. Well, the types of movies they watched and some of the stuff I learned wasn’t good for my heart.
And by seventh grade, I had become a mean girl.
Until, one day I sat down at the table in the library. And all of my friends got up and moved to another table.
There was a new girl in school. And over the weekend (at a sleepover I wasn’t allowed to go to) I somehow got ousted from the group. It only lasted a few weeks but that’s all it took.
It devastated me.
I bawled on my mothers lap for weeks.
And then on a Wednesday night at church, a woman said something to me that changed my life forever.
“Popularity only lasts in high school. No one remembers or cares after that. But popularity with God lasts a lifetime. And He is the friend who will never leave you or forsake you.”
It took me a few years to recover from what happened at that library table. I felt so rejected, so betrayed and honestly so confused. I didn’t realize how much I had changed. I didn’t know I was becoming a mean girl. I was just trying to “fit in” with my friends.
But here is what I learned through all of that…
There really is no popular//unpopular in the eyes of God. We are all created in God’s image. And that is what gives us value. He made us. As we are. We are all unique with different gifts and talents. Wonderful combinations that He designed. And no matter what happens in life…Or what anyone says, no one can ever take away your value. Because your value comes from the fact that you are created in God’s image. And you always will be.
God loves us. As we are. And He is the best friend in the world. Life will change. People will move. You will grow up. And the one person who will never change is God. He is the most kind and faithful person I know. He is easy to talk to. He always forgives us when we act like jerks. And He wants more than anything to get to know us. There are lots of ways to get to know Him better. Talking to Him (Prayer) Reading His Word (The Bible) and going to hang out with people who know Him (Church).
One or two good friends who speak your language is better than a whole crew who make you feel like you don’t fit in. Mini-women this is the truth. And you can take it to the bank. As I healed from what happened and went to high school, I was a little skittish about making friends. It took me a long time to trust people. And find my voice again. But I did. And along the way I met some amazing mini-women who liked me for me. Loud, spunky, creative and all. And man did we have fun. And still do:)
I’ll be honest, I was a little hesitant to share that story because who wants to say they were a mean girl? Or they ditched their friends to be “popular”? But making mistakes and learning from them is such an important part of life.
And I hope that this might help you in your journey to embracing who you are.
In your Talking to God journal, ask God to show you what special gifts and talents He has given you. And how He might want you to use them to make a unique contribution to the world. Then make a list of 10 things that make you…YOU and/or that you like about yourself. And take some time and thank God for how He made you.
In the comments section, share with us your list of things that make you…YOU. And if you feel like you have ever lost your voice, I’d love to know how you got it back:)
Love. Love, Love,
P.S. A lot of what I learned came from a book by Jo Saxton called “The Dream of You.” We always need to cite our sources:)
P.P.S. I love cheerleaders and quiet people. I just wasn’t created to be one. You be you!!!