I’ve had a few amazing things happen to me over the last two weeks, some good, some great, and the others kinda ‘….oh dear’. But there’s a lesson and learning in everything if we would only look out for it.
A few days ago, I was watching the One Gospel channel on DSTV and the video of ‘The God in Me’ by Mary Mary was on. For some reason it caught my attention more than ever before. I had some sort of revelation between hearing the words and seeing the graphics play out on the screen, as the song took on a new life and meaning. I recalled an outing with a friend last week. We had gone for an event organised by another friend, in honour of notable women of achievement and their protégés across various spheres of endeavour – the arts, music, education, fashion, business and the corporate world, etc. Expectedly as with every women’s event, we were all ‘glammed’ and ‘blinged’ to the nines. As she was called on stage, the organiser commented that she felt like such a fake based on all the accolades that were showered on her as she walked on to the stage. She’d said that accolades aside, said she was just a simple woman trying to make a difference in her own little way. As we all laughed, my friend sitting beside me leaned over and whispered that she felt exactly the same way whenever people spoke about her so glowingly also. I looked across at her – brilliant, beautiful, highly intelligent, achiever that she is; I had then laughed and said ‘Me and you both, and indeed all of us’.
Yes, among the best of us – the most confident, ‘together’ looking and sounding of us, I have come to realise that we all have our little insecurities (though some more so than the next). Somehow though, we tend to become so focused on what we see as our shortcomings or areas of lack that we fail to see through the veils of those that we – directly or unwittingly, adjudge to be better than we are in some form or other. I remember about ten years ago, I was in some conversation with one of my younger sisters and I had said to her that I wished I was more like her. In my view she was such a collected and well-organised person, confident in her abilities and self-motivated enough to go for whatever she set her heart and mind to do. I had admired how easily she appeared to make friends, how she so easily held her own regardless of reactions of those around her, etc etc. She had thrown her head back and laughed herself to the point of tears. She then confessed that the person I’d described didn’t exist in her, but that I had just described exactly how she saw me. To say the least, I was incredulous when she said that she had always been somewhat in awe of me and always wished she was just like me. Hmm! That was difficult to digest and needless to say it took her a while to convince me that she meant it. As I opened up to her what my own fears and insecurities were, we found ourselves almost finishing sentences for each other. Yes, ultimately we had almost exactly the same set of issues. We came to the conclusion that some of our childhood experiences – parent’s bad marriage, the way we were raised; were responsible for our shared insecurities. We all are the sum total of our life’s experiences and everyone has got a bit of baggage left over. I believe that day was divinely orchestrated by God to give us both a kind of release from a bondage we had each thought we were in alone.
I would be very much a liar if I said that over the years I have never again found myself to be in a position where I had that same sense of not being as good as, as well put together as, as confident as, as intelligent as…… someone or the other that I have come across. But, I have trained and continue to train my mind to take control. I remind myself that for as many people as I have met whom I may find myself somewhat in awe of, I have met tens more who I find to be so much more in awe of me based on the outward things that they can see. Automatically therefore, if I know that I am a bundle of insecurities and imperfections just trying to make the best of me that I can in the midst of all that, then it stands to reason that anyone I find myself in awe of is simply just that also. I have learnt that any form of awe/admiration I may have for anyone, has to be channelled – not as a confirmation of any form of superiority over me, but as a platform for me to learn from them in whatever may be their area of strength, and grow based on my interaction with them as a whole. Funny thing is, I have had several of these people eventually turn around and one day tell me how they have admired me so much for this or that reason. Hmmm! People are just so complicated aren’t we?
I have learnt that in our innermost closets we are all just lonely spirits looking to be loved, accepted and admired by the world. The challenge then becomes where we are so inundated by our insecurities that we decide to allow them to define us, and limit us. We withdraw from living our lives to the fullest simply because of people’s reactions to, comments about, or treatment of us. Have you noticed how even when twenty people tell you how lovely you look today, that singular negative comment or question keeps resonating in your thoughts one week later? We are each uniquely created of God – fearfully and wonderfully made in His image and after His likeness. This is one fact that I have learnt to keep front burner. There are so many notable people in Bible history that undoubtedly faced their own fear and insecurities. David for instance was sneered at by his own wife as he danced before the Lord. You and I know that one of the most painful experiences in life is to have your spouse, close relative or friend put you down. I suspect that in those moments David would have thought ‘Hmm! Maybe I should calm down a bit more and act like the king I am. Since even my wife is sneering, maybe I am being silly. Maybe I am overdoing it a bit. Do people also think I am being ridiculous? ’. David did the one thing that we all need t do. He reminded himself he was who he was and he had achieved the things he had, not of his own making, but because of the God in him. David chose in that instant to define himself by God and not by his wife or other people’s opinions of him. David must have realised that before God, his appearance of foolishness didn’t count. What mattered was his heart, and whether he was applying himself fully to the glory of God. The same thing must apply in our own lives. We must realise that even if the next person appears to have giftings/talents that we don’t, or appear (in worldly terms) to be better ‘packaged’ or more of an all-rounder than we are, it does not count. What counts is whether we are showing forth the God that is in us such that the world is able to benefit from those things (or even that one thing) which are (is) worthy of emulation in us, even as we continually learn from and grow out of those things that are worthy of emulation in others we come in contact with.
I believe it was Eleanor Roosevelt who said that no one could make you feel inferior without your consent. This is where I land. So what if the next person appears to be prettier, better dressed, wealthier, have more friends, highly acclaimed/acknowledged by society, speaks through his/her nose (lol), carries designer bags, drives a better car, has more international degrees, yada….yada…yada….than you do? They are not YOU and will never be. Since I know God doesn’t make mistakes, I know He thought me through before He put me together and orchestrated my life, as He did yours also. I know that all things are working together for my good, as they are for you too. I know that what counts in the end will be the inner man standing naked before God ready to answer the question ‘Did you use that which I put in you to do the best which you could do for the world? Did you run your race faithfully to the end or did you allow the trappings of someone else to undermine your confidence and shy away from your purpose? Did you keep your eyes on Me or on the things of the world? Did you really appreciate that you were my unique creation, manifest for My glory? Did you….? Did YOU….? Did YOU…..? ’. Yes, on that last day it will be all about YOU. This is therefore the time to reassess ourselves and realise that we are really ‘All That’ in the eyes of God. And why not? He is in us isn’t He? I choose again today to declare that I am unique and I am called for a purpose, that I will fulfil purpose. I’m called to be extraordinary simply because of the God in me! I choose every day to relax in who I am, to do the best that I can, to learn, to grow, to conquer. I choose to give Him my all so that on the last day I can stretch out in full confidence before the Lord – no fears, no insecurities, no issues.
Put your heads up folks. You are beautiful just the way you are!