When you get hurt you need help. Say you break your leg and now you have crutches to help you walk. You may be slower than you used to be, but the crutches actually give you strength. They allow you to do more than you could without them. But have you ever heard of someone using crutches that didn't need them and then became injured as a result?
Probably not physically. Sure there is probably a freak case and you happen to know them and now I look stupid. Pretend with me that you haven’t. Besides the little kids playing doctor and pretending to need crutches there aren't too many adults that would opt to use crutches when they don’t need them…physically.
Metaphorically however, people do this all the time. At least I assume people do. I will talk about myself though seeing as how that is the only thing I can speak accurately on. I have been using crutches for years. I mean the majority of my life. Some I’m sure were a result of an event or traumatic experience. But most of them I started using and I wasn't even hurt. Just simply deceived. And now as a result I am finding myself in a place in life where I keep asking myself and the Lord, “Who am I?”
For most of my life I would label myself as an extrovert:
Popular (at least in my head).
Life of the party.
Always with people.
I was the best at making you believe that I was confident. I did ridiculous things in acting class, I would run around in stupid outfits, throw big birthday parties, get the crowd rolling with jokes. And what I wasn't able to see then, or at least I ignored it, was that I only played the extreme extrovert because I needed the approval of my peers. Everything I did needed the confirmation of someone else that it was either cool, ok, trendy, etc. I didn't like spending time by myself because then I had no gauge of who I was. I mean I was pathetic. Don’t get me wrong I have wonderful memories because of acting this way. But I've now lived in close community for the past few years and I have become the most introverted I have ever been in my life.
With this came questions.
Am I different than I thought I was?
Have I been lying to others and myself for all these years?
Maybe I’m just in a funk?
Before being where I am now I was so plugged into the church and Christian college that I was sure I had made strides in my confidence. But really all that happened was that I became an extroverted Christian. I no longer minded praying in front of large groups, teaching the Word to others was fine, making a fool of myself didn't matter, and it was all because I thought I had truly found my confidence in Christ. And I did. At least I had let go of some of my worldly confidence issues and replaced them with what Jesus said about me. But I never had to do anything on my own. I went from high school student to leading high schoolers. Going to a Christian college to leading at the Christian college. Getting plugged into the church to helping plug others into the church. I simply found people that thought I was cool and felt ok to be “me” around them.
Now that I’m an “adult” and I make my own choices, have a full time job responsibility, think about what I want to do with my life, etc. I am having to realize how much I still have these crutches. I’m limping around trying to figure out who I am & what I have to offer my community. So I have stepped into being a lot more introverted. Some days it’s not healthy because it’s my insecurities that chain me there. Instead of going to see what the community is doing or being intentional with someone I stay alone because I assume that I am not worthy of the time of others.
“I just annoy them.”
“They have better things to do than listen to me.”
“I mean they don’t really like me anyways so I won’t burden them with my presence any more than is necessary.”
Thoughts like that are not healthy.
Other days I step into my introvertedness for healthy reasons. I need to discover who I am without anyone telling me it’s cool. I need to be able to spend time with the Lord alone and hear His voice. All you guys out there didn't create me. You don’t know who I am. And while the world might want me to look a certain way, talk a certain way, have certain hobbies, and react a certain way in the end they won’t get a whole person. The Father designed me. Not you and not me. I can’t tell you who I am. I don’t get to decide.
However, I do get to discover who I am. The only thing I am certain about when it comes to who I am is that I get the privilege to know God and make Him known. But until I see myself clearly no one will see Him clearly in my life.
I will leave you with just a few sentences from Susie Larson that I read this morning that seemed to really hit home for me.
“Have you ever considered that insecurity is just another form of selfishness?”*
And because one of my biggest insecurities has to do with what people think of me this next quote came as an encouragement and conviction.
“As the gap increases between God’s opinions and others’ opinions, we are able to live more freely and are more consumed with the idea that heaven is our home and earth is the place to make Him known.”*
*quotes from the book the uncommon woman pages 27, 24