Be you! Love who you are! Be-YOU-tiful! Stay true to yourself!
We hear these kinds of mantras all the time and yet do we really know who we are? Do we really embrace our true identities? Or do we hide our true identities out of fear of what others may think of us?
To be honest, I have been suffering from an identity crisis lately. It all began when I decided to start writing. I was worried about what people would think of me and about the mistakes from my past being made known. So, I decided to hide behind a pen name.
Now, there is nothing wrong with having a pen name. Many authors use one to keep their personal lives separate from their writing lives. But the reason I was using a pen name was out of fear. And that is not the best reason.
Thanks to social media I found out that my adored childhood name “Cici” that I was using as a pen name means “boobie” in Hungarian. Now, I don’t really plan on being world renowned in my writing. And I highly doubt anything I write will ever be translated into Hungarian. But can you imagine if someday it did, and a poor Hungarian reader was looking at my book appalled that I am a Christian writer with a name that means that! Oh dear!
I immediately realized I needed a new name. I spent hours tossing and turning that night trying to think of a new name. I looked up several names to see their meaning. I looked up words like “beloved”, “adored”, and “grace” in other languages to see if I could use that as a unique name.
Do you know what I didn’t do?
I didn’t pray about it.
Isn’t that the way it goes though? Prayer is the first thing we should do and yet it is often the last thing we think of. We get so caught up in trying to find the answers ourselves. Or trying to figure out a way to fix things. Or we just race ahead and attempt to figure it all out on our own. When what we really should do is spend some time with the One who already knows the answers.
When I finally took time to pray in the morning, I felt like God was asking me why I was trying to hide?
I realized that I was hiding from the bitter shame of my broken past and from all the mistakes I have made. And I was also hiding from my fear. Fear that the skeletons in my closet will be released. Fear of what people will think of me when they see I am far from perfect. Fear that the world will see my scars and look away in disgust.
And yet, do you know what authors I love to read the most?
The ones who are real. The ones who are brutally honest about their mistakes and failings. And I love to read what they write because I feel that I can connect with them. We have something in common. We are all messes made beautiful in the shadow of the cross.
I find other people’s scars to be inspiring. They show me that there is hope for change. That God can still love and rescue us no matter how badly we mess up. That you can overcome whatever life has thrown your way. That there is life after tragedy. People with scars are living proof that God can take broken pieces and make masterpieces.
So, if I feel that way about others, maybe I should learn to view my own scars that way?
Maybe God is calling me to just be myself so that people will see my broken past, my embarrassing mistakes, my scars, my imperfections, my failures, and my shortcomings. And by showing these to the world maybe they will realize that if God can love and work through an awful sinner like me, then there is hope for everybody!
And perhaps someone will see my scars and call me ugly. Perhaps they will bash me or reject me. And that will hurt. But God calls me to follow Him. Not to worry about what others think. Not to compare myself to others. To simply follow Him wherever he leads.
So, in the end, I have decided to just be me. The world may accept me or reject me. But that is none of my concern.
Jesus has accepted me. Jesus loves me. And that is enough.
No more identity crisis. This is me.
And I am done hiding.
“I am not a stranger to the dark
Hide away, they say
‘Cause we don’t want your broken parts
I’ve learned to be ashamed of all my scars
Run away, they say
No one’ll love you as you are
But I won’t let them break me down to dust
I know that there’s a place for us
For we are glorious
When the sharpest words wanna cut me down
I’m gonna send a flood, gonna drown them out
I am brave, I am bruised
I am who I’m meant to be, this is me.”
“This Is Me” Keala Settle, The Greatest Showman Ensemble
Have you ever hidden who you were out of fear? Is God calling you out of the shadows today? He loves you just as you are, scars and all.
Ignore what the world says. Let God’s words drown them out.
He says you are beautiful. You are forgiven. Loved. Adored. Treasured. Worth dying for.
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