Welcome! Thanks for joining us for this, our latest post in the year-long blog series we’re calling “Journey Together.” In this post let’s talk about how we must learn to accept and appreciate every quirky bit of ourselves, to truly reflect God’s love. Folks, freedom awaits us when we bravely show up as our authentic selves!Which of your quirks do you doubt God could possibly love — or even like about you? Here's the truth: every bit of YOU reflects an important aspect of God’s nature. Click To Tweet
Look With the Right Perspective
How can I put this? Hmmm…some of us are totally faking it. Others of us know who we are, but we keep our authentic selves hidden. Often because of fear of rejection. But to fully experience and share God’s love and grace, we must get to where we can embrace our whole package — what we self-judge to be the good, the bad, and the ugly. #shudder #ugh #butiamsobad
Here’s the truth: God loves every bit of our quirky selves! Because LOVE is central to what being a Christian is really all about! You and I are here to 1) LOVE God, and 2) LOVE others. Neither of which we can fully do if we’re wasting time fighting who He made us to be to reflect His love.
As John Eldredge says in his book Waking the Dead: The Glory of a Heart Fully Alive, “You cannot love another person from a false self. You cannot love another while you are still hiding. How can you help them to freedom while you remain captive? You cannot love another unless you offer your heart.”
Ah, you’re thinking, but I’ve learned to hide my heart. Because it hurts too much when others tell me I’m not good enough as I am.
Ask the Right Question
What if, instead of beating ourselves up and asking, “How can I empty myself of the quirks I despise to be more like God?” we’re supposed to ask, “How can I reveal God to others THROUGH the quirky bits He included in my personality?”
Here’s a thought:
Maybe the brashness you hate in yourself is actually courage.
Maybe the loudness you hate in yourself is actually courage.
Maybe your tendency of being a bull in a china shop is actually courage.
Or could be, if you weren’t too busy hiding your authentic self…
Too often we dislike… despise… hate… parts of ourselves when we shouldn’t!
The million-dollar question: Who told us to not embrace and appreciate these parts of ourself?
In my case, it was my mom. Oh. My. Word. If I had just recognized early on that all the criticism my mother directed at my loud, brash self as a kid and teen was her issue — not mine — I wouldn’t still, at moments, battle the meanie in my head that tells me I need to rip out those aspects of myself.
CAN YOU RELATE???
God Designed Your Quirks
I love how speaker and life coach Laurie Wallin, in her book Why Your Weirdness is Wonderful, says, “Insecurity happens when we’re trying to live someone else’s quirks. Borrowed weirdness can’t work wonderfully in us because it’s meant for someone else.”
I accept that my mom did the best she could. Loud noises undid her. High energy undid her. But rather than taking the time to help me to still feel good about my naturally loud bent, her response to me led me to believe that I was defective. Definitely unaccepted. And iffy on being lovable. I went from being a confident kid to a shy kid even too timid to voice an opinion. I became a people pleaser to the max. All day long I changed like a chameleon, giving people whatever color of me they wanted me to be so I would feel momentarily good about myself. But inside I was a depressed and often angry mess.
What I didn’t realize as a child and teen is that I have a God-given right to embrace my “weirdness” — to know that even if others don’t appreciate my quirks, God does! As Laurie puts it so well, “God didn’t give us our gifts to paint them over with someone else’s. The unique tendencies in you and me are meant to shine in a hue all their own, and in doing so, bring a little more clarity to the full-color beauty of the God we reveal to the world.”
God says He FULLY loves and accepts us as we are.
God KNEW what He was doing when He designed us.
God DESIGNED us to add our authentic selves to the world.
As we mirror God, our quirks should REFLECT His goodness.
God Wants to Make Us Fruity
We NEED to bring our authentic selves to life, because God wants to make us into an enticing fruit salad that feeds others. Yup, I’m talking about our reflecting the fruit of the Spirit. Listen, how we react and relate to others is DIRECTLY tied to how we view (and talk to) ourselves. How can we bring love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control to others, if we feel that we can’t be our quirky selves and be “acceptable” to God or others?
It’s important that I note that because I hadn’t accepted myself like God does, I developed some very bad habits. Including lashing out at others with anger or sarcasm when I felt I was being mocked or controlled or unloved. Can you relate??? It’s so easy to get in the habit of misusing a strength — perhaps displaying it as unkindness or impatience or arrogance — until we seek after God and partner with Him to become whole and fruity.
It can hurt a lot as He slices and dices us into those mouth-watering bits of melon and kiwi and pineapple. But the satisfying part of this growth process is seeing what we perceive to be a weakness become a strength in His hands! God wants to use our messy selves, just as we are. He’s perfectly fine with us being “in process”! What God seeks at all times are willing, authentic people.
In our next blog post, let’s look at how God models the perfect parenting relationship. For sure, you can’t be the best parent you can be if you haven’t learned to appreciate all of your quirks!
Catch up: The introductory post to this series.