Here is the thing . . . In less than two months I will be forty. 40! Maybe you are a long way’s off or have passed those numbers a decade ago. To you, forty may make me old, your elder (that is an old word). To you, forty may qualify me a baby; you didn’t know just how young you were then. To you, forty (or there within) may be the number you find yourself at too. You are feeling the things I’m feeling.
I find myself sorting through my years like a closet before a garage sale. I’m finding what fits me. What suits me. What no longer covers me. What is threadbare. What is forever. What is fading.
You’d think I’d know myself well by now. And I do. I know myself better than anyone else knows me. But I feel like I’m still getting to know myself, truly, just now.
In the way that you get to know a husband. There are just some things you don’t know until you are together. Living, breathing the same air through different nostrils. Seeing the same sunset, out the same window, through different eyes. I know my husband. But I don’t always accept who he is. Why is he not more like the 21-year-old I fell in love with? More so, why is he not the person I (now see) I projected or perceived him to be? Why am I not the person he saw me to be; maybe still wants me to be? The way I see it is that in our teens and twenties we layer ourselves in potentially fitting garments, taking a decade or two to determine whether or not they fit. Whether or not we are weighted down with all we wear. And when it finally becomes too heavy, we begin to shed. We shed who we were never meant to be. Things become more simple, the layers lighter. Until we are left wearing only what fits.
This only comes by hard work. Like cleaning out a closet. Inspecting each piece. Each thread. Each color. It’s not for the faint of heart or for those that are looking to freeze time. To feel more like yourself you must make peace with the past and believe with your whole heart that each and everyday ahead holds purpose. Not in the general sense but in the very specific sense. YOUR life, MY life, has a purpose. I accept the past. And, I anticipate the future. I love myself–who I was. I love myself–who, truly, am. I love myself–who I will become as I age.
I accept the past with love. I anticipate the future with good expectation.
Each day, I want to be the best version of me.
And, as I said, I’m still getting to know myself. The me, I was created to be. Not the me, everyone else wanted me to be. Not even the me, I wanted myself to be.
What about you? Do you feel you know yourself? Do you like yourself?
These are a few ways I’ve been getting to know myself . . .
A few ways to get to know yourself:
Become acquainted and convinced of who God says you are. This is the only place I can find my true identity. Most of my life, I’ve had my identity wrapped up and attached to other people without even realizing it. I defined myself by who they said I was or should be. Some of it was just the natural order of growing up. In recent years, I’ve been growing into who the God who created me calls me.
*He calls you Beloved.
*He calls you daughter (son)
*He calls you free
*He calls you lovely
*He calls you whole
Who or what have you defined yourself by?
Pay attention. So much of life we just go through the motions. Get up, eat, work, sleep, repeat. It becomes easy to live life half asleep. Pay attention to your surroundings (I’m talking simple things, like … what do you see? hear? smell? taste? feel? Engaging your senses wakes you up!). Pay attention to your heart. What is it telling you? I hurt? I’m afraid? I’m content. I’m empty. I’m full. Turn the volume up to hear what your heart has to say. It’s easy, to numb out, to turn the volume down, to ignore the state of the union. However, if you pay attention, it requires something. It requires action. And there are only two options, that I am aware of: More numbing or change. I’ve been paying attention, and it has required facing pain. It has required change. But in doing so, I’ve found healing, purpose and more of the me I was created to be.
What are the layers in your heart?
Remember. Remember who you were as a child. Your likes, your interests, your hopes, your dreams. Do they have anything to do with who and where you are today? Do you still have some of the same longings? Pay attention. There is a reason. Did you always love the color blue? There is a reason. Now, don’t over think what color to paint your bedroom. You will feel most at home with walls washed in a blue that imitates the sky.
Remember compliments you’ve been given over the years. And criticisms, maybe. Is there a pattern? They don’t label you, but perhaps there is a quality that has to do with your purpose that you’ve been overlooking or pushing aside because you don’t take compliments well. Maybe you take criticism better than a compliment. I’m not saying to let the criticism define you, but could it actually speak to a strength? “Trina, you’re so overly sensitive.” I’ve been told this more times than I can recount. Over time, I began to hate this quality about myself. I tried to find ways to toughen up, to talk myself into being less emotional–stronger, willing myself to grow thicker skin. But in this past year, in much paying attention, and becoming convinced of who God says I am I have come to find and believe that being overly sensitive is not a bad thing. I have a tender heart and sensitive soul for a reason. I am in tune with others. It has much to do with my writing. It makes me an empathetic person who is then, ultimately, moved to action. As with anything a strength can become a weakness if we do not steward it with the help of the Spirit. My sensitivity has equal power to paralyze me or move me.
I remember I’ve been telling stories in my mind since I was a child. It’s not a plague I have to accept. It is part of my purpose, that again, I can steward. At times I have to tell my mind to be quiet. And at other times, I listen intently.
I remember I loved England, trees, writing in my journal, toast, mountains, pink. I still love them today. Pink puffball shoes and all.
What do you remember?
As you get to know yourself better, you’ll find it easier to accept yourself. To see yourself for who you really are. As I get to know my husband better, I accept who he is and not who I perceived him to be. He is not who he is at 21 and neither am I. We see the same sunkset, out the same window, through different eyes. We are both simply trying to wear what fits.
Lovely ones, accept the past with love, anticipate the future with good expectation and let go of the layers that do not fit.