Next she goes on to talk about the voices besides our own that we allow to define us.
Black shares a story when she was in 4th grade and attended a new school. On the first day she spotted the cutest boy in the class and to her horror he blurted out that she had a nose that looked like a pig. To say the least she was devastated. His opinion confirmed her fears that she did not measure up. She said, "I chose to take his youthful words and write them on the tablet of my heart, I lived under the power of those words for the majority of my life. "
She shared how many other incidences confirmed for her that she was not attractive or desirable.
"Once you choose to take other people's words, and adopt them as your own, you begin to live through the power of those words."
As I pondered her words and thoughts it took me back to my vulnerable middle and high school years. I too longed to be popular. I cared way too much what others thought of me. In junior high school my best friend Patty and I made it for cheerleader. I had arrived. We all knew the most popular girls were the cheerleaders. At least that is what I believed. I can remember me and Patty in the back seat of her mother's car right after we found out we had "made it". We were obnoxiously elated. We were screaming and declaring all the benefits this new position would afford us. It was a moment I will always remember.
A second "moment" came when I got to high school. I tried out for cheerleader again and the winners names were to be posted on the gymnasium doors. I lived across town from the high school and would have to wait till the next day to see the posted results. That's when I got the phone call from a friend who lived near the school and had seen the posted result. She said I was on the list!!! I had made it!!!
WOW a high school cheerleader!!! My popular statue was sealed once again. That was till the next day when I went to school and to my horror my name was not on that list. I did not make it. I was devastated.
That's when I made some decisions about me that I carried into adulthood. I was not quite good enough. Those other girls were better than me. Now it was true they were better cheerleaders. I did have the loud voice and personality of a cheerleader but I was honestly just OK at all the jumps and movements. They WERE BETTER....... cheerleaders. The problem was, I concluded they were better everything than me. They were prettier, more popular and just better in general. For the years that followed I found myself believing I was not quite good enough. My friends were the popular kids but I was always a step or two behind. I did not measure up, the key word being measure. I began to measure myself against those I deemed popular and beautiful and "with it". And so it happened, a pattern of measure was set. At the same time another pattern was set. My pattern to perform for love and acceptance. I was not secure enough to just be me. I wanted others to like me and so I began to strive to become who I thought those whose approval I needed wanted me to be. It was exhausting!!
I know I am not the only one who struggled with who I was in junior high and high school. They can be some pretty brutal years. I would love to say I am completely over it, but sometimes I wonder. I often catch myself comparing myself to those I deem beautiful or powerful or with it. I know better, I really do, but it comes so naturally. So what is the solution?
The solutions is deciding what I am going to look at as my measure. I know the power of meditating on the "truth". God's word is to be my measure. What does He say about me? Well, lately I have been camping out in Ephesians Chapter 1. I see words like "chosen" and "adopted" to describe what God says about me..... and you. Chosen by Him. Line everyone up and He picks me.... and you. It is what I need to be reminded of again and again. It's the truth. The voice of God is the one we are to allow to define who we are. Honestly I do not know for sure if I will ever completely be done wrestling with this truth but wrestle I will. There is too much at stake. When I am secure in who I am those I love benefit.
Remember my quote a few blogs back? The freest person is the one who has nothing to prove. That is my goal. How about you?