I'm back in Mississippi after my internship in Disney World was cut a little short. I was hired for a job back home, closer to my family, so I had to tell Mickey Mouse goodbye and head back to my hometown. It's so wonderful to finally get rid of the FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) when it comes to all of the missed ball games and performances and Sundays together at church. Lately, I've been loving it. I'm exhausted from learning new things about this blessing of a job and filled to overflowing with love from family that I feel like I haven't seen in so long.
One thing I'm having a little trouble with, though, is my identity. For various reasons, I'm starting new in an old town. I'm in a city that I didn't expect to find myself back living, and I'm here indefinitely. I'm feeling a little small. I'm feeling a little left out and a little confused at what my purpose could be. I'm recently set back and set forward at the same time. My life feels like a giant mix of past and future right here in the present. Basically, it's confusing. It's been a weird month. I'm in a new apartment with a new job, but I'm in an old town with old friends.
I'm feeling extraordinarily unworthy of God's favor and love lately. Maybe I'm feeling kind of listless? Or maybe I've been filling my head with the wrong lists. I don't think I'm particularly special or unique in that feeling. Don't we all feel that way at some point? I think everyone faces that section of his or her life when they're staring at a few pieces that aren't falling into place like they thought they would. I feel kind of guilty, but I've been asking God a lot of questions lately. Like so many. I've been asking him about who I am and what He wants for my life. I even questioned whether He was sure of the answers He had given my through my prayer and script study. Did I screw up His plan somewhere? Did I take a wrong turn? It's been a quest, for sure. This is (apparently) the chapter of my life where I'm truly taking this trip with Jesus, stretching my faith and the borders of my belief out based on who God says I am, even when questions arise and I get inevitably confused. For the new year, I'm taking all of the labels and judgements and restrictions given to me by old friends and old boyfriends and family members and I'm challenging them against what God says about me. Those thoughts stick in our heads and challenge the way we live our lives, sure. But, more importantly, they can taint the way we think God sees us. We think (or I think) "If those things are true, then God doesn't really want to use me like I thought He did. God is probably laughing at my thoughts of furthering His kingdom." How damaging are those thoughts! How much our work is hindered that way!
I'm not going to try to boss you around, of course, but I would challenge you to do the same. Who says you can't further the Kingdom of God? Who told you that you aren't good enough? Who in the world told you that your talents aren't good enough? Who told you those awful things you think about yourself? Who told you that your mess is too big? No, ma'am. No, sir. You have been set free (even just typing that makes me smile). You are a part of the crew that takes the victory in the end. Your talents and personality traits were knitted into your DNA, flaws, too. The beauty of the cross is that it sets free the most imperfect people. Someone letting you believe that you have to make your light dimmer in order to bring glory to God is not telling you the truth because, friend, we were not given the spirit of timidity. We were given strength and courage and power. We are supposed to be ourselves, unapologetically and messily and authentically. Those messes we've made bring light to how powerful God's grace is. God is found in the honesty of your situation. His grace is sufficient enough for us to all be really honest with ourselves about who we are. He has enough grace and power to fill us with purpose more tailor-made to our natural talents and abilities than what any other person could suggest to us. Believe THAT, friend. Don't let anything hold you back. Your chains are gone, pal. Welcome to the Messy-And-Chosen Club-- you'll fit right in.