Okay, so if you know much about the enneagrams, you know that 3s are the Achievers. We’re pretty much the world’s worst (or best) for caring what others think. We are the ones that wear a hundred different faces and play a thousand different roles because we believe that our self-worth is hinged on the approval of others. Honestly, there are pros and cons to being a 3, but I’m about to do one thing that we 3s cringe at the mere thought of: be vulnerable. Yikes, right? I’ve had this thought bubble hanging over my head like the three little dots before the world’s longest iMessage for a while now, and I hope and pray that someone who reads this can breathe and say, “Oh good! I’m not the only one.”
Here goes nothing:
I’m 24. I’m in my first big-girl job out of college. I have a dog, a boyfriend, and a little house. I’m happy!! So someone please tell me why I look back on photos and memories from years past and get jealous of the person in those photos? In this season and in this new chapter, why am I so reluctant to look forward and press ahead sometimes? In this new chapter of my life, why am I comparing myself to a past version of myself? She is me, right? How is this kind of comparison still stealing my joy?
It’s almost like I’m afraid to live solely in the present. My most recent stream of thought is, “wow. I used to be so much more fun. And skinnier. And more fit. And I had more friends."
Literally, how harsh are those thoughts? I’m embarrassed.
And I have a rebuttal.. obviously.
Chapters change, and that’s a good thing, even when we don’t feel like it’s a good thing.
Even in the comparison.
Even in the reluctancy.
Even in the waiting.
Even in the heartbreak.
Even in the wondering.
Even in the shrinking and shifting of your inner circle.
Whether you’re in college, and you’re getting used to counting up nickels and quarters for gas money and ramen noodles (surely I’m not the only one who did that), or you’re in a cubicle wondering why your life isn’t nearly as interesting as it used to be..
If you're single and literally everyone seems to be getting engaged, or you're in a relationship and your single friends are seeming to have more fun than you are.
Even then, the chapter changes are good.
Where you are is good. and purposeful.
As for the body image issue, which is SO real. Especially my retired pageant pals— I’m sure we can powwow on this one. Life is different now!! I’m not in college, spending every waking hour either studying, prepping, or working out— I live a full life of building a career and helping to develop a community. I spend nights on the couch laughing and eating popcorn and ice cream with my boyfriend. We have movie nights and order pizza.
I guess, in some ways, I’m in love with more things than just myself, like I used to be. That changes a mind, body, and soul. That’s a transition if I ever did see one.
Chapter changes are what keep us moving toward whatever God has purposed for our lives. Every step forward takes us closer and closer to where we are supposed to be. And even when we feel like nothing is changing, God is still at work. The best we can do is be honest with ourselves. It's okay to not always be okay. It's okay to be confused or a little nervous at the thought of transition. It's okay to be honest and vulnerable.