Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Me.... in the Raw

Well, I started this whole post this morning about my grief journey, because this week marks that anniversary of mom's passing. But, I kept having this nagging feeling that my best posts, the ones that reach the most people and have the biggest impact, are those that are exposing and raw and real.
 And that is because, while so few will venture into it, we all really crave it. We don't always know it or admit it, but what we all want is to have those relationships that are so rare and real.
 Getting real is hard. No one really enjoys it at first, and I wasn't going to put this post up here. But, my journey of grief over the last 4 years has taught me value in being real and vulnerable. There is always caution that comes with that, but if getting real about me helps you,  then why should I withhold? So,  I have decided to share this post.
  Through the last 4 years, I have walked some painful places. Some of those moments were results of grief and the longings that losing my mom created in me. And losing mom was like losing a part of me. But that being said, I also was able to really learn to a greater depth who I truly am.  And thus, this post was born months ago, but I never shared it. So, here I the raw....
Who Am I?

Recently, I had to have my credit card ended and a new one sent to me because someone had stolen mine somehow over the internet. When I called my bank to see what was happening, they told me to prove I was in fact who I said I was. They asked a few questions, along with social security numbers and the normal things along those lines in order to establish that it was in fact me.  
I thought about this as I have been thinking and processing the tough questions of life lately as to who am I?

A social security number identifies me to the government, but doesn’t tell who I am of any worth. Somehow, these questions can be confusing. I’m 32, for pity sake, shouldn’t I understand and know who I am by now? Yet, as life throws curve balls and confusing situations, that question is challenged in me each time, and each time it is challenged, it seems harder to answer, more confusing to understand. 

Perhaps I overthink it; or perhaps I’ve never truly embraced who I am. A recent personality test taken tells me I am a harmonizer....I am a people  pleaser and that is where my energy gets used. This same personality test told me that in the other categories of life, I have very little energy left, so I resort to that harmonizer in me each time. Much validity lies in that statement. I please others before I please myself. Yet this doesn’t always seem to pan out in the best ways for me. 

So, I have begun asking myself really tough questions; questions that I find difficult to answer in ways that challenge all I’ve known my entire adult life. 

I am a wife. I am a mom. I am a writer. I am a runner. I am an office employee. 
    Those are the statements that so often come to my mind when I am asking myself who am I? 
And yet, those are not who I am, they are what I do. There is a difference, I believe. But it becomes so hard to separate and differentiate between what I do and who I am at the core. 
Words speak volumes to me. When I say volumes, I mean that I hang onto words like a monkey hangs on a tree. I remember them for days and months to come. They have the power to tear my heart apart or build my spirits up. I have often let words of others’ define me in ways that God has not. Yet I struggle to not allow those words, be good or bad, define me. And in recent days, this has become a clear picture of a part of my struggle of who I am at the core. 
So I have begun asking myself Who Am I?  Not in name, not in jobs, but who is Rachael? Who does God say I am and who does He want me to be? I wish it were as simple as just answering. Yet, for me, being an overthinker much of the time, being one who holds onto words, answering this questions has become complex. 

I have had to sort through the words of others, whether good or bad, and allow the words of what God says to me be what defines me. And then I can take those definitions into life and strive to become what He wants me to be. 

I am His child. A precious daughter of the King. Not to be thrown away or stomped upon or allowed by anyone else to be defined. I am His princess. 

    I am loved. Deeply and truly loved how I so desire to be loved. It’s not based off what I do or what I say, but it is based off simply pure, unadulterated love. 

 I am forgiven. I am covered in His grace. Every day. I mess up. All the time. I sin.  I have hurt others, I have confused my own identity. But He steps in and covers me in Grace. Why? Because He loves me. 

      I am free. Free to be me in Him. He has made me wonderfully and beautifully, as Psalm 139 tells me. I am free from sin, if I allow Him to work in me. I am free from fear, if I give it to Him. I am free from my past. 

These are the things that matter. And yet, so hard to embrace. When words are thrown at me, it becomes so hard to see myself through the eyes of my creator. When life changes, those moments can seem bigger than the real truths. 
   But these are who I am at the core. And being these, He has then given me abilities and talents and unique gifts that only I can fulfill because of the fact that I am unique. That’s where my writing comes in, my running happens, my passions unfold . They don’t define who I am, but I am able to take who He has made me to be to fulfill things that only Rachael can fulfill. It is in this, that He has given me the gift of encouragement (ahem...harmonizing??) . I love people. I love to tell them good things. I love to listen to them and help them. But somehow, I often allow myself to love them more than I love myself. This comes back to remembering who I am at the core.  I have to allow God to fill me up every day so that I can pour that out onto others. Then and only then can I be used by Him. 
  as I embrace  and learn who I am, the smile I so often love to pass to others, grows. It is so genuine and cannot be suppressed by  hard times. The smile grows because it is rooted in the depths of security in who God has made me to be. No matter what happens. 
    I have to come to a place of if everything were stripped away: My family, (my mom....), my job, my blog, my running ability, and everything I do because I love...if all that were stripped away from me, would Christ be enough for me? That is a deep and terrifying question to answer. But when He does become enough, then my joy is full. My heart can overflow. I can rest in Who I am. I can be who He created me to be. 

The complex question of who am I still resonates in me, and I am still striving to answer it. But as I work through the depths of it, I am discovering that though I have not always made the best decions in life and I have made mistakes and messed up, who I am at the core, I really do enjoy. And when I am being who He made me to be, I am happy. I am full and I can better pour out onto others. But remaining in that on a daily basis.... That is a struggle. One which I am fighting to conquer. 
  He has made me a beautiful woman. I don’t mean beautiful like look in a mirror and I’m gorgeous. I mean, He has made me beautiful on the inside. And as I learn to embrace that, the beauty shines through in my smile, and my laugh and my abilities and the gifts He has given me. 

 Nothing can take that away, unless I let it. Not others. Not change. Not grief. 

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