Have you ever felt like you stood out like a sore thumb while everyone else fit in? My whole life this has been an issue for me. I have always had such a hard time embracing how much I stood out. In fact, most of my life I tried to blend in by looking like people I admired, and doing things that others did that seemed to gain them approval. None of my efforts seemed to work out very well. In fact, it led me down a pretty topsy turvy path that I have spent years recovering from. Yes, your girl has had a hard time embracing herself.
This has been something that I have spent lots of quiet time with God about. Over the years I have had some serious growth in this area, but I do still have my off days. Don’t we all? This weekend I found myself in an all too familiar situation, where I was finding it very difficult to stand out. To be honest I really just wasn’t in the mood, I wasn’t feeling on top of my game. It was one of those days I just wanted to blend in and be apart of “the crowd.” Yet there I was at a birthday party sticking out like a sore thumb once again. I found myself feeling very uncomfortable in my skin, at a celebration with women who were younger, and far more trendy than I was.
Yes, I was a fish out of water.
There was a part of me that knew what I was feeling was not necessarily real, but that little girl in me was really kicking up some dust. There was nothing comfortable to cling to, and nothing else I could do, other than smile and ride the wave out. I knew exactly what would happen if I tried to accommodate my need to fit in. It would turn into one big awkward party all around. Have you ever seen someone try so hard to be something that they are not? Isn’t it painful to watch? I decided it was better to lay low for the moment then to revert to bad old habits due to a momentary weakness.
After I got home that evening God spoke to me during prayer. He whispered “You can’t want to be like them, AND help them change their lives at the same time.” In basic terms he was saying you can’t desire to be like the thing that you were born to change. I sat there in awe. He was completely right. How is it that sometimes we allow our momentary discomfort of being different to make us want to hide and fit in with the societal norms? Why is it that we think that being like other people (whether momentarily or often) will make things easier?
Next God reminded me of the story of David and Goliath. As I re-read the story I felt so refreshed! I want to share with you what God shared with me about this passage. We will take a look at it in a second. But first let’s get some backstory on David. David in plain sight is an outcast amongst his family. He is the “shepherd boy”. He is the one who is basically left home all the time to pick up after the animals, while all his other brothers go out on the battle field and get saluted as soldiers. One day the prophet named Samuel comes and anoints David as king. (Please read the whole story I’m paraphrasing) But even after he has been anointed he has to go back to tending the sheep. Can you imagine that? Being a social outcast to then be told that you will be king, but still have to get back in that yard and do the same old thing? One day David is told to go give lunch to his brothers who are at war. He see’s the giant Goliath and lets it be known that he believes he can take him down. That’s right, social outcast and all David is confident in who he is. King Saul tries to warn David against trying but David is super pumped up about this thing and refuses to back down.
So let’s take a look at 1 Samuel 17:38-40 (AMP)
38 Then Saul dressed David in his garments and put a bronze helmet on his head, and put a coat of mail (armor) on him. 39 Then David fastened his sword over his armor and tried to walk, [but he could not,] because he was not used to them. And David said to Saul, “I cannot go with these, because I am not used to them.” So David took them off. 40 Then he took his [shepherd’s] staff in his hand and chose for himself five [m]smooth stones out of the stream bed, and put them in his shepherd’s bag which he had, that is, in his shepherd’s pouch. With his sling in his hand, he approached the Philistine.
Now let’s look at what this passage is really saying. Saul gives David his Kingly garments to fight Goliath in, probably thinking that he is doing him a favor. David puts on Saul’s garments but realizes he cannot fight Goliath in someone else’s armor. Kings armor or not David knew that his strength was in being himself. The only way he was going to win was by using what God gave him, and NOT someone else!
Yall, this is SO powerful.
This let’s us know that who God has called us to be has already equipped us to be effective in our lane. We don’t have to try and become someone else in order to be effective, or accepted. God gave us something on the inside that will help us to shine, shine, shine, for the world to see, but in order to see it we must fully and authentically be ourselves.
This shows we can focus all we want on the exterior but God is looking at who he created US to be. People around us may get caught up in what someone who killed Goliath is supposed to look like or be like, but the truth is that none of those soldiers nor the King himself could kill Goliath. It was little David, the shepherd boy, and the odd man out!
So today here are 3 things to help you embrace who God created you to be:
1. Stop Looking At What You Think Discredits You- Yup. That’s right! If you are anything like me, you can get hung up on your past and feel as though it discredits you from your future. We must remember that God knew ALL of us before he called us, and yet he STILL called us. He knew the detours we would take, the “flaws” we would have, and still loves us. David started as a shepherd boy but was appointed to become a king. This didn’t happen overnight though. He had to grow into becoming the King that God called him to be. Had he allowed himself to say “I’m just a shepherd boy, I can’t fight that Giant” he may never had become king. It is the same for you and I, we cannot allow the things we feel that discredit us to rob us of who God has called us to be.
2. Our Identity Is Rooted In God, Not In Society- We must remember that our identity comes from God. He is the one who created us, and with a very unique and specific purpose in mind. If we allow society to tell us who and what we should become then we are forfeiting who God has called us to be, to become something we were never meant to be. Society may not be able to recognize nor appreciate who you are, but the truth is they aren’t supposed to. I believe that is because God wants us to come to him and not society for the validation that we desire.
3. Embrace the REAL you- If we learned anything from David it is that we cannot walk into our destiny being someone else. He could have worn the Kings armor out on the battlefield but he knew he would not have been successful doing so. Just because it looked “better” didn’t mean that it necessarily was. We must also realize that our real strength is in who God created us to be. It may be awkward at times being who God has called us to be, but it will always work out for our benefit.
I pray that you find strength in this story that way that I did. I know how trying self-love and self acceptance really can be. It has been such a hard issue for me to overcome that I am writing an entire book about it! The most important thing to remember is that God already loves you, even when we feel unworthy and less than. I am rooting for you!