A song came on the radio while I was driving home from picking up my three school-goers the other day. It began right as I was heading into the hilly straight stretch where cell service is lost and a few miles before the spot we always figure out whose turn it is to check the mail. It was a song I’d heard a hundred times and knew well. But this time it took on new meaning as the lyrics popped in a way they hadn’t before. This is your life, are you who you want to be?
Yeah. There was that theme again. The one that’s been hanging around so often. Who is Amanda really? I usually think I know, but she seems absent more often than I’d like. Which is never. I believe I’m doing the things God has for me to do in this season of life, but am I being the person He intended in the middle of it all?
If what follows is too deep like Jeremy may have suggested once it was too late to scrap it all, grab some coffee or splash your face with some cold water. I’ll wait. I was just kidding about the cold water. Who does that to themselves? But coffee, yes to coffee.
Here’s the part that could possibly be too deep for a Monday: If all the things that aren’t truly me were stripped away, what would I find? Who am I really?
The hoping people are pleased with me.
If those were gone, what would be left? I believe it’d be the me God had in mind all along. So I guess it’s not really who I want to be like the song suggests, but rather who God created me to be that I’m searching to find.
I’ve been spending some time thinking and praying about who I’d be if I were down to the bare bones me. Without the addition of fear and sin. I’d be one who likes to be fun and funny, isn’t afraid to look like a fool for the sake of what’s good and right, has ideas, passion, and drive. And love. Deep, deep love for Christ, His word, and for people.
Sometimes, though, this true me is crowded out. I don’t mean for her to be. But life. Life and the daily grind shoves its way in, bullying her into a corner.
Does it ever feel like your true self has been backed into a corner? I’ve only just begun thinking about it in this way.
As moms, as women, as humans, we can get so bogged down. And then we settle for the belief that we’ve lost ourselves. “The real me will come back when the kids are grown,” we console with a sigh. I’ve felt that way many times through the years. Motherhood is draining. Right there in the middle of the beautiful parts, sometimes we just feel like we don’t know who we are anymore.
Crowd, crowd. Shove, shove. Elbow, elbow.
I don’t think our true self is ever really lost or gone. But I do believe the bossy crowding lady is allowed the victory all too often.
She’s backed us into a corner with no wiggle room without us even realizing it. Even still, isn’t it just a little bit relieving? She’s not lost! The real us (us-es?) might be cowering against a wall, but that’s not the worst thing that could happen.
It’s a much better option than the whole, “the real me will come back when the kids are grown” way of thinking.
One morning a week I am afforded an hour and a half with just my three youngest while my three elementary kids are at school, and my middle school homeschoolers are at a class. It’s become one of my favorite times in the week. For some, being stranded in town with a 2 year-old and two 4 year-olds wouldn’t sound like much. But for me it’s a chance to remember myself. To encourage her out of the corner, and into the game of life. I’m fun, carefree, and willing to be a goofball at the expense of my little peoples’ delight. I really like myself like this. I didn’t even need to offer cupcakes or a new book or a bit of me time to coax her out. She simply decided to appear because it’s what she wanted.
Am I sounding like a crazy person here, or are you tracking with what I’m saying? Do you know who you want to be, perhaps, who you already are deep down? Who God intended?
Yes? Okay, so you get this. Then how do we present her to the world now instead of later?
I don’t have the perfect answer for you. But I do know that I plan on being much more mindful of this. I want the real me to be the one hanging out with my family, interacting with the world, and shining in the unique way only I can.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this. Do you ever feel like you’ve lost yourself? Have you found ways to coax her back?
Also, if you and your true self happen to see me out in public? High-five me. I’ll know exactly what it means. You’re back in the game.
*This is Your Life by Switchfoot