I never really thought of myself as a mess. I thought I had it all together. I think that is worse. When life is going okay - where nothing is really bad but nothing is really great either - is the worse place to be. It is where I have been all my life. I am ordinary. I am normal. I'm nothing special.
I haven't been abused or abandoned. I haven't been addicted to hard drugs or experienced clinical depression. I have family and friends who love me, beyond that not many even know my name. I am not too tall, nor too short. I am not too skinny, nor would I consider myself obese (unless you look at a BMI scale, and even then I'm on the border -- arg). I have done nothing that sets me apart; instead, I've spent my entire life trying to fit in. I've felt like this has been my story. I am simply average. I'm caught in the middle of a mess and a masterpiece. I'm not quite a mess, but I don't feel I am a masterpiece either.
The above picture really caught my eye because of the awesome drawing of a person held behind the lines of a paper. Only later did the quote really sink in. It was a perfect find for what was going through my head about my life as a mess. As I said, I never really thought I had a mess, but part of that is because I never thought about it at all. I always considered myself free. That is until I realized how much I let what others think of me dictate who I am. Those faint little lines that society draws was enough to but me behind bars of bondage. This realization was very hard for me. It is a lesson I'm still learning.
This past winter I did the "Breaking Free" Bible study by Beth Moore with a small group of ladies from my church. It was a wonderful study, a little intense, but I am still growing from it even after several months. I would recommend it if you ever get the chance to study it. Anyway, the point is that going into that study, I didn't think I had anything to break free from. I thought I was there to support others who I knew had a rough childhood or other things going on in their lives. I never thought it would pierce my heart so deeply.
It was through this study that I learned what "people-pleasing" really meant and had the realization that I was one. I wish we could have a people-pleasers anonymous with steps and everything. I thought I was free, but I was being held bondage by my unwillingness to say no, my anxiety over conflict, my frustration at constantly holding my opinion for fear of judgement, and my irrational desire to make others see me for who I thought they wanted me to be. I never knew how limited and restrained I actually felt.
I feel ordinary and unimportant, but God has a greater perspective. God created me to be His masterpiece. I don't have to stay in this bondage of people-pleasing, God did not create me to be trapped - He created me to be free! Jesus said, "You will know the truth and the truth will set you free!" (John 8:32). I know the truth is that God loves me enough to send His Son to die for my sins (John 3:16). I know that someone who created me to be a masterpiece and loves me that much isn't going to be happy about me settling for a mediocre life.
I have begun to step out of the fear that judgment of others has buried me under. I am still walking towards freedom. But God is beside me every step of the way. I will be strong and courageous because I know my God is with me wherever I go (Joshua 1:9). I'm ready to stop believing I am resigned to be ordinary. I am ready to believe I'm God's masterpiece and do the good things He planned me for long ago.
This article is inspired by a Bible Study with Proverbs 31 Ministries
while reading Limitless Life by Derwin L. Gray.