bright yellow sunflower in cornfield
Thinking Out Loud

Are You Your Best Self?

On Friday, I met an older woman using a walker who was intently focussed on every step she took. She was making her way to the same building I was so I held the door and the elevator as she made her progress. Elevator rides are always awkward when you’re alone with someone you don’t know, but this woman was ready to strike up a conversation! “Berlin (Maryland) is such a cute, small town, isn’t it? Everyone is so nice” she said. “Yes, it absolutely is” I replied; reflecting on the fact that I will be moving away in a few weeks to a much bigger city with less kind, conversational people. Ironically, we both ended up leaving the building at the same time too. I opened the door for her again and the woman looked at me and said, “I want to look like you in my next life!” Not quite knowing how to take a compliment, I stumbled into saying thank you. “If I could, I would adopt you!” she finished. We proceeded to go our separate ways.

Now this story might seem completely random, but it got me thinking…Am I who I want to be? You only get one life so the pressure is on to live it right! I don’t want to be on my deathbed and wish I had been anyone else. I want to love wholeheartedly, work diligently, take care of my body by eating healthy, working out, and living a life that ultimately glorifies God. Don’t waste your life working at a job you hate or living somewhere you can’t stand, or being around people who tear you down. You have so much life to live so why waste it being unhappy or unfulfilled? You are called to a higher purpose, don’t let your life pass you by! Let your light-hearted demeanor be infectious. Be the person strangers see and wish they were.

Nowadays, everyone is trying so hard to be someone else: a movie star, a pop icon, a Hollywood favorite…but if you stand with everyone else trying to blend into popular culture, you will lose your own identity. I want to be different. I want to have my own goals, passions, pursuits, style, quirkiness, likes, dislikes…etc. I don’t want to spend my time being someone others like, I want to be the person God has called me to be. “You have been set apart as holy to the Lord your God, and he has chosen you from all the nations of the earth to be his own special treasure” [emphasis added] (Deut. 14:2, NIV). If you truly are living your life for Christ, you will stand out and people will naturally want what you have because the joy of the Lord should invade every aspect of your life.

When I made my decision to move back home to Bowie, MD, away from my beloved beach and the close relationships I have cultivated here, my pastor prayed that the joy of the Lord would be my strength wherever I went. As a child, my parents prayed that same prayer over me. I am thankful for these prayers because I have been filled with joy in the midst of uncertain circumstances ever since. Like a lone sunflower planted in a vast field of corn, I want to bask in His goodness even in the middle of nowhere.

“When anxiety was great within me,
    your consolation brought me joy” (Psalm 94:19, NIV).

I am not sure what this next season will look like or where it will take me, but I know the Lord is using it to teach me how to trust in his unfailing love and faithfulness (Psalm 25:10). I don’t even have much of a plan, which is a first, but I am hoping to accomplish much while I wait. I am moving in faith knowing God has good things in store for me; His plans far surpass mine (Jeremiah 29:11). I am using this time to truly seek out His plan and experience a season of rest to heal and be held so later I can be stretched. I am learning to be led so that later I can lead. I am learning to listen so later I can speak. I am learning to open up so later I can be filled.

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