Do you ever let who you’re not become who you are? I know I’m a card-carrying member of that club. Here’s my short list:
I’m not at ease in big (as in…more than 2) groups of people.
I’m not comfortable as the center of attention.
I’m not confident or self-assured in almost any way.
I’m not a take-charge leader.
I’m not one to easily see my convictions in black and white.
It’s hard not to focus on who I’m not and those corresponding traits because I feel the weight of their absence. I feel wholly overcome with awkward silence when I’m in a big group of people. I feel painfully forced when put in the center of attention. I feel like who I am is not enough when I look at who other people are. I feel unsure of myself when I can’t clearly convey specific directions to a group. I feel like I’m not strong enough in my faith when I see gray and leave room for contemplation.
The trap of focusing on who I’m not and seeing those traits as lacking is that I don’t see who I am shining through in their midst.
Because I’m not at ease in big groups of people, I usually seek out others who are by themselves and have meaningful conversations with them. Instead of taking up the spotlight, I gladly pass it along to someone who functions best in that position. The lack of confidence is an area that needs growth; but in the meantime, I can relate to others who feel less than 100% sure that they’re the bee’s knees. I can also choose to work on something that needs improvement in my life and get a little bit better every day instead of catering to it and giving it the upper hand forever. Not being a take-charge leader allows me to lead by quiet example. Seeing the world in shades of gray gives me an opportunity to empathize with people who I might otherwise judge unfairly.
The kicker is that hating who I’m not makes me forget that I love who I am. The introverted, reflective spirit that gives me trouble in some areas is what makes me a good writer, and I wouldn’t trade that for the world. I’ve never wanted to be the boisterous life of the party; I like encouraging individual people with enthusiasm and a side of sarcasm-laced humor. I love (love love love) serving, helping, and supporting, and I’ve really enjoyed being that type of leader.
So why not be the best at who I am, instead of trying to make myself who I’m not? Why not ask the Lord to be strong in the places where I am weak, and give Him the glory when I soar?
Isn’t that the better bet?