Have you ever been around one of those people who are always trying to prove themselves? Every time an anecdote is shared, they have a bigger story. If you pedal a bike, they ride a Harley. If you eat cheese, they own a dairy. If you have a sniffle, they have leprosy.
I met a new one recently. She blew me away with her ability to see reality in such a flowing, ever-evolving light. At first I was a little unnerved by the obvious overstatements. Then, I started to enjoy it a bit. The more my reactions to her statements were calm, the harder she reached to shock me with her exploits. Before long, my comments of “oh, that’s nice” were rewarded with tales of gore, space travel and private CSI investigations. It was great.
And so very sad.
The truth was that I recognized myself in her. At times, I’ve heard my own voice doing the one-up-manship routine. As I spoke on the outside, on the inside I berated myself, begging my mouth to stop moving. While my stories were true, admittedly at times embellished, there was no need to share them. So, why the competition?
I used to believe it was because I was extremely hungry to be accepted, to belong; hoping that by displaying my life in the best light possible, I’d be evaluated and pass the social test. Simply put, I was afraid that my truest self wasn’t enough. In order to pass muster, I felt I had to adjust my identity, change my personality, rework my story.
I’d lived like that for years; not believing that who I was was enough. For me. For friends. For family. For society. For faith.
About eight years ago, I had a revolution of heart, soul, mind and spirit. Slowly God began introducing himself to me as though it were the first time we’d met. He showed me that he didn’t need me to doctor myself up for his acceptance. I didn’t have to prove my worth to him through rigid protocol or earn his love through asceticism or identity mutation. He simply love my purest, most natural self; the state he originally created me in. There was nothing I could do to change that for less or for more.
Now, after years of routine relationship, I’m learning to live with the confidence that he loves me, period. Complete, whole, transparent me. It’s an embarrassingly elementary, sadly delayed revelation. But one that is unbelievably freeing and life changing.
So here I sit, in my late-thirties exploring who he designed me to be. It’s crazy good to be connected with a God who romances me with wild love and expects only my purest, honest self in return. It’s exciting, terrifying, and tantalizing.
No fantasized personality, no concocted identity, no bend-over-backwards-to-prove-my-worth actions. Just me. Pure and simple. No strings attached. Me.