This summer I hope you have thought about what it means to be “simply you”. I find that this is harder to do than it seems at first. I do not want to try to be more than I am. And yet I am tired of shrinking back and being afraid, and living less than the sum total of my convictions, passions, identity, and dreams that have been forged in me by God.
I really do want to be simply me.
I don’t want to excuse my awful moments away like it doesn’t really matter if I am unkind, or discontent, or saturated with a critical spirit. It matters.
It matters, too, that I have these intense convictions within myself that will not lie down and rest. These make my heart beat, my fist pound, my future days come into sharp perspective and I cannot back down from them. To do so would be like living a lie, selling out, and denying pillars that feel morally imperative for me. They are my stakes in the ground and I will not budge.
Some stuff matters if I am going to be simply me.
I pray and hope you will be simply you. There are no cookie cutter versions of us as women. I want you to be simply you as much as I want to be simply me. That, to me, is beautiful. It’s beautiful for you to be you. You aren’t diminished in this world if I choose to be me, and I am not diminished if you choose to be you. Isn’t that really the truth?
I think it is amazing when we live this beautiful freedom out. I think that is what the Scriptures intend when we are told to “Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another.” (Romans 12:15-16)
This, to me, would be gloriously harmonious. What would it be like to cherish each other so profoundly that we would weep if we saw another weeping? That we’d be overjoyed at another’s joy?
What if someone else’s pain was actually your pain?
Someone else’s joy, your delight?
Someone else’s hardship your constant, heart felt petition?
I think if we were women like this we’d be utterly blessed. I know because I have seen glimpses of it.
The moments I have been most profoundly blessed have been when God has allowed me to do something for somebody else. I know this is monumentally SIMPLE! We learned it when we were children when our mother’s said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (which we seriously doubted on Christmas morning!) And yet, it is so true.
I always think back to a line from an old movie with Steve Martin. In this movie an older woman who is having arguably the toughest season in her life makes Steve Martin’s character a pie and brings it over in order to be a blessing to him. His character is shocked that she would even think to worry about him when she is in such a heartbreaking season. But then she says,
“The quickest way to forget about your own troubles is to do something to lighten somebody else’s.”
We forget to do this though. Instead we get bogged down in our own misery and we forfeit the sweet joy that would be ours if we chose- even in the midst of our own trial, to bless somebody else.
News flash. (Ready?? This is going to be stunning.) You can be blessed by blessing others. (I know. What a concept.)
I know firsthand that this is true. Fifteen years ago somebody in our life blessed us immensely by giving our family a car. Seriously, a car. I was floored. Who gives someone else a car??
It wasn’t until years later that I realized we had not even been close to receiving the greatest portion of joy in that scenario. But one day, as I sat across from a dear young family and handed them the keys to a minivan, I learned that the real blessing had been in the giving all along. It was indescribable.
God, in His Word, says it this way:
A generous person will prosper;
whoever refreshes others will themselves be refreshed. (Proverbs 11:25)
My invitation to you this week is simple.
Bless somebody. Be blessed by blessing someone.
Don’t hold back, don’t shy away, don’t bury yourself in your own small universe. Get out there and know a new joy. The joy of being a blessing.