Do you remember the famous quote from that M. Night Shyamalan movie The 6th Sense: “I see dead people”?
Well… lately… I’ve been seeing “free people.” People who aren’t like so many of the people I grew up with. People who aren’t afraid of what other people think. People who are comfortable in their own skin, not afraid to tell you what they think and also not afraid to hear what you think. People who are smart and witty and bold and true to themselves. People who know themselves. People who seem to have found their niche in the world and are living it out with joy and confidence and… freedom.
I want to be a people like that.
But that’s a little tricky for me.
You see… that isn’t how I was raised.
I was raised to be nice. Pretty much above all else. I was raised to please others. I was raised to believe that it was of ultimate importance to be “easygoing” and to “just go with the flow.” I was raised to believe that I should hold myself back for the sake of others— that even if I could be excellent at something, I should limit myself so that the people around me “don’t feel bad about themselves.”
I was raised to worry about what other people thought of me.
I was raised to think that what someone else thinks of me always matters— and that people often say something but secretly mean something else. Therefore, I should take time to really analyze other people’s words and that I should look on even the positive comments with suspicion. “There must be an ulterior motive,” I grew up thinking.
Basically, the adage “Do to others what you would have them do to you” meant, in my family’s mind, “let other people win; don’t ever say anything that might possibly be perceived as negative or critical in any way; do whatever you need to do to serve others and “fill their cups”— even if it means you lose sight of your own relationship with God or your own desires or opinions or mental or physical health.”
Make other people happy.
Don’t rock the boat.
Don’t tell your true, deep feelings about something or someone— even if they ask! “People don’t want to hear anything negative about themselves. And if you think about it, you don’t want to hear it either,” I was told. Literally. In writing. Just a few weeks ago.
But I have to admit: overanalyzing everything I say and everything other people say to me and fearing public opinion and always doubting myself has not served me well.
And. Just for the record: I have decided that I actually do want to hear “negative things” about myself— if they are true and/or given in wisdom and thoughtfulness and with my own personal growth or integrity in mind! I want to know where my blind spots are, where I have faulty thinking, where I could use some correction, in what ways I could do better or be better. I want to be a healthy, open-minded, open-hearted, free, alive person!
And maybe a little kick in my butt could do me some good!?!
I’m sick of the messes my own insecurities, fears, and over-analyzing tendencies have gotten me into!
I’m sick of being an emotionally-stunted, don’t-know-myself-or-my-giftings, perpetually-worried-about-public-opinion, overly-troubled person.
It’s high time I concern myself more with God’s opinion of me than anyone else’s. And it’s high time I get to know who this “me” is that He “fearfully and wonderfully created” so long ago.
I’m nearing 37 years old, for goodness’ sake.
Jesus said He came “to seek and to save the lost” (Luke 19:10). He also said “it is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick” (Matthew 9:12).
Well, here I am, Lord.
I’m a lost, broken, trapped, weak, confused, sick woman.
And I need You.
Desperately. As always.
Please find me, please piece me back together, please unbind me, please strengthen me, please bring me clarity and truth and wisdom. And healing, Lord. Please teach me what I need to know to move forward in health and freedom. Please continue to bring healthy, open-minded, whole-hearted, courageous people into my life to model for me what it looks like to truly live. To truly live without the shackles of fear and intimidation and foolishness bogging them down.
I want to be a free people, too, Lord.
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What about you?
What is limiting you from living in freedom? In what ways are you lost or broken or sick or in need of divine assistance?
Please feel free to share your comments or your own journey in the comment section below.