August 29, 2016
I sat on the phone with a friend a few years ago and she mentioned to me she didn’t think I was being my authentic self. She talked about how the world around me may be trying to change me or make me believe I had to be a certain way in order to be liked or successful.
I’ve wavered in my faith from time to time — mostly when bad things happen and I can’t fathom the WHY behind such negativity or tragedies. But it was each time I wavered that I found myself not being who I was truly called to be and therefore, not being able to fulfill the purpose God set out for me.
I’m not saying its an easy change… to go from allowing the world to put a damper on you and allowing its negativity in, to changing and learning the Lord’s purpose for you — its hard. It takes a strong mind, a strong heart and a lot of praying, but its feasible.
I spent a lot of time trying to find myself that year. I read my Bible more, prayed more, talked with friends and family about it and eventually, I found myself transforming.
Just this morning I read Colossians 3:1-4:
Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you will also appear with him in glory.
Friends, this scripture made me want to write to you this morning. It made me want to share my story with you on how I found my authenticity. I wasn’t setting my heart or my mind on things above. I was setting it on earthly things: unnecessary STUFF and the thoughts of others.
Over the next few months following this phone call, I realized I didn’t have to be like everyone else. I don’t have to ‘fake it until I make it’, I could just be ME. If people don’t like me for me, they don’t need to be a part of my life. It sounds bad, but not caring what others thought of me was the best way I got through it.
Here’s the thing. I don’t want to sugar coat this for anyone because it wasn’t sugar coated for me and I believe bluntness is the best way to really LEARN and understand the truth in things:
You don’t have to be anyone else but you. You don’t HAVE to fit in. You don’t have to have the new car, the best clothes, the latest trends, the expensive school for your kids. You don’t have to be the first one to potty train your child or the first one to start a successful business. You don’t have to compete with anyone. You don’t have to try so hard. You don’t have to be better than, work harder than, try harder than, or BE any one else but YOU. Nobody else but the person the Lord made you. He put you here for a PURPOSE. He has a calling FOR YOU. How powerful is that? That He created a purpose just for YOU. That He loves you so much to give you your very own purpose and calling in life. Let that soak in for a minute.
No, really. Read it again: He put you here for a PURPOSE. He has a calling FOR YOU.
And that calling isn’t for anyone else. Your calling and my calling aren’t the same. They’re different, and thats what makes the world a beautiful place… that we all coexist doing things differently and in our own beautiful, unique, authentic way.
All you have to do, is pray. Listen closely to the calling He set out for you.
For me, I know through lots of prayer and listening and guidance, that I’m here to be Aubree’s mama. I know I’m meant to be Kyle’s wife — nobody else can be those two things but me. I know I was called to be a photographer because I see moments and love through God’s eyes and not just my own. I put Him first in my life so I can allow Him to guide me and he brought me to my calling 4 years ago: capturing moments for people in a way nobody else can.
I knew this was the calling He set out for me because it sets my soul on fire and always keeps me yearning for more. Does anything give you that feeling, too?
If you don’t feel like you’re being your authentic self, if you feel like you’re letting the world around you dictate who you’ll be and allowing the silliness of social media to tell you what your next move needs to be: just stop. Give yourself some grace; its okay.
Then pick yourself up and realize you need to get back to your faith, back to your roots, back to where Christ is. Set your heart and your mind on things above and go from there. Start over if you have to. It doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks, it only matters what you in your heart feel and whether or not you’re fulfilling the purpose He created you for.
Thats authenticity, friends. Being the YOU He created. Being true to yourself and to God. And not allowing anyone or anything else hinder that.
Now go out and be fearless in the pursuit of your authenticity and the plan He created just for you.
Health and happiness, xoxo.
Photo on left: June Letters
Design by Brandilynn Michelle | Photography by Jami Thompson Photography
Outer Banks, NC & Virginia Beach, VA Photographer
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