Last year, my daughter and I had the trip of a lifetime. We went to Romania for a month to work with a community of kids in desperate need of love and attention in so many ways. We loved this trip for so many reasons and I can honestly say that it changed both of our lives for the better. My daughter has a massive issue with doubting her worth and I think so many of us do the same thing. But, what happens if we are wrong in doubting ourselves? I think 99% of the population suffers from something I like to call, "I'm a nobody." And it's simply a lie. Nothing could be farther from the truth.
What does this look like, you might ask? It is the thing that stops you from trying new things in the fear that you might bomb it, might not like it, or will look like an idiot to others. But it all boils down to fear and self-loathing. Whoa, whoa, whoa.....yes. Exactly. Self-loathing. Think of the words you say to yourself when you're talking yourself out of something or thinking through a problem?
"I wouldn't be good at that."
"OMG I would suck so bad at that."
"I'm too stupid to do a job like that."
"I'm not qualified."
Eighteen months ago I started under-going a massive transformation. I hated who I was. I said things like this to myself constanty. I usually still tried the things I was uncertain about but not with the vigor I should have. My personal life was in utter choas and shambles, so much so, that it was causing me to bomb things within my business. That continued for an entire year. Things got harder. I started counseling. Things started turning around and then trauma hit me. That emotional trauma that nearly broke me. But I dusted myself off and said, "No more." I started changing even more. Now when I look back at this Romania trip, I see a completely different person. I barely recognize that woman staring back at me. It's borderline Mulan, guys.
I have always wanted to raise daughters who are women of strength. There's a huge difference between a "strong woman" and a "woman of strength." Eighteen months ago I was a strong woman. I was so strong in fact, no one got through my walls. I loved people deeply and desired the good things of relationships but man, I was tough to crack. No one was going to get inside and hurt me. But here's the thing....they did hurt me. No matter how high and strong those walls were, it still hurt. So I decided to change. The process was slow and it's still evolving. But I would rather let others in and see the real me than create a picture of myself that wasn't accurate. I wanted to be vunerable because in creating a false picture of myself to others, I was also lying to myself. I didn't even know who I really was. It's sad really. I wanted to be compassionate and strong. Genuine, caring, a servant and a leader. I felt I was doing okay with all those things. I was decieved. It wasn't until I was in Romania with a bunch of missionary kids, I say kids because they were easily 15 years younger than me, and their self-awareness and who they were was shocking. I had never been around people like that in all my life. They were vunerable and real, even when they failed at something. My perception of myself was shaken. Now pair that with the massive anxiety that something was wrong back home in Wyoming and I was a hot mess in the worst possible way.
But I was good at hiding it. That is until God spoke through Romanian woman on her death bed in a one room shack to me directly. I remember the words the woman said, the awe that she would say those things to me without knowing me and the compassion and love written all over her face and how when I touched her hand her entire demeanor changed and she stared around wildly looking for who had her hand. When her eyes locked with mine she started speaking with a vigor she probably hasn't had in years. The hair on my arms stood on end. The translator and the missionary family I was there with were electrified when we left. "Did you feel it?!?! Did you feel the air?? You just got a Word from God, Lacey!!" And I missed it. I was so wrapped up in my own pain and worry that I missed it. I missed the FEELING of it all. I was a shell. I was so dark inside my heart that I missed God speaking DIRECTLY TO ME. Me! A nobody.
I was wrong.
And so are you.
We are not nobodies.
You are uniquely gifted through your life expereinces to do the work set before you. Picture it this way, hold your hands out before you and close your hands like you are holding on to something. precious. In your left hand is all the things you love to do. Like photography, hanging with your friends, camping, hiking, traveling, kayaking, snuggling with your kids, exploring some new part of your town you haven't seen before, taking a bath, crafting, sewing, drawing, painting, laughing with my husband...this is my list but yours might share some similarities.
Now in your right hand contains all the things that you are good at. Some of those things might be the same but they might be different. For example, leading others, loving other people, empathy, serving others, teaching....you get the idea. Really picture your strengths. Feel them with your soul.
Now take your hands and cup them together and pretend you are shaking all the things that were in your hands together into one glorious mess! That is what you are uniquely gifted for. While someone else may share similiar traits with you and like the same things that you do, their unique gifting will look entirely different than yours. God has uniquely gifted all of us, through the things we are good at, the things we love to do and our life experiences to shape and mold us into that unique gift. For the love, STOP comparing yourself to other people. This is especially applicable to those of us in the creative career field. We see someone else who is farther along on their journey of growth and experience and suddenly they become the hammer by which we smash ourselves to bits.
I know this blog post is different than what is typically posted on a photographer's blog. Usually it's "Here's my latest dreamy session!" or "How to style your family for your Christmas session!" and while those are all great things, I have been drawn more now than ever before to share with you what could be. You could be walking in freedom of who you really are and letting go of the version of yourself that isn't entirely accurate. Be you, sweet friend. Know that you are incredibly and uniquely gifted to do amazing and wonderous things in your life.