A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To Becoming Myself

“You’re not likable.” My supervisor’s words sliced through my heart like a hot knife. They amplified my greatest fear, rejection.

words

This is the post that started it all. One year ago I launched Penned In HIs Image -Discovering Who God Created You to Be on September 19, 2016. But the blog almost didn’t happen, and this post shares the reason why. It is something we all struggle with so what better time to reshare this post than on the one-year anniversary of the blog. Whether you are reading this post for the first time or you read it when it when it was originally published, thank you for stopping by today. I am excited about what the next year will bring and hope you will be part of the journey. Be sure to watch for some new features that will be coming in the next few weeks.

I have spent most of my life trying to be who others think I should be so they will like me. It is a painful and exhausting way to live. And it is not the way God intends us to live life.

Words are powerful. They have the power to give life and encouragement or like the words uttered by my supervisor so many years ago, the power to crush and wound.

Their Words

My supervisor made that statement to me during an annual review. He indicated that none of my co-workers liked me. He then suggested a book I should read that would help me be more likable. I kept my composure until I was alone, and then the tears flowed freely.

The tape of those words played over and over again in my mind not only then but for many years after. I’m sure that supervisor didn’t realize the damage his words caused. His motive was probably to cause me to be a better version of who he thought I should be.

However, what they did was reinforce my belief that I was not likable or lovable. And the belief I had to fix what was wrong with me, whatever that might be so that others would like me. I believed the lie that if I never said no and did everything others asked of me perfectly, then they would like me.

My Words

Not only are the words others speak to us powerful, so are the words we speak to ourselves.

Several years ago when God placed a dream in my heart to write, I spoke negative words to myself that resulted in it taking years longer to pursue that dream than it should have. Words like; you’re too old, you don’t know how to write, you’re not a good writer, you don’t have anything to say that others will want to read, you’re not likable so why would anyone like your writing.

God’s Word

God tells me a different story in His Word. He says I am fearfully and wonderfully made (read Psalm 139:13-18). He tells me that He created me intentionally and on purpose. “For we are God’s masterpiece. He created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” – Ephesians 2:10 NLT. I have to trust Him. Trust that He created me the way He wanted me to be. His unique child with a personality that has strengths and challenges.

The Journey To Becoming Me

The past few years God has been leading me on a journey to become myself. A journey that is about progress, not perfection. A journey that will not end this side of heaven.

I’m learning to get unstuck from my past and allow the painful events to teach me to tell myself the truth. I realized that the truth behind the remarks of that long ago supervisor was that he didn’t like me, and possibly some of my co-workers shared the same feelings. But that is OK because not everyone will like me when I am true to who He created me to be.

I am also telling myself the truth that it is never too late to dream a new dream.

“You are never too old to set another goal or dream or dream another dream.” C. S. Lewis

What Else I Am Learning

I have learned that I am penned in His image, and I have a story. A story He authored and wants me to share.

I have learned that there is nothing I can do to earn His love and nothing I can do to cause Him to love me less. So now, this hot mess of a recovering perfectionistic people pleaser is living for the applause of nail-scarred hands, and so I write.

I also know this truth,  if you are reading this you have had painful experiences in your life as well. But they do not have to define you. You can be who He created you to be. So I invite you to join me on this journey of discovering who God created us to be. Let’s travel together one grace step at a time.

What painful experience have you been allowing to define your life? Where do you feel stuck? How is God showing you how to become your true self?

I’m a writer and storyteller. Each week I write about and invite readers to join me on an extraordinary adventure to discover and live the unique story God has penned for each of us.

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4 thoughts on “A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To Becoming Myself

  1. I love this, K! I think there’s a little of this (maybe a lot of this) in each of us! Doubting our abilities to do a job for whatever reason; being ‘people pleasers’ where we want others to really like us & think we’re doing a good job; & we’re also perfectionists too (some more than others)!
    I am all of these above but as I’ve gotten older (& hopefully a little wiser), I’ve found that I don’t care as much what others think of me. I have learned that all I need to do is please God because He’s the only one that matters! I also used to feel because I didn’t get a college degree like a lot of my friends, & being married to a professional, that I wasn’t as smart or as talented as others & I shouldn’t expect to get a really good job! But you know, God blessed me with being talented in typing & shorthand & secretarial skills; therefore, I always seemed to get excellent jobs in that field! I had always worked in Personnel in school administration offices since I was married. And one year while we were living near an AFB, I applied for a Civil Service job with the B-1B squadron on base…….& I got the job! That in itself was a shock! All of the people in this department of the Air Force were highly skilled, highly educated & trained in their fields. This was also right around the time computers were coming out & I was deathly afraid of them because I had no training whatsoever with them! They had computer technicians come to to the Base to train all of us how to use them & their programs. I was so afraid I’d mess up or delete something I wasn’t supposed to, that I just ‘couldn’t get it’! Fear got the best of me! When I told my boss who was a Colonel over the dept that I was going to resign, he tried & tried to talk me out of it & promised me he’d get someone to work with me more to train me with them. He had more faith in me than I had in myself! But I just couldn’t do it! I had so little confidence in myself to do the job & I didn’t want to let him down or any of the others who worked in that dept. I really, really liked & admired them all too! So I quit & went back to my old job with the school district where I was ‘comfortable’. As I look back on those days today, I know I didn’t have God in my life back then. If I had, I know He would have gotten me through it & I probably would have gone on over the years to get better & better jobs with each base had I stayed with it! I just didn’t have the confidence in myself to do the job PERFECTLY!!!!
    Maybe my life would have been different today – maybe not. But I really feel I missed my chance had I just ‘stepped out of the box’ & gone for it! That was many years ago but I do occasionally think what might have been. Had it been today, I definitely would!!!!! But today God has given me the confidence in myself to do many more things in my life & to step out of my comfort zone to do so! I am amazed at classes I’ve led in church, different jobs I’ve agreed to, & so many other things that I’ve been doing the last several years that I would never have attempted before! So thank you, K, for writing about this today! I know now that we are “God’s Masterpiece”…… I wish I’d known then what I know now.

  2. This article really resonates with me as I have had similar experiences. I also really liked the title because even though we frequently hear the advice “be yourself,” it isn’t just something you can flip on like a switch but a gradual process that can take years to undergo and so “becoming yourself” is a more accurate phrase. My painful experiences date back to middle-school and high-school, and even though now I realize that just about everyone struggles as a teen, these experiences of rejection stuck with me for years. Like you, I became a people-pleaser and would say yes to everything. Eventually I came to realize that I was not being authentic but rather acting as a watered-down version of myself and therefore not serving my true purpose on earth. Although my transformation is by no means complete, I’ve at least learned that it’s impossible to please everyone and fretting for hours over what others think of me is a waste of time and energy.

  3. I’m so glad I read this post again. This is a great reminder. Oh, and by the way…..I happen to think you are a-mazing and so thankful God brought us together as best friends! Love ya!

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