Thursday, November 18, 2010

Pretending



Hidden beneath the surface of an extremely shy personality, there was a little girl who wanted to be a star. In her own home she was a ballerina, but when her Mommy took her to dancing class she cried and wanted only to rush back to that place of safety. She wanted to be popular and out-going, but cried and cried for days when she had to go to kindergarten, sitting quietly alone and speaking to no one.

It seemed she just couldn't be what she so envied in others, but she could pretend she was. She could be Shirley Temple, singing and dancing in the confines of her own little room or a beautiful princess dressed in borrowed clothing.

When she got older, she tried desperately hard to be like the popular girls - but naturally curly hair just won't cooperate and stay straight, and making clever conversation was like speaking a foreign tongue. She pored over magazines, longing to look like the models pictured there, imagining that somehow she did.

Eventually she found her place in the hierarchy of her high school, coming out of her shell and participating in everything she could fit into her schedule - and then some. But there was always that longing to be like someone else - someone who seemed to be so much her superior. She spent long quiet hours, imagining that she was.

It wasn't something she outgrew in adulthood. It simply changed a bit. Instead of longing to be like someone she knew - or like one of the beautiful, gifted people she read about or saw on television or in the movies - her focus shifted to well- known Christian women. She would read about their lives and long to be just like them. Once again, she imagined herself to be something other than what she was - trying to pattern her life after theirs. It became a substitute for spending time nurturing her relationship with the Lord.

Somewhere along the way, the emptiness of pretending to be something she was not became too much to bear. She finally began to understand that she was special in the most important way that mattered. She was special to the Father. And not only special - but uniquely created by His own design. She began to feel more comfortable in her own skin - to live in the reality of who He had created her to be.

I am a grandmother now, and the days of pretending I am someone else have slipped away. However, there is, I have found, still that temptation to look at the lives of others and long to be just like them. It subtly creeps in when I read blogs written by women whom I cannot help but admire. There is a longing to be more, to be better, to do better - to be like them.

Once again the Father gently reminds me that He likes me just fine the way I am. Certainly there are things to work on - and that longing is good as long as it is not born out of a need to be just like someone else or to gain the approval of others. When I long to be more like Him, to be fully all He intended me to be, He draws me to Himself and says, "Yes."

linking to Emily's imperfect prose

Blessings,
Linda

P.S. This was a difficult one to write, but I couldn't seem to get away from it.

15 comments:

S. Etole said...

You are so wonderfully you ... thank you for sharing your heart.

Eyvonne said...

Linda,

I think this tendency is so much stronger in women. I don't know why we're always comparing and trying to measure up. The fact is, we're none good enough, and that's why there's grace.

And that grace is what we must rest in or we can never find His peace.

Thank you so much for sharing your story.

L.L. Barkat said...

I liked this. The looking back. The coming 'round. It satisfied.

Nancy said...

I never would have thought that from your writing. I've always been the one admiring you, your faith, and your ability to express yourself through writing, sharing God's love each step of the way. Thanks for sharing.

Glynn said...

It sounded like you from the beginning. We all have this desire to be something we're not -- as if the "something" will mean we're better. But God accepts us right where we are. Good post, Linda.

Andrea said...

Hugs,
andrea

Jennifer @ Getting Down With Jesus said...

I'm so glad you wrote this, Linda. I'm so glad you couldn't get away from the story, so glad it held you until you tapped out the words.

Even more, I'm so glad God made you ... *you*! You are a work of art, a signature design of the Master!

emily wierenga said...

oh linda, i'm so, so glad you wrote it. linda, there is so much i wish to say--sometimes these comment boxes don't cut it. but you are so lovely. so perfectly beautiful and ... perfectly you. i've never met you in real life, but you've changed my life. because of who you are. don't doubt this. i love you.

allie said...

Wonderful post, Linda.
I can certainly relate as your other readers do.
There seems to be a universal longing in Christ-followers to be better than we are.
Do you think its possible that its not always a comparison thing - that maybe its the "upward call" that Paul speaks of?

A kind of "holy discontent" whose purpose is to fan our desire to seek Christ the more fervently?

allie said...

Oh - and Linda, thanks for visiting my spot. Just between you and me, the jazz evening (and others I hope will be forthcoming) has an agenda besides the obvious.

We are mixing Christ-following jazz fans with fans who range from atheists to whatever - and will watch to see what God will do with the mix.
Hence my great sense of anticipation.

If it comes up in you while you are praying, please pray that He will find softening hearts there!

Heather said...

You know, Linda... one of the things I just love about your writing is that, while it clearly represents something tender & special & real in your life, it *ministers* and applies and speaks so clearly to so. many. more. We certainly don't walk this road alone, do we??

Please know that your words, your stories, your passions, your heart bless me every single time. Thank you for being so real!

Dawn said...

I love this. I have never been shy, though some would probably wish I was more so. But I certainly have wished I could be more like some others - I even have that problem today with wishing I could write like you do! So beautiful.

alittlebitograce said...

mmm...me too.

Ramblings by Carol Nuckols said...

The advertising and entertainment industries encourage girls and women, especially, to long to be somebody else, with unrealistic or unattainable qualities. It takes clarity and strength to figure out exactly who you are and to be that person. Good for you.

deb said...

LInda~~ you rock , you know that. I'm touched that you shared with us. Trusted us with your you.

Isn't it exciting to be blooming a little late? I don't take it for granted for one minute this new. I hope you enjoy every one of yours. And hugs to the one who felt less than before.