Trust me, I’ve tried. I did for the first 30 years of my life. Yet somehow I forgot that lesson recently and spent a couple of months being miserable, feeling stuck and not knowing what to do about it.
If you’ve read my other posts you know I’m evangelical and attend what would be considered an evangelical church (evangelical is NOT a dirty word though some try to make it so.) It’s a big church and fairly safe to say that not everyone there would (at least today) give me a big hug if they knew I was transgender. But it’s also safe to say that many would and wouldn’t care one way or the other. It’s a very small circle of friends that actually know my history, and that’s because they ARE friends that I even told them.
It has never been my intent to be a disruption at my church – I love it too much. There was an incident with one person and following that I didn’t know how to balance my desire for community at church and my desire to not upset that same community. So I backed away. I stopped serving in an area I loved and I bailed out of the weekly Bible study thinking that things would be better now that I eliminated the risk factors of getting too close to folks who might learn my history and not handle it well. As it turns out the only one not handling it well was me. I was miserable. In fact so miserable that I couldn’t even go to church most weeks, which only compounded my misery. I just couldn’t figure out how to go to church and NOT be who I am – outgoing, engaged and involved. And then I was suddenly overcome with knowledge of the obvious – I can’t NOT be who I am, no matter how hard I try. This is how I was made, how is trying to not be who I am going to make anything better? And just like that in that moment, I realized that I HAVE to be who I am because I can be no one else – and with that all the misery was gone. I’m getting back in the saddle at church and feel very good about it.
YOU can only be who you are. It seems so simple. It seems so obvious. God made you to be the awesome person you are. He’s not concerned with what you look like, he’s concerned with WHO you are: 1 Samuel 16:7 says “…For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”
I have a friend who is going to a funeral soon. Also there will be a man from a church she used to attend who treated her very poorly and she wasn’t looking forward to running into this person. My friend is a very strong woman today but let’s just say she had a rough childhood with men, and I could sense in her that the little girl in her who had been mistreated and was scared was trying to peek out because of the impending crossing of paths with this person. I simply reminded her of something she knows all too well, that she is a daughter of the King, that in Psalm 121 it says that He will keep her from all harm and will watch over her life. She was allowing herself, if only briefly, to become someone she is not, certainly not the person she is today.
Whenever we aren’t who God made us to be, then we’re not in the lane we should be in. We’re not on the path He has laid out for us, and we should not be surprised why things are “off” in our lives.