I Hope You Dance

One of the things I like least about myself is that I’m loud. I don’t mean to be, maybe I need my hearing checked? But anyway, I laugh loud and (sometimes, when I forget myself) I talk loud. I worry that I interrupt when I get excited about a topic, and perhaps sometimes I say more than I should. I share exactly what is on my mind and on my heart and I always forget to keep my cards close to my chest. I just can’t operate that way.

I know, I know — we all have things about ourselves that we just don’t like — I don’t think that’s necessarily bad. Being self-aware is good, right? Walking around oblivious to the fact that we might possibly have any flaws at all is… well, I’m sure there’s some clinical term for that.

And then there’s that difference between accepting who God made us to be without allowing those character traits to be an excuse to hurt others. It’s one thing to wish you hadn’t been so talkative, for example. It’s another to use your talkative nature as an excuse to dish the dirt on every little situation swirling in your brain (and trust me when I say I have been guilty of both).

Learning to love myself, who God made me to be, is an important part of personal growth. The older I get, the more I appreciate the fact that just because I admire a personality trait in a good friend, it doesn’t mean I’m supposed to transform myself into that person. I share about this a lot when I speak at conferences and retreats, but I don’t know that I’ve written too much about it here. One of the most freeing things God has done for me is to help me learn to love myself — who He made me to be — because that in turn really helps me love others. When I am acutely aware of God’s love for ME, how can I hold back in my kindness?

And then I watch my daughter, who is still so little. And I watch my boys too. I look at them, who God made them to be, and I am overcome with gratitude. We are all fearfully and wonderfully made — and while I know there are things about my kids that need to be tweaked and refined, I would never want them to change who God made them to be.

Realizing that about them helps me embrace it a little more in my own life.

Comments

  1. This is my absolute favorite post you’ve ever written. (Because I could have written it myself if I had the writing talent you do!) I constantly feel like I’m walking a fine line between being myself, forcing myself to hold back, or not holding back enough and really turning people off. I’ve been called opinionated, assertive, and a host of other things. Sometimes I purposely go into meetings or gatherings with the mentality that I’m going to keep my mouth shut and just listen – no matter if I think I have the perfect solution to the problem or a funny story to share relating to the topic of conversation. Other days I go in just being myself, and I usually leave feeling like I talked too much. The funny thing is, when I tell some people about this aspect of my personality, they are in disbelief because they have always considered me quiet – I am petite, and my physical voice isn’t that loud, but I sure don’t lack in the amount of words that come out of my mouth. It’s a hard balance, one I’m still working on. Thank you for making me feel less alone in this battle and reminding me that this is how God made me – as long as I use it for good!

  2. Rachel,

    from one loud, boisterous Southern momma to another …. I love what you write here. I look at Our Blessed Mother, and think, “Sheesh. There’s no way I can be like her. She’s quiet, calm, serene, patient …… all the things that I’m so NOT.”

    Thank you for reminding us to EMBRACE the gifts God has given us, in our personality traits — who knows how many people we have positively affected with laughter heard across the room.

  3. Aunt Catherine says

    That’s awesome (the photos!).

  4. Love this, Rachel. And love that mommy-daughter comparison down at the bottom! What a beautiful gift to realize that even though we might wish we were different sometimes, no one who truly loves us ever would.

  5. SPEAK UP DEAR I MISSED WHAT YOU SAID WHILE I WAS TALKING OVER YOU.

  6. I agree with Marie that this is possibly my favorite post you have ever written. I actually got tears in my eyes because it resonated so much with me. At 41, I still struggle with loving myself despite intellectually understanding that God loves me and that my friends and family love me. Often I focus on my flaws, and it can be hard to get the negative self talk out of my head. Like you, I can be loud–I laugh loud, I talk loud, and I also talk a lot. Every time I got to a social event, I tell myself that I will let others talk and listen. But then in the midst of the fun, I forget myself and end up dominating the conversation! Just this past weekend, I went to a wedding where I was one of the main people at the table talking (but I forgave myself of that because there were a lot of quiet people at the table).

    It is hard to love myself at times, but I am trying to get better at it. It’s funny because there are so many good things that happen to me because of my good traits–and I have so many blessings in my life because of who I am and the good things I have done–yet I tend to focus on my flaws. And therein lies the problem–focusing on the negative. We are all fearfully and wonderfully made in the image of God, but oh is that hard to remember sometimes.