One of the craziest realizations about life is that there is only one person out there you have no choice but to spend the rest of your life with. In other words, you have absolutely no say in whether or not you want to spend 24 hours a day, 7 days a week with this person. You have to. You can't block them. You can't divorce them. You can't drop them off in one state and then drive to another. This is a person you are forced to wake up to every day of your life.
If you guessed that this person was a spouse, you're incorrect.
It's not your friend.
It's not your family.
You're not even forced to live with God Himself.
Instead, it's the person I'm featuring on this month's blog.
The answer is you.
This month, I'm writing this post for you, to you, and about you—whoever you might be—because while it'd be much easier (and, probably a lot more fun) writing about people we just can't seem to connect with right off the bat, it's a whole other thing when you can't even connect with yourself.
You want to know why?
You have to go home with you.
Even if you tried to run, you'd be right there with you! You—with all of your quirks, your thoughts, your bad habits, your struggles, your weaknesses, your issues. They'd all still be there! And, half of those issues, you don't even know why you have them or how they got there (that is, if you're being honest with yourself). Which, of course, makes it much harder trying to figure out how to deal with them. But, if we don't deal with those issues now, we might jeopardize ourselves into living with them for the rest of our lives. But, how can we deal with them if we don't even understand why they're our issues to deal with? Wouldn't that make life a little harder for us if we're the ones we have to live with for the rest of our lives?
Considering this, I think it's safe to say that life is plenty miserable when you're you and you don't even know who you are. Because what happens then is that you begin to identify with your issues, and you put all of your worth into mistakes you've made, habits you've dipped back into, and believe the lies you repeat in your head over and over again. It's interesting how it happens, by the way. When we don't have a firm grip on who we are, we often believe the first worst thing about ourselves and then let it tell the story.
I'll be the first to admit that I've been here more times than I'd like. (This month in itself was a challenge!) If I wasn't putting my worth in my mistakes, I would put it in the hands of what people thought of me. And, when I thought I had matured from that, I began putting my worth into the dream I felt God was calling me to. From that point, I never let anyone challenge me about where I put my self-worth because I thought identifying myself with what I desired to do was innocent.
I thought: PSSH! I know me! I'm a writer—always wanted to be and always will be. Point. Blank. Period.
But then—whether or not this was the Holy Spirit—a question I wouldn't think to ask myself crossed my mind while I was driving:
Do you know who you are outside of what you want to do?
Can I be honest with you?
Um, of course, I know who I am! I tried to reel myself in. I'm a writer! I'm...I...
I don't know!
More questions began to form:
Do you know who you are outside of what people perceive you as?
Do you know who you are outside of the world you grew up in?
Do you know who you are in Christ?
That's where I drew the line.
I know that in Christ, I am forgiven, I am set free, I am His. But, being the over-thinker I am, I didn't stop there. I know who I am in Christ, and the saints would argue that that's enough, and that's true. But, I've realized that I'm not insecure about who I am in Christ. What I am unsure about is who I am in the practical sense—Ayana Symone on a daily basis.
That's when worry began to set in:
Who am I!?
Am I introverted? Or, do I only appear to be that way? Am I really shy at heart? Or, am I only shy to excuse myself from joining in on conversation to avoid saying something stupid? When I'm with my girls, I laugh loud and don't stop talking. When I'm with another group people I love, I clam up and stutter on every other word. Why is that? What does that say of me? Am I two different people? I know I'm not to identify with these things, but why do I do the things that I do, and how do they relate to the make up of my person?
Yes, I understand it is completely un-fabulous to have an identity crisis right here on the blog. (I hope I'm not making you uncomfortable...yikes.) But, something tells me I'm not the only one asking these hard questions...
Who can explain why we deal with the things that we deal with? What does all of it say about us?
It's important I make this very clear at this point of the blog: What I'm not saying—and never will say—is that we are our issues. That's not true. In fact, that's one of the most infamous lies from the enemy. You are not what you deal with! But, it does make it a little frustrating when you've got no choice but to be with you 24/7 and have so many issues you don't even know how you ended up dealing with them to begin with. If you're dealing with someone else's issues, you've got an easier way out. You can excuse yourself from the table, block them on social media (can I get an amen?!), put on your headphones, and let them deal with what they deal with without it having to be any problem of yours. But, there is no music loud enough to block out the issues you're facing, which makes it easier to examine ourselves through the lens of our issues instead of the gift of His grace.
Let me clarify:
I'm talking about the grace offered through Jesus Christ!
Enough about us now.
Let's talk about Jesus!
Because, you know what?
You don't even know you the way Jesus knows you.
We get all shocked and surprised when we step out of line and do things we wouldn't normally do. Jesus, on the other hand? He knew you had that in you all along!
Take Peter, Jesus' disciple, for example. This man swore up and down that he was ready to die for Jesus if he had to, and in that same night, he denied Jesus three times!
Did that catch Jesus off guard? No! Jesus told Peter Himself that He knew he would deny Him three times. He knew Peter would do that all along!
When Judas, another one of Jesus' disciples, betrayed Jesus for the exchange of thirty pieces of silver, do you think Jesus sat around wondering what could've happened to the Judas who committed three years of his life to following Him? Not even a little bit! Jesus knew Judas' story from the jump!
So, don't think Jesus acts any different with you when you do things you can't believe you did.
But, in the mess of every question asked and in your uncertainty of who you are, what I really want you to know is this:
God knows every single detail about every single part of you.
He knows the real reason why you act the way you do, even if you don't.
He knows why you snapped out of anger the way that you did, even though it's something you don't do often.
He knows why you feel anxious when there's really nothing to be anxious about.
He knows why you suddenly get so shy, even around people you love and love you back.
He knows you'd rather hear words of affirmation than receive gifts because He knows your love language.
He knows the real reason why you feel so intimidated, even if what you're doing is the simplest task.
He knows why you get nervous at events you've been looking forward to for weeks.
He knows your triggers and why they disturb you.
He knows why you feel like you're in the same depression pit He pulled you out of before, even if you don't know how you got back there again.
He knows why you fell into sin even after a long streak of self-discipline, and He knew you were going to.
He knows the reason why you get frustrated so easily—something you never fully understood about yourself.
He knows why you hold back when you don't to.
He knows exactly why you struggle with what you struggle with.
He knows all the things you'd rather Him not know.
He knows you—even the "you" you're ashamed to admit you are.
And, knowing every detail, with all the information He has about you as God, the only thing He found appropriate to do was to die the most humiliating death not just to prove how much He loved the best version of you, but to demonstrate how much He loves all of you—the good, the bad, and the ugly.
Reader, I want you to know that you were fearfully and wonderfully made by Creator God. Everything about you that is a mystery, He already knows about it good and well. (Believe me—He knew your enneagram number long before you took the test!) So, even if you can't understand yourself—with all of your peculiar traits—know that you are understood by The One who made you, and He is more than willing to show you you—all of you, every part of you—through the lens of His perfect love.