Jul 26, 2012

Who I Am Now and Then

I skipped out on the afternoon workshop (it's still summer!) and popped in a CD from my freshman year of college.  I was instantly transported back to my coming of age.  Every song flooded my mind with memories  and reminded me of so many of the feelings I had back then.  I was a year younger than my classmates, but I really did want to be "cool enough" to be liked and accepted.  It was a time where I wasn't really sure who I was or who I wanted to be.  I was certainly caught in the middle of growing up and shaping my character.  The excitement of new people and new experiences made me want to keep up with my friends.  As I found myself in the midst of difficult choices, I clearly remember asking myself, "Is this who I want to be?"  Most of the time my answer was no, so I would follow along with the crowd but not participate.  The other group of girls around me were quickly labeled the goody-two-shoes because they refused to even go to parties or do anything fun (insert sarcasm).  I knew I didn't want to be a part of that group, but I was quickly finding that I didn't really fit into any of my friend groups.  I could blend in with either group, but there were no other Johnnas.

My friend and I were just discussing this exact phenomenon last week... why is it that we suddenly change who we are based on who we are around?  Some days I feel like a chameleon because I am so easily able to befriend and emulate different types of people.  I can comfortably relate and carry on with co-workers who are the same age as my parents.  Just as easily, I can resort back to the same sweet little high school girl that is not at all that sweet as soon as I am around high school friends.  When I think back to recently spending time with high school friends, I can't believe I behaved like that!  Who am I?  Why do I digress back to a high schooler when I am so much more knowledgeable, spiritual, and grown up?  Am I really?

Nine years after that freshman year, I guess I am still trying to figure out who I am. I am a relatively happy and confident person.  That hasn't changed since I can remember.  The people and places have changed, but not how I feel when compared to the others around me.  Although I am surrounded by some truly wonderful and admirable people, I still look to others for their affirmations of my looks and my actions. 

My friend Ashley at Sipsey Valley said it best as she described how the Bible gives us instructions on guarding our hearts and minds from this battle.  Her post is filled with verses that address character and self-worth, but two of my favorite verses are

Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things (Philippians 4:8 NIV). 

Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight. (1 Peter 3:3-4)  

The second the CD switched to Martina McBride's I Have Been Blessed, I started crying because I am still working on being more than grateful--being content.  I am quick to forget that I am here with those who love me, among many other blessings.  I am so blessed with much more than I deserve, and I know I want to be a woman with the unfading beauty of a gentle and quite spirit.  I want to build a strong character that doesn't conform to fit those around me.  I realize that who I am now is still changing, and I am glad that I am not a finished work. 

1 comment:

  1. Johnna, this is wonderful! Thank you for being so transparent and sharing with us. You are beautiful!