I knew that when I began this process of choosing real over perfect that I would have to face some of my own demons. What I wasn't prepared for was other people's demons. I didn't realize that by becoming my real self it would make other people uncomfortable and thus treat me differently (and force me to have difficult conversations). The fact that I didn't realize this or even consider it as a possibility is probably because I've never truly let myself be myself.
I'm awkward and random. My personality is a dichotomy. I secretly refer to myself as the "extroverted introvert." I relate to too many different perspectives and can totally be persuaded to change my mind if given enough facts one day and enough emotion the next. I'm creative and administrative. I like organization and beautiful mess. I think outside the box and also about the fine print written inside the box. I covet being alone more than anything but also feel the most alive in a crowd of people. I want to be the center of attention and then I want to hide away in a cabin located beyond the outskirts of nowhere for around a month (6 weeks tops). I'm sarcastic and incredibly serious. I've presented to a crowd of hundreds without breaking a sweat but have an anxiety attack when faced with ordering a pizza over the phone. Basically, I have always felt like a weird outcast that has no distinct personality. So, rather than reveal this "weirdness" I have kept it contained pretty well by mostly choosing the extroverted part of my personality to overcompensate for my insecurity. The result of this is the extreme "burnt out on life" feeling that I began with in October. And as many changes that I have made, as many eye-opening truths God has revealed to me over the last several months I haven't been able to shake my self-criticism.
I am one of those people that like constructive criticism better than compliments. I know what to do with feedback that requires me to make changes to myself, but positive feedback baffles me. What do you mean you think I handled that situation well? I did alright but next time it would be better if I... Oh, you think I made a wise decision? Thank you. I mean it worked in a pinch but if I had more time to think about it I would definitely choose to... Why yes that is a pretty creative idea I had, but I heard about something someone else is doing that is more creative and I think we could gain a lot by looking into that too. You get the picture? I'm truly not exhibiting false humility I just don't know how to take a compliment because I don't see what everyone else sees.
But. Not. Anymore. A combination of the timing of God, a readiness to be receptive, and the following verse from Romans 9:20 brought about a major change in my thought-processes:
"Who are you, a mere human being, to argue with God? Should the thing that was created say to the one who created it, 'Why have you made me like this?'"
Hold-up, wait a minute, call off the dogs, was this written specifically for ME?
I can't tell you how many times I have asked those exact words of God. How often I have laid awake at night and wondered if I had a real purpose in life. If I missed my calling somewhere. If I was just being too over-dramatic or high maintenance. If I was too "damaged" to be of any use to anyone. But, who am I to question God? After all, he is perfect in every way and I am not. He knows all of the past and the future and I do not. He intimately knows each person on this planet (which I cannot understand) and I know very few people intimately. So, I guess it is quite possible that he knew what he was doing when he created me.
About the same time I had this realization I was also referred to a personality test that provided some additional insight about myself. I discovered that I am an ENFJ (Extraverted iNtuitive Feeling Judging) personality type. I have never read anything that I relate to more than this personality type description. Here is a brief synopsis of what I learned:
ENFJs are considered the "Protagonist" because they can be charismatic and inspiring leaders.
ENFJs are extremely passionate and take a great deal of pride and joy in inspiring others to work together to improve themselves and the community.
ENFJs are global learners. They see the big picture. The ENFJs focus is expansive. Some can juggle an amazing number of responsibilities and projects simultaneously, which gives them tremendous entrepreneurial ability. But also puts them at risk for "burn out."
ENFJs do exhibit organization and decisiveness almost always in their relationships and interpersonal affairs but not always in their environment.
ENFJs have a tremendous capacity for reflecting on and analyzing their own feelings, but they can try to fix something in themselves that isn’t wrong.
A personality test may seem like a ridiculous way to change one's viewpoint about themselves but the realization that other people (around 2% of the human population to be exact) and I have similar characteristics was priceless. If you would like to take this personality test you can access it for free at www.humanmetrics.com. There is also additional information about the 16 different personality types at www.16personalities.com. If any of you are fellow ENFJs please holla at me in the comments below!
Someone, other than me, needed to read this. Please know that you are enough. You are special and unique and loved. You were created for a purpose. God delights in you. Even if you don't agree with this right now it doesn't change the truth of these words. Ephesians 2:10 says, "For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago." If you need to (like I do), write these words down and place them where you will see them and speak them over yourself until you believe it.
BTW, Happy Valentine's Day! Make sure to take time this holiday to not just love, appreciate and accept others but show yourself the same courtesy. XOXO