Being in a church of such diversity can be tough. I remember the first few times of being in various classes, I was the most uncomfortable person in the world and I couldn’t wait to leave. I could never put my finger on it as to why. It wouldn’t be long, after building a couple relationships those friends coming to me and saying, “when I met you, I didn’t think you liked me at all and was a so intimidated by you because you didn’t say much of anything and was distant, but now that I know you, I couldn’t have been more wrong!” This COMPLETELY shocked me, even bothered me to the point it sent me to my prayer closet seeking answers. You see, we can easily think we are projecting a certain persona that we’re comfortable with, it’s called,” exposed brick” in the decorating world. Insecurities, pride, unresolved hurts, agendas, motives and out of season ambitions are just a few of the bricks used to build the walls of DIY persona. We then, display on the outside of those brick walls the perfectly posed selfies of what we WANT people to see, while the parts we aren’t comfortable exposing remain behind. I NEVER wanted people to think those things about me, but then again, I’ve never felt I could be myself around anyone but my family. How completely unflattering, unintentional, and unlike Christ, I thought.
Fast forward to dial it up. I began teaching this class every other week a couple months ago. Much to my surprise, the serious, stoic, biblically studious part of me all but disappeared that hour and I never felt more vulnerable and naked before a group in all my life, I was mortified!! It was like this other girl emerged out of this quiet, nerdy, bookworm and began teaching the Bible improv style with comedic overtones and all based on my own ugly, messed up experiences. After that first night I drove home nearly in tears saying, GOD, YOU SERIOUSLY DID NOT JUST DO THAT TO ME ON PURPOSE!!!!! Although, the LADIES seemed to enjoy it, but to me, I was saying stuff not written down, not premeditated, not studied and it was all based on my messed up, mistake filled experiences that I had no intention of sharing. I didn’t even recognize the woman that emerged that evening and hoped she went back to wherever it was she came from!!!
Little did I know, God was stripping me of my protective layers I had always called, “Tammy” aka security. After that night relationships quickly began to build and the relationships that had been built with those who were my proverbial “birds of a feather”, meaning they too were/are covered in layers of who they think they should be, aspire to be or how they want people to see them, began to fall by the wayside. My eyes were clearly opened and I swear I felt like I had spiritually lost 1,000lbs. I thought I pretty much knew myself , but this part that I carried hindered me from what Christ had for me. While all that night I reeled from the shock of so much of myself being put out there and not really knowing how to respond to the new person that emerged in that first class, I simply prayed and opened my Bible to the story of Lazarus. When he died and was raised, Jesus said, remove the grave clothes. That was me. Since that first dial it up class, I’ve never felt so free with such a new found confidence in who I truly am and so ready for the next steps. No longer am I held captive by the labels, titles, expectations and personas of how I should be according to others expectations. Being “just me” I’ve found is exceptional because I am made in the image of God. Fearfully and wonderfully made that is. I don’t have to be what others think. MY personality is perfect in His sight and my character is changed to be more like His everyday. Lastly, touching others with the heart and love of Jesus is all that’s needed to be the Me, approved by Him. 😊