Late last week a Facebook friend made an observation. She noticed that the young women around her, while of no blood relation, looked the same. Not in features, she posted, but their hair, make-up, clothes, and accessories all appeared to be identical. Some blamed the media, some blamed parents, and I blamed those dreaded school uniforms. “I dislike uniforms; they don’t allow children to be individuals,” I posted.
This morning while going through the notes of the post I intended to write, I could not get that conversation out of my mind. For me, my sons’ school uniforms represented someone external setting the rules for me and my home. It represented being utterly stripped of creative expression. If you ever see any of my pictures from junior high and high school, you will know that I valued being an individual.
Like so many women I went into my marriage and got lost in my husband. His likes became my likes, his needs became my needs, and I ate what he ate. These are not bad things when a wife does not abandon her unique, personal needs, likes, and desires. After I married, I abandoned Friday Night Jazz at the High Museum for Saturday afternoon football games at Georgia Tech. I gave up eating salads for dinner almost every night for spaghetti, potatoes, and rice—all foods that he enjoyed. He didn’t make me do any of these things. But, overwhelmingly committed to being what he needed I lost myself in him. There was no room for anyone else, not even me.
Then, I became depressed. I had no clue as to who I was or what I liked. I was suffocating and I was doing it to myself.
During this time, I had not stop reading my bible but I had stopped applying the Word to my life. Being raised in the Church of God In Christ (COGIC), I was always aware of sexual sins. Now married, I had more of a superficial relationship with God. If I didn’t have a relationship with HIM, the one who created me, how could I know myself?
After repenting—I hate to admit that I’ve been wrong, even to Him, I made some changes. I started back applying the Word to my life, I enrolled in school to finish my degree, I started concentrating on honing my writing skills, and I found ways to tap into my creative side, the part that yearned for museum visits, independent films, books, music, and the arts. I even pulled out my old Franklin Covey planner to complete the worksheets to sharpen the saw. I realized that while my roles are an important part of who I am, they are not me. My roles are simply the way God uses my talents to make the world better for me and those around me.
That revelation made me aware of the time I’d wasted. I had to get pen to paper so that I could be me. I came up with my very own personal mission, vision, and purpose statements.
To be Christ-like in my comings and goings, causing no harm, being helpful and supportive while making a lasting contribution to my family, my community, my country, and my world.
To have my words, works, and thoughts inspire others to be better.
To serve God with all my heart so that my actions towards others will compel them to follow Christ.
Now that I know who I am, I can be me unapologetically because the very essence of me is rooted in Him. I am authentic, “fearfully and wonderfully made” even if I am a bit eccentric in the things I enjoy. I still watch football but I don’t feel like I have to do it. I’m happy, even joyful. That makes me better for my family.
Have you ever gotten lost in your mate? How’d you come out of it? Do you have a personal mission, vision, or purpose?