“Argue for your limitations and you get to keep them.”
– Unknown (Gem courtesy of Koki Oyuke)
It’s a tragedy when women are diminished.
But it’s especially heartbreaking when women diminish themselves.
Our biggest enemy as women is not the world.
It’s not the devil.
It’s not the errant corners of the Body of Christ.
It’s not even our fellow women.
I have had the unfortunate experience of watching women do such a thorough job of talking themselves out of their own abilities and opportunities that nobody can tell them otherwise.
Some of us are married to the imposter syndrome. We have given it free room and board in our lives. Heck, we’ve moved out to the periphery of our lives so it can take center stage.
We’ve accepted it as a struggle we must have.
But is it really?
Doubt and confusion thrive where there is a lack of clarity.
In this case, uncertainty in so far as our identity goes.
Who are you?
Did your response to this question revolve around your relationship with others? Mother, wife, sister, daughter, friend…
Let’s try this again.
Who are you?
Before you are all these other things related to others, who are you?
What has your Heavenly Father put in your spiritual DNA?
Why am I laying this emphasis on identifying with God first before others?
Many of the crutches we carry as women are tied to one or several relationships we have with others. The reasons we give for why we can’t be/do something are often tied to someone/something we have related with in some way.
What that person said or did.
What they didn’t say or do.
How they didn’t love and care for you the way they should have or the way you wanted them to.
How you weren’t supported or encouraged.
What the situation was or wasn’t.
What the situation is or isn’t.
That time you tried really hard but still failed miserably.
But at some point we need to stop passing the blame to others.
We need to stop living in our past.
But camping in the past will never change the outcome that was.
The buck of your life stops with you. Even God limits Himself in what He can do in your life without your co-operation because you have free will.
They, whoever they are, are responsible for their actions or inactions. But you are still responsible for your life. It’s still your life. If you don’t like it, much less love it, why would you expect anyone else to? If you don’t encourage and support yourself, why do you expect others to do so? If you don’t believe in yourself, why do you want others to believe in you?
A powerful analogy was given recently during one of our church services by a great guy called Ithan. He described how we can be in a prison and God comes and opens the door. We see Him open the door but we make the choice to remain in the prison a little while longer. We’re comfortable in there. After all, since the door is open, we can walk out at any time we choose. But we never quite do.
Some of us are more comfortable in bondage than we are in freedom. Bondage is familiar and therefore “safe” in our view. Freedom is unchartered waters that we’re not quite sure what to do with. We’re repeatedly choosing the devil we know over the angel we don’t.
It’s harsh but true.
We’ve become so acquainted with the shoulda-coulda-wouldas that we don’t even know who we are without them.
See, it’s easy to blame someone/something else for what isn’t turning out right in your life. It’s easy to hide behind “I can’t” when in reality you can but you don’t want to deal with the responsibility of that truth. Because when you take responsibility for your life, it means that you can’t pass off what isn’t working to someone/something else. You can’t run from that which is yours to be and do. You have to roll up your sleeves, put your big girl pants on and get things done.
Yet He is actually not far from each one of us, for “‘In Him we live and move and have our being’; as even some of your own poets have said, “‘For we are indeed His offspring.’
– Acts 17:27-28 ESV
When we enthrone the Lord in our lives – we allow Him to define everything we are and everything we’re not. We make peace with everything we are and everything we’re not. We let go of the past and move on so we can live in the present. The Spirit of God displaces everything that is not of Him in your mind, heart and will. We are free from external opinions and internal voices. The imposter syndrome and all its relatives have no place in our lives. We are free. No buts, ands, ors, ifs. No shoulda-coulda-wouldas. We are free period.
We walk out of the prison of I can’t and never look back.
I came across this challenge once. The idea was that every time you find yourself about to think or say you can’t be/do something, change that thought/speech to what you can be/do. Then go be it/get it done. Rinse repeat long enough for it to go beyond just being a habit to a lifestyle.
It makes you realize the surprising number of times you disqualify yourself. It also makes you realize just how much you are capable of if you actually try for a change instead of disqualifying yourself from the get go.
We need to stop being a disservice to ourselves.
We need to stop arguing for our limitations.
We need to awaken to the reality of who we are and Whose we are.
You are responsible for your awakening.
You are responsible for walking out of the open prison doors.
Not anyone or anything else.
The truth of your identity and freedom that comes with it can be given to you. But they’re of no use until you own them, embrace them and use them.
How about getting to know yourself through the eyes of God for a change instead of drowning in who you’re not?
How about loving yourself for a change?
How about believing in yourself for a change?
How about trying new things for a change?
How about walking with your head held high for a change?
How about being you – unashamedly, unapologetically?
Who you are matters.
Who you are is needed.
Who you are is who God made you to be.
That should give you pause.
The love and intentionality that went into making you, you.
Who are you?