First Lady Michelle Obama wrote a book titled Becoming, and regardless, of how you feel about her, her politics, or anything else connected to her, can we all agree that it’s an incredible title for a book? I’ve heard countless preachers, storytellers, speakers, and just plain ol’ conversationalists use it as a term in ways we never used it before this title was birthed into our world. I am a fan of the title, and I really liked the book, but that aside, I have to say that lately, more than ever, I have been reflecting on who I’m becoming, and it’s sparked some drastic changes. I wonder if you’ve ever thought of who you’re becoming.
Shame is isolating.
Earlier this year, I had a thought. It almost made my mouth drop the first time I recognized it. It definitely made me get defensive, and I did everything in my power to shake it. However, it kept returning…over and over again. It made me feel ashamed. All I wanted to do was suppress it any way I could, but it kept rising to the top like a beach ball children try to force under water when playing in the pool during the summer. Only difference? This wasn’t fun, and I wasn’t playing. Thankfully, I was lead to read a book where the author narrated a scene in her life when she asked herself the exact same thing, and the question suddenly lost all power to make me feel shame any longer.
“Do you even like who you’re becoming?” That was it. That was the thought that made me begin to defend myself-to myself-and that was the thought that brought shame for more weeks than I’ve even cared to count.
You can see why, can’t you?
After a decade of living for the Lord and inviting Him into as many compartments and spaces of my heart and life as I knew how, it felt…shameful to ask myself if I like who I’m becoming. After having done so much to steward my time, my resources, and my knowledge well in my professional spheres of influence, it felt rude to ask myself if I like who I’m becoming. After having broken sooooo many (and I mean sooooo many) bad habits and toxic patterns I’d picked up in my youth and young adulthood, it felt disrespectful to ask myself if I like who I’m becoming. “What do you mean?” was my first impulse, my first reaction. “Of course I like who I’m becoming. I’m amazing!” (One thing I still stand by is celebrating yourself. Trust me, no one else is going to do it for you.) Still, the thought would not leave.
So, I finally leaned into it.
I began to do the deep, hard work and ask myself if I really did like who I’m becoming. “If you stay on this path, will you like yourself in ten years?” I wasn’t sure. What was undeniable was that I would have stuff, I would have made even more accomplishments, and more people would probably know my name-because I’m ambitious like that. The problem was that that didn’t bring me joy, peace, or even comfort. I’ve always lived more as a minimalist than a gatherer of stuff so that didn’t appeal to me. I’ve lived long enough to know that accomplishments, in and of themselves, are not satisfying, and, when I get back to the core of my introverted-give-me-a-book-and-I’m-good-all-day-for-days-on-end-self, I remember that I don’t care if people know my name. That’s just been something I’ve cultivated lately in this social media driven culture. Besides, nothing I do matters if people don’t walk away knowing the name of Jesus and the power it holds in their lives.
So, the verdict was still out. Until, I asked myself again. “If you stay on this path, will you like yourself in ten years?” Thinking of the pace of my life, I decided I wouldn’t. Thinking of the conflict in my marriage, I decided I wouldn’t. Thinking of the incredibly small amount of time I’d dedicated to people I truly cared about, I decided that I wouldn’t. Thinking of the things that had begun to motivate me, I decided that I wouldn’t.
And then there were the questions…
If you do become the mother to the children you and your husband have been praying for for years, do you have the emotional room to support them? If you truly do believe God is calling you to write that study, do you have the mental space to support it? If you continue to mentor others, does your schedule have the physical space to support them? If you look back on the memories you’ve made with your loved ones during this time, will you have any that are worth remembering-outside of work?
So, I’m setting new goals now.
My primary goal is to unbecome everything that is causing me to miss the moment. I’m finished looking to the future enjoyment I plan to have because I want to honor Jesus in every moment of every day. The behind-the-scenes-in-my-face moments that I’ve neglected for far too long stand out particularly loud. What does that look like? Peace. Joy. Discomfort. Frustration. But always peace.
Since then, I have laughed from my soul again. I’ve had conversations with my people that leave me floating on air thinking, ‘That’s one for the books.’ I’ve remembered how much I love to cook. I’ve found satisfaction in the Lover of My Soul, instead of the work that I’m doing for Him. I’ve stopped comparing myself and my growth to others. I’ve found the freedom to celebrate them for who they are and where they are all over again. It’s something the world attempted to strip away from me in the anxiety it introduced into my life, and I’m taking it back!
I have lived.
It has been uncomfortable, but, I know that in ten years, when I look back on this moment, I will be glad that I did.
I did the hard work of unbecoming.
How do I know?
Because I finally like the person I’m becoming. I mean really like her. I’m still hosting the conferences, writing the books, leading the org, and serving others. But I’m now doing it from a newfound place of freedom, ease, and enjoyment. I’m holding on to this with everything I’ve got because I’ve gotten back to the heart of who God created me to be, and it is good. May I invite you to do the same with me?
Name one thing that you loved about yourself when you were younger or one revolution you’ve made to get back to that one you feel called to be, deep in your soul. You never know how much encouragement it could be to us!