A year ago or so I read Bittersweet by Shauna Niequist. I love her writing. In my dreams, I write like her.
In one of her essays, Niequist writes about who she isn’t. We spend a lot of time figuring out who we are and who we want to be and how we want to live our lives. Part of that means knowing who we aren’t… knowing how we won’t spend our time. I have a LOT of dreams and desires about my life and the way I want to spend my time. It’s overwhelming. For about a year I’ve toyed with thinking through who I’m not.
And this is tricky.
I have two pieces of makeup in my makeup bag that I can not bring myself to throw out, because what about that special occasion?! What about when I might need that color I never wear? Reality is, that makeup bag has seen me through a bachelorette party, a wedding, and several hot date nights. The occasion isn’t coming. They aren’t me and I won’t put them on my face.
My list of who I’m not is still short. I can’t bring myself to give up on parts of life that might never fit because, well, maybe someday they will…. Like maybe I’ll pick up quilting some day. Or baking. Or… running marathons… Probably not, but they’re not on my list yet. My list is so far comprised of things I’ve tried over and over to be and do and they never work out. I’ll put them on my list and be free to let ’em go.
Here they are:
1. I am not a scrapbooker. I’ve started at least three different scrapbooking projects in my early to late adolescence. I bought the books, the paper, the stickers, the pens, and printed the photos. They all sit in boxes, two or three pages completed. I do document my life, our lives. But not through scrapbooking.
2. I am not a worship artist/musician. HA! This one is easy. But it didn’t use to be. When I was a kid I played piano and clarinet. I rocked the clarinet. For a long time, it was the only skill that I was measurably successful in. In everything else, I was average or less than. Not with the ole clarinet though! Anyway, because of some musical gifting and understanding, I figured obviously this meant I would be a guitar player. I tried on a few different occasions to learn guitar (one of them being when a very cute boy was teaching me) and it never stuck. I also have an atrocious voice. Music = out.
3. I don’t need a soundtrack. It’s true. My husband gets giddy when he receives an iTunes gift card. I let mine collect dust. I enjoy his music, and there have most definitely been times in my life when a song or artist has really spoken to me, but for the most part – I’ll never know what’s new or good unless someone shows me. I usually stick to what people love around me. And then I’ll probably like it and listen to it when I workout, but I’m perfectly content to sit in silence with a book or my computer. *note: I DO appreciate music. It’s just usually a second thought.
4. I am not a crafter. Unless I can finish it in one sitting and it serves a purpose OR I’m doing the craft with someone I love AND can finish in one sitting, then I’m not going to do it. This one is odd to me because I need crafty people in my life. Crafty, creative people are essential to my well-being. I love creating and need to be around people who create, but I am no crafter. Left to my own devices, I have a big project that takes a year to finish and takes unnecessary amounts of space in my home. I have made quilts and toy boxes that took a year to finish. One giant stressful year. I do plan to make these when my mom comes this weekend though – see? I know my boundaries.
That’s all right now. Lingering in my head are quilting, running, baking, cloth diapering, etc… but I’m not ready to let all of these go yet. Because that season or special occasion might come along (like more babies) and… well, you know. Besides, if I did all those things on that list – I’d be really cool. I admire people who do one or all of them. And pride and people pleasing is still part of who I am asking Jesus to redeem.
Here’s to letting go of who I’m not in order to create space for who He’s made me to be…
***Update: I should mention that most of my best friends are people who do things I am not. I thrive around people who do all the things on my not-me list. No clue why that is, but it’s true.