40 years old – how I grew into being myself
This week I turned 40 – and I was thinking about sharing something meaningful with you about my own life.This is a beautiful season of life for me. Not because I have it all together, nor because I understand it all. I haven’t figured out how to be perfect or how to do no mistakes.
In this article I want to share with you some truths about the fact how amazing you are. How uniquely you have been designed.
How the world needs you, not a copy of someone else you think it would be great to be.
The beautiful truth that there is absolutely nothing in your life that is beyond God’s redemption.
The reality that we cannot truly live for God or transform our societies if we hate what we see in the mirror.
The importance of coming out of a mindset filled with “did-I, should-have, could-have, would-have”… in order to enter into a mindset of hope, of the endless possibilities and attitudes you can choose as new opportunities.
In her book “the perfect you” Part one, sub chapter “The Power of Choice, Caroline Leaf says that,
to understand who you are made to be, “(…) will take you from missing the mark of being made in God’s image to stepping into who you truly are. In this way, you will move from trauma to freedom, from pain to peace, from indecision to action, from confusion to clarity, from envy to celebration, from frustration to anticipation, from being overwhelmed to being set free, from fear to courage, from suppressing issues to having the courage to face them, from numbing thoughts to capturing them, from passivity to passion and from hopelessness to hope. It will help you understand what you are stewarding and how to remain a good steward of your life, no matter what comes your way.(…)”
This is what I have experienced up to this point in life.
And I was so scared to discover who I really am – for fear that it would not be enough. For fear that if people really would know me – they would realize that I am not lovable.
I was filled with the feeling of failure, shame, insecurities, the pain of not being anybody, scared to love and be loved. I felt like being inside a prison, unable to come out and become free of all these feelings and realities of mine, which I have described above.
Some people asked me: How did you do that? What is your secret?
Well, I will try to mention two points that helped me tremendously along the way. However, the most prevailing part is the grace of God.
The meaning of Jeanne is “God is gracious” and He indeed is.
- There was this mother of three girls I had as neighbors while living in my first apartment – She explained me what size of bra would better fit me than the old one I was wearing.
- There was my boss from the apprenticeship that was holding on to me, even though I surely wasn’t any help for his family business.
- There was this working colleague, teaching me to drive in order that I could have my driving license without too much of money investment.
- There was this big-hearted lady, who taught me about the grace of God and prayed over my life countless times, listening to my heart and leading me into another reality.
- There was this pastor couple that showered me with love and sweetness, acceptance and admiration when I needed it most
- There were those people I wronged through my immature behavior, who were more than ready to forgive me when I realized it and asked them for forgiveness
But all this grace and patience people showed me would most certainly not have had the same impact in my life if I wouldn’t have had
- An upright and sincere heart
I never wanted to wrong anybody. I wanted to grow. I wanted to understand. I wanted to do it right. I wanted to please God, follow his ways. I always begged him to show me his will, despite my inner turmoil, fears, hurts and insecurities that influenced my life. I wanted to know. I wanted to see the truth. And I know that God honored this heart in a great way and he still does.
- A hope and a vision
Somehow I knew deep inside that my life was not meant to finish without a purpose, without identity, without me being fruitful, without me being a blessing to the world around me. I looked at my own life, faced my reality, knowing that somewhere hidden behind all this fear, struggle, pain and insecurities – was the real me. That there was, somewhere, a truth to be found, a reality to discover. This truth and reality about who God truly is, who I am meant to be in him.
- I wanted to discover this, I didn’t want to stay the way I was.
- I wanted to become free to be myself.
- I wanted to be “normal”, free from the labels of ADD, free from medication against epilepsy.
- I wanted to overcome my shyness and my pretty severe stuttering. And –
- I wanted to become someone who is able to reach out to people like me.
A few weeks back I was talking to a close friend of mine on the phone. We were talking about some moments in our childhood, during our teenager years. She exclaimed:
“I love the Jeanne were then! You always carried this same essence of who you are in you – it is the same essence I can see in you today!”
This touched me deeply, and I realized that this was true.
During this whole process, God didn’t “change” me. He didn’t transform me into someone else.
After all these years of struggling, fighting, crying and failing, being scared to discover the real me, trying to be different – I wasn’t “metamorphosed”, “converted” or “transformed” into someone different.
The reality I experience today is not about that.
It is about becoming who I am meant to be. Free to be myself.
Happy and grateful to see who God made me to be. Happy and grateful to discover my unique gifts, my unique way of seeing the world. This special combination of what makes “me”.
I’m not at this place in my life, because I made countless IQ tests, personality tests – nor because I got many diplomas, or because I achieved something in a career, ministry or fame.
No. I am here because God made me free to be myself.
Because I learn to always more live my life out of my unique blueprint, out of my own DNA.
Many of the fears, insecurities, pains and hurts are not part of me anymore and therefore, I can enter into this beautiful, amazing freedom to celebrate God, to love him for who he is – and for who he made me to be.
That, in turn, leads me to want to truly know my kids, my husband and the people around me. I am ready to celebrate and enjoy them for their unique, individual blueprint, ready to give everything I know, to help them discover their unique DNA.
Now – the same truth applies to you. You are unique. You are wonderfully made.
Psalm 139.14 I will give thanks and praise to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, And my soul knows it very well.
Nobody thinks exactly like you, feels the same way about things you feel, perceives things the way you perceive them. Each of us is meant to bear his glory in our own unique way – we all have a beautiful way of stewarding eternity.
Ecc 3.11 He has made everything beautiful and appropriate in its time. He has also planted eternity [a sense of divine purpose] in the human heart [a mysterious longing which nothing under the sun can satisfy, except God…)
Who you are is fundamentally good, you are no mistake and your personality is awesome.
Gen.1.31 And God saw everything that He had made, and behold, it was very good (suitable, pleasant) and He approved it completely.