Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Who do you protect? Who do you project?

Was thinking about this the other day...about the inside me and the outside me. How over the years I've gone through stages where the inner me was quite different from the outer me. The one inside who I protected, hid away from me, was so different from the outside me, the one I presented to the world, that the two probably wouldn't have even recognized each other had they met on the street! Especially during teenage years, when I wanted to be accepted by my peers, when I put on makeup and tried to wear the "right " clothes, and then again when I was starting my teaching career, and wore what I thought a "Real Teacher" would wear, read what I thought Real Teachers wore, and talked about what I thought Real Teachers talked about. And it even went beyond that: I kept the real, deep, secret parts of me hidden (things I did wrong, everything about me I considered was sub-standard, not good enough, was ugly) because I wanted to be a Real Person.

Throughout my life, through people I had met, and their actions against me, things people had said and done, had me convinced, that I was not good, that I was a nobody. I therefore concluded I was not a Real Person... on the inside. But on the outside, I did everything I could think of to BE a Real Person, even though I wasn't. I tried to wear makeup, I tried to say the right things, I tried to be there for everyone, I was intelligent and well-read. But inside, I hid my shyness and fears and rejected side. My self-esteem was rock-bottom sometimes. But that is not what I projected. On the outside, I was a popular teacher that all the students loved. Parents requested that their children be put in my class. In fact, my class was a blast, where hurting children were loved and healed. By the outside me. The inside me though, stayed hidden.

The one I protected, and the one I projected, were so far apart. And, I figured, never the two sides shall meet. And that was fine.by.me.
And then.
It started causing me too many problems. I realized that while it may not be hurting others, it was hurting .... ME. And even hurting God.
God created me. He created me for a reason. With a purpose. He created me inside and out.
God searches me and even knows my heart. He knows everything I am ever going to think or say. And God loves the truth, because he IS Truth. He didn't create me to be a false person. He created me to be ME. He created my personality. He didn't create me to put on an act or a show.

It was last year when I started realizing that, when I wanted to correct that disparity between the inside me and the outside me, that things actually started to come closer together. The one I protected and the one I projected started to become one.

First, I started by becoming more concerned about what God thinks of me than what people think of me. And by the way, God thinks I'm wonderful (Psalm 139:14), He thinks I'm precious, and I'm the apple of His eye. People are fickle--their opinions, sadly, can change in the blink of an eye, as I've witnessed too many times to count. But God is not a man that He should lie. God will never change. He is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. (Those are all in the Bible too, though I lack the Scripture references right now.) He will ALWAYS think I'm wonderful, no matter what. That's something pretty cool. Even if I screw up royally (which I sometimes do), its good to know that God loves me unconditionally and without reproach. He will ALWAYS lovingly accept me back into His huge, comforting arms.

Second, I started making my insides match my outsides. I got my thought life turned around. Books and tapes by Joyce Meyer and Beth Moore helped a LOT, like Battlefield of the Mind & Me and My Big Mouth by Joyce, and Get Yourself Out of That Pit by Beth totally turned my world around. I started reading Proverbs, which has little nuggets of wisdom on how to live a better life. I will only touch on this briefly & will make another post about it-- but I realized the Bible is filled with promises God makes, that basically say, "If you will do X, I will do Y for you". So I started doing X's, and God started doing Y's.... and WOW it works!! You can always count on God to come through for you. You will NEVER be disappointed if you count on God. He is not like people. Thank goodness, because at the beginning of 2008 I had had enough with people.

Third, (thirdly? I never taught anything past 2nd grade even when I subbed... my grammar can be really lousy, sorry)... Third/ly, I have made it one of my goals to make the inside me and the outside me not just know one another, but to be best friends ;) . How? I got rid of some things. Something didn't match up to the Real Me (the me God wants me to be, not that fake Real Person I thought I had to be to be accepted).... then I dropped it...or am in the process of dropping it. Some clothes got given away. Some websites I used to visit frequently...don't go there anymore, because they have lots of negative/ gossipy people... people I used to want SO badly to be "friends" with...now I realize, those people were NOT my friends. I pick and choose my friends more carefully now. Got rid of a bunch of books and magazines on subjects that I no longer need in my house. Gave some things away. Stuff like that. I pick and choose NEW things more carefully--I ask myself-- is this something that is going to edify my life? Will this build me or or tear me down? Is this life affirming? Anyway, I think you get the point.

By the way, everything I said that God thinks of ME, He thinks of YOU, too.
So who do you protect? Who do you project? How far apart are your inside and outside? How can you bring them closer together?

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