Y’all!!! Sometimes pressure comes from the most random places – or maybe not THAT random because you see it coming – but still…
Ok, Ok. Let me not get carried away. So I’ve been listening to “Pressure” by Jonathan McReynolds a lot. When I say a lot, I mean A LOT (Thank you, Thandwa, for introducing me to him) … As in 3 times in a row, 5 times in a row, so many times in a row I am not even sure how many times I’ve listened to it in a row kind of a lot!!! As I was listening to it today, though, some words stood out more vividly this time around… The words say (some of them anyways):
“Pressure to be someone else that the WORLD has made”
“Pressure to be someone else that the CHURCH has made”
“Pressure to be someone that YOU did NOT create”
I had to pause for a second there, right now even, and read those three lines a couple of times!!! Woah!!!! I am so grateful that, in different seasons, words can say the same thing but mean so much more.
Say NO to social constructs
“Pressure to be someone else that the world has made”
So, to start off, no one is normal!! I am being for real. If someone doesn’t have some random (read weird) thing that is just a “them” thing, then I would be very afraid. You probably should be too. We are all perfect versions of ourselves, peculiar and made to thrive in that place.
How many times have you tried to “fine tune yourself” or turn you volume down because you are just “extra”? Had to laugh a little more lady-like because that is what society expects of you? Fold your legs? Dress some type of way because that is what the “cool kids” wear? How many times have you had to re-image yourself to fit into a system in which you were never meant to fit?
How’s about we #Makeweirdnormal? I know I have been in situations where I – without anyone saying anything really – have found myself trying to be “proper” to blend in. After all, don’t they say “when in Rome do as the Romans do”?
I think it is time to define ourselves though, yah? You and me, yah? Define you, your life, who you are!!! Don’t conform, TRANSFORM – cliche I know ( I am proud of that sentence though). Think, who may be inspired by you stepping out and being unapologetic for who you are? [I mean, you’ll probably never know who all you inspire but you – WE – might as well try and see what comes out of it].
Church, why you do me like that?
“Pressure to be someone else that the church has made”
Yeah, yeah, yeah. This does not just pertain to the church alone, though. It can be whatever place of gathering or worship that you ascribe to. Think about the circle of your Masters or PHD colleagues, in the workplace or anywhere where people gather in an attempt to “not conform to the standards of the world” mentally or spiritually. There are always expectations, a standard, that you are expected to live up to.
Coming back to the church aspect of things though… Regardless of what denomination (or lack thereof), “church culture” is a thing. I think, sometimes, we get so focused on this said culture that it almost seems as if the focus is more on whether or not individuals “fit into” this culture rather than whether or not they are growing in their relationship with the creator.
Don’t get me wrong, I think there is a lot to be said about church culture. My pastor sometimes says that the denomination he is in is just the lens through which he sees the creator most vividly in. That it is this lens that is clearer than any other lens, for him. However, without even trying to, church culture gets us to a place – sometimes – where we find ourselves trying twice as hard to adapt and become part of the culture compared to the main reason we are there – God. (Ok, I hope that is why you are there, if there are other reasons well, you do you! hahaha).
We create an image of ourselves with the question, “how do the church see me now?” in mind. We reinvent ourselves to fit in rather than allow the maker to polish us in the way he best sees fit. Think about it, my church-going people, how many times have you seen (or listened) to someone who goes to your church and thought “this one needs a little bit more Jesus” or “this one just started coming here they’ll change soon”. Who are you though?
Redefining your purpose
“Pressure to be someone you did not create”
If all was stripped, who are you? No, I am not talking about “hello I am a female engineer” or “hello I am a doctor”. Nah, none of that. We have been defined by factions within the social structure: gender, skin color, jobs, careers, where we’re from, what degrees we have. The list is endless. We have taken these identities on and wear them proudly, hiding behind a facade of titles and accomplishments.
I am going back to the drawing board!! I am there right now, learning to define myself as HE sees me. Defining who I am – without all the other things. I am creating a personal mission statement. It is an idea inspired by some who have created mission statements for their families. I have been asking me questions; who am I? What do I believe? How do I see the world? How do I want the world to see me? How about you join me and create your own!!!