story-1
Have you ever wondered who you are? Have you ever found yourself pondering your purpose and where you fit in, have you watched others walk with direction and confidence whilst you question what part you have to play?

Have you considered how good it would be if life were like a play or a movie? Everyone cast in their ideal role, confidently delivering faultless lines and perfectly portraying every aspect of their character. Confusion eliminated. Do you wonder if people around you actually know what they are doing, or are they too just making their way in the world as best they can?

I’ve often thought about our place on the planet. Why I was born in Canada to the family I am part of. Why I have been afforded so many privileges and opportunities that others have not. Why I have always had meals on the table and a roof over my head. Why I was created with this innate desire to see people conquer giants, to live strong, healthy, confident lives. So many questions, so few answers! Life’s script describing the beginning, the tragedy, the climax and, if you’re anything like me, the happy ending of the romantic comedy, hasn’t been written yet – or if it has, we don’t get to read it ahead of time.

As I reflect on the big questions of life, I do believe that the story of you, me and everyone else on this planet has been written. I believe that there is a unique path, dream or calling for each one of us. I believe that as we were knit together, as we were dreamed up, that God himself had a plan that was uniquely ours. I believe that, like our finger-prints, there is a specific plan for each one of us to live out. Some are creators, some are dreamers or trailblazers, some are nurturers and others, like seamstresses who can stitch things together to bring beauty from ashes. There are so many spaces that we can occupy and it’s vital that each one of us embraces the YOU within and celebrates who we were created to be.

Discovering this is a beautiful journey. Challenging, confronting, emotionally draining and scary but also overwhelmingly astonishing. The road to understanding our beauty, our strength and the truth of who we are as children of God – planned, purposed and chosen for such a time as this. When we choose to walk in this space of discovery, freedom awaits. Freedom comes when we are brave enough to push through the tough moments and this freedom allows us to walk in the fullness of who we were created to be and in this space we bravely and fearlessly discover and embrace ‘The Story of You’ which begins to come to life. Through this, not only do we experience freedom but we unintentionally give others the opportunity to walk in the refreshing rain of a life that is free.

I recently read a story that caused me to stand up and applaud a girl I’ve never met. It comes from a social experiment on Facebook started by Gweneth Bateman. Gweneth had a problem that many experience online. If a boy messaged her with a compliment on Twitter, Tinder or elsewhere, and she didn’t answer, they’d criticise her for not replying. The 18-year-old said that most of the boys who criticised her felt they were owed a response and that she should be grateful for the compliment. Follow this link to read what happened when Gweneth decided to accept and own the compliments.

This experiment truly shows the need for all of us to walk in the fullness of who we were created to be. To celebrate each other and to bask in the truth of the ‘Story of You’.

Like Gweneth, I too choose to accept compliments by agreeing with rather than pushing aside the comment or walking in false humility. Yes, I have been criticised and told that I am proud or countless other ridiculous things. I choose to respond with a gentle: “Thank you, I know, I love that about myself too,” or “Thank you for noticing, I really like that about myself as well.” There are myriad responses that are filled with gratitude but also acknowledge something good or great about who God has created us to be. In reality, whoever is complimenting is noticing something God placed within me that I have chosen to recognise because I have braved the journey down the road of discovery and I now find myself living in a space of gratitude for who He created me to be – flaws and all.

Through the years, as I have considered the conversation of Identity (The Story of You) and how in and through this Identity message the truth of love for one another is found. I have come to understand that in order for me to truly love my neighbour, the way it was intended, I first need to love myself. I need to embrace the story of me and you need to embrace the story of you. Whoever you are, wherever you are, the world needs you to take your place.

So, from one girl who understands her worth and value to another, well done Gweneth Bateman!! Keep going, keep giving yourself permission to shine because, in turn, you will give others permission to do the same. In the words of Taylor Swift, from her song ‘Ours – People throw rocks at things that shine’.

Finally, allow me to remind you of that amazing quote from Marianne Williamson’s book Return to Love.

“… Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

So, be brave, be fearless and go on a journey and allow yourself to discover who you are. Let the world see, hear and love ‘The Story of You’.