For years I have fought within myself over who I am. Fought and thought over and over again about why can't I be more like everyone else. Why am I so different?
I love the Barbara Streisand quote from the movie, What's Up Doc?
She said, as the character Judy, "I'm going to try to be the same."
Steve asks, "The same as what?"
Her reply, "The same as everyone isn't different."
Whenever I have gotten into a disagreement with someone I used to take a step back and think, "What's wrong with me?" With my back round, hurts, fears etc. I always used to assume that it was my "filters", my issues, that have misunderstood the person. My old hurts have been tapped into and the person didn't mean it. I used to take all the blame, get down on myself and then somewhere along the way I would decide that I should just crawl under a rock, stay in my little home with my kids because I am no good for anyone. That was the old me.
Now I say, "I yam what I yam." Yes, I have flaws, old wounds, but the Lord has done such a good work in me I am not who I once was. I can now recognize someone else's old wounds and filters. I can now see that someone has said something of offense. I don't always need to confront it- I can move in forgiving them and myself.
Knowing who you are is freeing. I know I am a woman of integrity. I woman who does not lie. A woman who forgives. A woman who loves. I love God's people. I do. My heart always wants the best for people. Always wants to bless and see people flourish under God's goodness for them. That's me. Believe it or not- I 'yam what I 'yam.
I don't have 'agenda's' or plans for changing the world, or becoming rich and famous. I have hopes for following God's voice where ever He leads me. I have no aspirations of rising up some corporate or for that matter any kind of 'ladder' in this world-none. I have only the desire to obey God. That may sound so simple, even stupid to some and unbelievable to others, but it's true.
I was raised in New York-a place where people are always trying to get 'ahead', fighting their way to the top, competition runs wild, making sure people know that you are 'number one,' making lots of money etc. It's not for me. I've watched for years how New Yorkers fight with the cashier (lots of times me) over returning an item that they clearly damaged and wanting their full money back. People arguing about being next in line. The pushing and shoving on the subway to get a seat. It was never for me. I remember working in a Public School in New York and on the first day of school I received a note that told me that I was the head teacher for the grade. (There were eight second grade classes and I was the 'head' teacher over them. I was also given the talented and gifted class). Well, I was immediately not liked. It was assumed that I must have known someone to have gotten that position or that I 'fought' for it. Jealousies ran high that year. I tried to explain that I had nothing to do with it-that I didn't even ask for it and how I knew no one in the district, but no one believed me. It was soooo not for me. All I wanted was to teach- that was it. I didn't want to be 'head' anything. I'm simple-I just wanted to teach.
I know I have been given special gifts by God to use, but the worldly part of this world is not for me. Bringing the Good News to the world is what gets me going. I don't even have a desire to be a head of any ministry. Truly. I know so many of my church friends won't believe it, but it's true. I don't want to be the Director, Coordinator, etc. That's not a goal for me. My goal is to serve God. My goal is to obey Him. If He calls me to lead what can I do? Say no? There have been times I've wanted to say no. To tell God, "I can't lead -I have no idea how to." But the response is "Will you obey me Ellen?" And so there I am, leading a ministry that is too big for me, challenging me, making me cry. (My true hope has always been to be the assistant over things. To be the helper to the leader, but never to lead).
I am currently a leader of sorts, and it's been hard-again, but then God allows me to see I child come to know Christ. A family become members to our church. I get a hug from a child and get to see their excitement over coming to church and I say, that's what I'm about. All the other stuff-not for me. I could care less about my 'title' - I'd give it away in a heartbeat, but to serve God and obey Him-now that where it's at. Call me crazy, I yam what I yam.
Now I've been told that I am an "outspoken" person. Okay, I yam- I'll admit it. I'm also opinionated, hard working, and determined. Some might say, "A typical New Yorker." Okay, if that's all you choose to see me as I'm sad for you. I also have been told that, "You ARE a ministry leader." Well, that maybe true too, but I'm not just that. As a ministry leader I am also a friend to all I work with -I've just got the stinky part of having to make tough decisions. Some only see me as "A mother of six children." Well, that's true too, but the judgement that I have heard simply because I have six and home school-well, let's not go there. Some might see that I am also sensitive, kind, and gentle. I cry-I actually do.
I'm seen so differently by so many people it's crazy. I'm judged too by the different things they think about me-not know about me. I guess I can't change that. It's taken me years to be okay with all the different ways people see me. Years to be okay with all the judgement I get. I'm fine with it all. I am happy with who God has made me to be. I am happy with all the different facets of my personality. I happen to be at a place where I can finally say, "I like me." I'm not perfect, never will be, but I am happy with who I am. I'm simple and I yam who I yam.