Last week I wrote about what it looks and feels like to live our life in faded color, and how it can be easy to offer the world a safe, edited version of ourselves. You’re not alone if you’ve spent much of your life trying to be like someone else, being afraid and living in faded color. Becoming our true self is a lifelong process.
But what would it look like to live in vibrant color now?
We need to extend an invitation to ourself to allow our true self to come out of hiding. This might look like…
- Speaking up more
- Performing less
- Giving yourself permission to be silly in public
- Laughing till your stomach hurts
- Saying no more often
- Saying yes to the longings of your soul
- Apologizing less for taking up space
- Claiming the truth you are wanted
- Trusting your body and letting yourself feel your emotions
- Learning to not judge your emotions
- Dreaming more often
It’s risky business to be ourselves. Sometimes it can feel like we’re letting others down by being a more authentic version of ourselves. Sometimes being our true self can feel like we’re being exposed. Even still, the cost is just too high to continue pretending. What I notice about the above list is each of them desperately need some element of freedom in order to do them.
And don’t each one of us in some way or another need to be ushered into sweet freedom?
One of my favorite definitions of freedom is “the state of not being imprisoned or enslaved”, which corresponds with words like liberty, release and deliverance. I love Galations 5:1 when it says “It was for freedom that Christ set us free”. Jesus’ entire mission was to release us from everything that holds us captive or confines us from shining brightly.
And oh how I need His invitation into Freedom!
Each one of us are offered a holy invitation to live vibrantly, unapologetically, fully who we are. And when we live out of our unique design, we shine more brightly. We reflect a Divine beauty that can only be revealed through us.
But we need to know…
- We are free from the shame that says we’re not enough
- We are free from the label someone once put on us
- We are free from the worthlessness we feel
- We are free from who we used to be
- We are free to let go of the past
- We are free to re-engage in life
William Faulkner once wrote, “We must be free not because we claim freedom, but because we practice it.”
I used to get so frustrated with myself when I would realize I had bought into the negative voices telling me I wasn’t good enough. The shame spiral would wind me deep down into a dark place in my mind where there was no hope. Freedom from the lies didn’t seem possible.
But then my therapist introduced me to the idea that healing and freedom are a process. Contrary to the “one step forward, two steps back” viewpoint, she encouraged me to see myself as always growing upward in a spiral motion. We are always growing, but sometimes we bump up against triggers (especially those that tend to be core struggles of ours) and they can cause us to believe we’re not making progress. In those moments, we need our people to remind us of the progress we are making. Our people are the ones who give us the courage to show up, yet again, and continuing practicing. So I’m learning, even though I tend to believe old lies about myself, the most important and powerful thing for me to do is to practice living out the freedom I have in Jesus.
Some important things we can all practice are things like…
- Telling ourself the truth
- Forgiving ourself
- Being kind to ourself
- Shedding our outer-layer so our true self can shine
- Tending to our needs
I’ve come to believe we need God’s tender voice pouring into us because He’s the only One who offers us the kind of freedom that has staying power. Recently, I’ve been quieting the noise of the world around me. Doing less of the things that tend to keep me distracted or numb. And it’s been good to sense an inner calm. Calm and quiet often allow me to see more clearly the vibrant colors I was made to paint my life with.
I want to share a little snippet of what God’s holy invitation sounds like to me today:
Sweet child, I created you with purpose. I created you with a role only you can fill. I love you with a love that never fades, never stops. My child, the expanse of heaven rings with joy when you do what I have made you to do.
Just be you.
Through that brave act, I am glorified.
I understand, truly I do, how the world you live in can be cruel, unfair and overwhelming. I experienced every bit of the pain it had to offer. I understand how it might seem safer to coast, hide or just blend in.
But I’ve got you.
Keep your hand in mine and I promise you’ll be dazzled.
I need you fully, right where you are. I need you dancing your dance, creating your art, loving how you love, speaking life the way only you can. I need you to live unabashedly.
I created the very meaning of the word bold.
I created the expanse of what it means to be free.
Be free, sweet child, to be who I made you to be.
What is one way you could invite yourself to live freely today?