I feel like spring has just sprung in my life. Odd considering the title right? Doesn’t reading it just give you that sick feeling in the pit of your stomach? Even typing it felt like poison to my soul but the reality is, we probably have all felt forgettable at least one point in our lives. I’ve been in this dark season of internal struggle dealing with disappointment, unmet expectations, missing the mark, hurt feelings, judgement, the list goes on. I’ve been so worried about everyone else’s problems and how I could fix them. I thought I was doing great, so of course I should reach out to help those who weren’t in as good of a position as I was. I didn’t really have any problems; my marriage is solid, we’re paying our bills, we’ve made great friends, and are loving the life we have in our new home. What I didn’t realize was that I had a problem that has been taking root in my life since I was young and it was growing so slowly that I never even realized it existed until I read something that caused me to step back and see this redwood of an issue collapsing down on me.
I have read a total of one chapter of Lara Casey‘s “Make It Happen” (go buy it, you will not regret it) and I’m already reevaluating my entire worldview. In her book, Lara is telling her own story of how she stopped living to meet all the acceptable requirements of our society and started “living on purpose” to be intentional with her limited time important relationships. Throughout the chapters she throws in questions for you to think about. Honestly, I normally just read things like this and carry on to finish the book. I’m so glad I didn’t do that this time. I decided I wanted to be intentional with really getting my head together to accomplish my goals, so I committed to setting the book down and taking a minute or two to really mull over these questions.
When she started discussing how we are always “chasing perfect” I was intrigued because I never really believed perfect was a term applicable to people. Then she posed this question: “What has chasing perfect–striving for impossible standards–made you believe?” It was a slap in the face to realize that, even without believing in human perfection, I was still striving for the same kind of acceptance as those who think perfect is a fully attainable goal.
My answer, if you haven’t guessed yet, was “I’m forgettable.” That’s my redwood. It came crashing down in my brain, finally awakening some sense. I have spent the majority of my life trying to fit someone else’s mold of who they want me to be. I know this. I’ve tried several times to make changes to counter the path I was on and live my own life, but I keep finding myself looping back onto parallel paths of that first trail. It has a different tune but the words never change. You can strive to become exactly who we want you to be but when it comes down to it, we will still choose someone else and never even remember you existed. Friend, coworker, sister, daughter, niece, student, athlete, writer, woman, human, it doesn’t matter. The lyrics haven’t changed in 27 years.
I think what shocks me the most is the level of clarity I finally have at this juncture. I’ve “learned my lesson” plenty of times in the past but this is the first experience where I see how deeply rooted this issue is and how I keep finding myself in the same place. The tree may have fallen, but now I need to dig up those roots. These roots will continue to grow and poison me if I don’t do the work to get rid of them and cut off the source.
I’m not forgettable. I just have to remember who it is I care to remember me. If I continue trying to get everyone on this planet to like me, I will strive for my entire life, fail, and be miserable doing it. Or, I can just be me. Then, the only one who I need to care about liking me is God, and the beautiful thing there is that He already loves me better as me, than any other version of “me” I could attempt to define. There is so much freedom in that. Freedom from drama, insecurity, insignificance, loneliness, rejection, heartbreak, disappointment, expectations, it never ends.
This has been a hard lesson for me, one 27 years in the making. All I can say in this moment is how thankful I am to have had my eyes opened to finally see what matters most. I hope this helps you to take a look at who you’re living your life for; and please don’t look at this as some righteous post trying to guilt you into accepting Jesus. All I’m saying is if you’re living your life to please anyone else on the planet, at the expense of being yourself, the only thing you’re setting yourself up for is unhappiness. Do what is important to you. Be happy because you are. Love yourself without having to change yourself. Be inspired by you.
And if it’s something you believe in, please pray for me as I work to dig up my pesky roots!