Monday, May 7, 2012

the real me.

For some of you, this will be "before your time," but when I was a teenager, I loved Jaci Velasquez's music.  She sang Christian pop with a kind of Latin feel, and hers was the first CD I ever got as the world moved from cassette tapes to CD's.
When I was around 17 or so, Jaci Velasquez put out a new album called "Unspoken," and some of the songs on this album were pretty different from her previous ones.  One song in particular -- track 5 on the disc -- was called "The Real Me" and really grabbed my attention.  The song starts out:

People think I've got it all together
With the show of my sweet, sweet smile
But do they know if I am happy ever?
Pull up a chair 'cause this may take awhile.
I've got my bad days, some are even worse
I can be a blessing and you know I can be a curse..

The lyrics go on as she describes her own issues and insecurities, and says that she won't pretend to be perfect anymore, asking, "Can you deal with the real me?" 

When I heard this song, it grabbed me because it WAS me.  I felt like I could have written every word myself!  Filled with insecurity, I was doing my best to portray a perfect image to the people around me.  At that time, my family was attending a very small church -- one of those where everybody knows everybody and nothing is a secret.  Adults in the church would comment about what a "sweet girl" and what an "angel" I was, and I felt pressured to keep up that image.  I never felt free to admit that anything was wrong or that I was struggling with something, because I had to be the sweet and godly girl everyone expected me to be.  It was exhausting and painful.  Jaci Velasquez's song resonated with me because I could relate as she sang, "This is the real me - am I the girl that you want me to be?" 

Fast forward to yesterday.  Flipping through my CD case, I came across the "Unspoken" CD and popped it in my player as I drove to small group.  It always surprises me, when I listen to those old CD's from my teen years, that I still remember almost all the words.  Singing along with this song, "The Real Me," I thought back to that season of my life, and the hurt of trying to be what [I thought] people wanted and expected me to be.  Then I realized something.  

I've changed.  Sure, I still feel insecure sometimes... maybe a lot of times.  But God has been at work in my life the past few years.  I'm not so afraid to be myself now, and not so afraid to let people see my struggles and bad days.  God has been and is continually breaking my shell, removing masks, and teaching me that the best thing to be is what He created me to be.  

Just today, I was talking to a lady who I've only met a couple of times.  As we parted, she said, "You're just precious."  I thought, Well that's funny, because I wasn't even trying -- I didn't have on my "customer service" front that I use at work, or doing anything special -- just being me.  And that's when God reminded me.... that's the point.  Just being me. That's all He asks me to be.  No fronts, no angelic images, no measuring up to human expectations.  Just obediently being the girl He created and called me to be.  

That's freeing, isn't it?