Being all things to all people – A guest blog by student Kim Carr

Kim Carr

In my younger years I was a fairly homely child. A shock of long, straight white hair, invisible eyebrows and eyelashes and I was shaped like a stick.  When I started going through puberty my worst nightmare happened…I started developing which was great, except that my hair was now starting to yellow and get REALLY frizzy. Not so cool in the age of Farrah Fawcett hair! 

Needless to say, I was picked on and called many lovely nicknames like “Fluff-u-la” or “Fifi” and asked several thousand times if I had stuck my finger in a light socket. It went on for years. I grabbed on to anyone who was remotely nice to me and tried to hold on for dear life. I started realizing early on that people liked to relate to something, so I began trying to be everything to everyone. I know that sounds kind of manipulative but I was an insecure kid trying to survive her teenage years. Bear with me though.

I saw that the adults in my neighborhood needed a responsible person to watch their kids so they could go out. I got CPR “certified” and got my first job. Not only did I do a great job with the kids, I cleaned their house if I saw it needed it. Nothing drastic since I didn’t want to offend them, mind you, but a little vacuuming and dusting and any dishes left in the sink, etc. The parents went out of their minds with giddiness and promised they would call me again. Pretty soon I had a steady income from babysitting (as we called it back then). Sometimes the moms would talk with me about “stuff” and I would nod my head (like I knew anything) and empathized. It created a bond. I took those techniques and put them to work at school. First with the teachers and then a few people that I didn’t normally hang out with.

What a revelation! I continued to be useful to people and try to be like them when doing so. I became something of a nomad within the normal cliques of a high school. I wasn’t popular but I wasn’t shunned by them. I got along with all the groups but was never a real member of any.

As high school came to a close, my hair issue was a little better – tolerable and occasionally decent looking. I had gained a small measure of confidence, but it all hinged on who or what I could do for whom. I felt fake in many ways, but I never said things I didn’t mean, and I didn’t make up stuff just to be a part of a group. But still, it bothered me. I kept thinking to myself that I could never be the real me…although I didn’t even know who that was. I was everything to everyone, except me.

Into adulthood, I continued that path and it made for some treacherous relationships. If I thought high school was tough, adults have their own agendas and can be quite vicious if you aren’t careful to get to know who you are dealing with. I was, (not literally) torn to pieces a couple of times. It was a hard and painful lesson I will never forget. What that did for me was turn me inward and ultimately to God.

God created me. He knew exactly who I was even if I didn’t. He knew all that I would go through and everything I would learn along that path. And let me tell you, He wastes nothing!  Every tear I cried, he held in his hand until he could show me the truth in the reflection of each one. There are so many, but these are the top three:

Reflection #1: I was loved unconditionally, and I didn’t need to create relationships solely based on what I could do for someone else so they would like me.

Reflection #2: I was beautiful regardless of the opinions of others. God made me perfectly…perfectly in His image and for His purpose. All that I went through because of what I saw as faults, were lessons I would need to reveal His glory to others.

Reflection #3: Getting to know someone and relating to them wasn’t being fake, it was the first step in the journey to meeting people where they are. Not for sake of being liked, but truly investing yourself in them. It is what God does with each and everyone of us.

One of His greatest commandments is to love thy neighbor. Your neighbor is anyone you encounter. What does it mean to love them? For those you encounter regularly, it means getting to know them. Stepping outside your comfort zone to learn what matters to them, spend time with them, let them know they matter to you. Laugh in times of goodness; celebrating their triumphs, feel the weight of their defeats, lending a hand up when they’ve been knocked down, grabbing groceries for the single parent who’s overwhelmed; being present in the moments when they just need someone to come along side of them. It means being intentional in your efforts to let them know they matter to you and to God. Love them as God loves you. He met you where you were. For those who don’t know him yet…He will meet you where you are. Giving that type of acceptance to another is an unparalleled gift.

It’s been a long road to be comfortable in my own skin and to feel peace in my heart about who I am. I don’t have to be all things to all people. I am a child of God, and I was called to meet people where they are.

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