You know Julia Roberts in Runaway Bride? Surely you do. Man, I hope you do. That Julia, goodness gracious, she’s the cutest. But she’s a tiny bit of a head case in Runaway Bride. The story goes that she’s this woman who has been engaged three times, has left all her fiancés at the altar, and is getting ready to try for the fourth time. Richard Gere comes along in all his sarcastic non-interested-in-Julia-ness and he starts to dissect what’s going on with her character. Why does she do this? What’s wrong with her? In honesty, it all comes down to eggs. Julia’s character always like different eggs because she’s always shifting what her fiancé wants her to be like. She’s a chameleon and she feels trapped because she’s never quite being who she’s supposed to be.
She is the definition of insecure because she is uncertain of her identity.
There was a season where I was the Runaway Bride of women’s ministries. If I was surrounded by working women, I wanted to work! If I was in a group of exercisers – let’s exercise! All natural ladies? I’ll make my own soap with the best of them. Charismatic? I’ll raise my hands and let the prayer language fly. Theological and deep? Where’s my Systematic Theology book? You get my point. It was bad news bears.
I had made this colossal mistake of looking to every surrounding I was in and letting it dictate who I would be, rather than finding my absolute identity as a wild and free daughter of God.
Until, eventually, God turned the page. For me, He did that by letting me break and then slowly building me back up. I spent a few months pretty mentally unstable, crying a lot, talking to an amazing counselor and thinking a LOT. And I found that I wasn’t sure how I liked my eggs either. I wasn’t sure who God made me to be and how could I really be thankful for who God made me to be if I didn’t know who that was? It took a lot of getting quiet and thinking and counseling to be comfortable with some of those facets of my identity. But slowly and surely, I started to see it: I’m Jess. I like schedules, bright colors, coffee, I’m massively introverted and still somehow ok in crowds, and I like runny eggs with peach salsa.
Insecurity had so much less space in my life, because my identity was rooted in Christ and my intimacy with Him. I started to believe some of the scriptures that spoke life and truth over my identity. I believed 1 Peter 2:9 and it told me I was a part of royal priesthood, brought out of darkness and into marvelous light, for the purpose of giving praise to the One who helped me. I believe Ephesians 2:10 that said I was the workmanship of God, not a worker for God who is only meant to produce. I began to believe 1 Peter 4:10 that says we’ve all been given different gifts and varied grace, so I felt the freedom to not immediately meld into a clone of the communities I was in.
God took me through this beautiful season of identity building, and then… our family had to move again. And I encountered another, new community of women and I was faced with a choice: I could totally meld into one of them and adopt all their attributes or I could learn and grow from them, but stay who it was God made me to be.
It was on one of my first nights there that the Lord handed me a massive freedom pass and helped me to bypass another season of unsure-of-her-egg-choice-Jess. We were at a homeschool moms meet up, which should have been a huge clue to me, since I knew that our family wasn’t called to homeschooling. I blessed the fact that other women were – but I knew deep in my heart, I was not gifted with that grace.
Anyhow, the speaker was telling her story and it was inspiring and she was strong and they were all so blessed. She told of how she raised all her children and spent a few decades really sowing into them, all the while waiting for the day when she could consider her work done, and learn to dance. Literally, all she wanted to do was take some dance classes — once a week or so — but she waited till her children were grown to do it in an attempt to really give them her undivided attention.
The women around me had faces that were so rapt and interested and blessed, but I couldn’t hide my confusion and discouragement. I don’t think I said anything that night, but I went home and got in bed and cried some wet, hot, heaving tears. Those women weren’t wrong about their passions, but their passions simply didn’t fit me and I wasn’t sure what to do with that.
I wanted to dance. Right then. Not 20 years later. Right then. With my kids or without. Maybe just once a week, maybe just privately in my room with my headphones on. I didn’t feel like God was asking me to wait to dance – figuratively or literally. I felt like He was asking me to live my life with abandon and use my gifts in front of my kids, even when they were little, all while I raised them and loved them. And occasionally dance.
The Holy Spirit quietly put His foot down in my heart and He told me it was going to be ok. It was ok if I wasn’t inspired by this one particular woman and it was ok if I didn’t look like her. It was ok that I wanted to dance, that desire was from Him. He’d dance with me. He’d teach me the steps that would inspire my kids and not abandon them. And when I made the wrong steps and got off track with the beat, He’d correct me. But mostly, I felt like He reminded me where my eyes should be when I’m dancing in grace — completely and utterly on Him. Because the dance is all about Him anyhow.
This is what wild and free living is all about.
For me, living wild means walking in who God created you to be.
I believe knowing ourselves and letting God speak into our identities is truly the best cure for insecurity. Living free to me means resting in the work Jesus has done for me, and knowing I need not measure up to anyone else’s standards.
We can live wild and free right where we’re at – however we take our eggs, however we school our children, whatever our preferences for dancing happen to be. We need only look to the Lord to speak the truth of our identity and freely give other women the liberty to do the same.
Original article written for Faith.Full by Jess Connolly.
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OK, ladies, how do you like your eggs? If we’re going to be who the Lord designed for us to be, we need to know ourselves, our identity in Christ. What do you like? What do you love to do? What are you great at? I want to be wild and free, don’t you? I’m Laurie. I love sparkling water, the ocean, listening to sermon podcasts, writing, hanging out with my favorite people, and — true story — my insides massively relax when things are organized and peaceful, but I’m learning to chill out when things get a little cuckoo (which is good since I’m a tiny bit of a hot mess)… and I like my eggs scrambled with avocado and salsa. How about you? Come join the conversation about your calling and your egg preference on our blog! We want to hear from you! ~ Laurie McClure, Faith.Full