Growing Into Your Skin
At some point, you have to stop apologizing for being who you are and wanting what you want.
(Are there legal, moral and ethical boundaries to that statement? Absolutely, but that’s not where I’m going with this.)
I don’t think there’s a magic formula for when that point comes, but there is a point. Especially if you’re following Jesus. Our faith tells us the more we follow Him and do what He tells us to do and love the way He asks us to love, the more we are being transformed and renewed – heart, soul, mind and strength. Which suggests to me that along that journey, the things we should start to want are the things God designed us to want, useful things that God can and will use to build His Church.
Jen Hatmaker is funny (okay, she’s not funny…she’s hilarious!) – so she uses it. (reference her newest book, “For the Love” – the whole thing.) Jeremy Cowart is an artist (except, let’s just say it – he’s cool, as in the for real, if there was an actual cool kids table, he would be the ringleader because he just is. He pulls off the hipster hat without looking ironic. He does art things that are, for lack of synonyms, cool. But now I’m gushing…) – so he does that. Andy Stanley makes things so easy and so obvious and so clear – so he does that again and again and again in ways that make us go, “Oh yea, we probably knew that. Now we’ll remember and go do that.” (Is this not the Andy Stanley effect?)
For me, it’s like this: I want to speak. I want to write. I want to pastor a large, growing church. It’s not because I think those things are the only way to lead people to Jesus. But they are avenues, and I believe they are the avenues God built me and gifted me to use. (You may be doubting the writing part because I abuse the ellipses, the dash and the parentheses like it’s my job, but…well – just go with it because I’d like it to be my job.)
I used to apologize for wanting those things because it sounded cliche and ambitious – and definitely, definitely not “holy.” Except holiness has a lot to do with getting in the lanes God invites us unto to do the work He set out for us to do, i.e. being set apart. So, I can fight it, or I can lean into it.
I’m leaning in. Not necessarily in the way Sheryl Sandberg described it, but then again, maybe so.
It only took 34 years, but I’ve finally grown into my skin. And the good thing about skin is that the dead parts are constantly falling off and giving way to new parts, but the shape stays the same. Skin can both stretch and retract. In other words, it’s capable of handling our lives. And so, I’ve decided to live in mine. And yes, that means it will need to continue to get tougher. But hopefully that toughness will be what protects the soft and tender insides. Growing into my skin means unapologetically going the places God asks me to go – not in the hopes of achieving fame, but of playing my part to make Jesus known.
Are you living in your skin, or trying to cover it up? What lane has God opened in front of you that you may be hesitating to use?What do you want? Is it possible that what you want is something God can use?