finding where I belong

Blog

unnamed-19

Really wanting to be liked. Really wanting to belong. Wanting to be known and be valued. Insecurities hit like crazy. I find myself all too often wondering how I’m perceived. I still struggle with the fact that people don’t necessarily see a smart girl when they meet me for the first time or care to get to know me. I’ve inadvertently heard the hurtful assumptions – shallow, concerned only with the outer appearance, only hangs out with people “like herself,” or as they call it these days, “basic.” That word still makes me laugh…because it’s a label like so many things that confine. But more on that later.

So, who am I?

unnamed-21

A layered onion of sorts. I know things and have experiences that would not be necessarily grouped together. Weird, huh? Events in my life might seemingly juxtapose each other. I have always strived to be well-rounded before I even knew what being well-rounded meant and I suppose that is the cause. While societal influences might have encouraged me to fit into a box, I realized as a young teenage girl that it’s possible to use my intellectual capacity in a way that’s fitting to my own passions, interests, and unique personality.

My high school days involved some very strong encouragement to pursue an Ivy League school. Senior year Saturdays were spent getting up at 5am and riding the NYC subway to  take science and engineering classes at a city college. Friends who know me now might be surprised by this. But because I was good at these subjects, I was sort of forced to pursue it. As I headed home on that noisy E train, studying my textbook but more so the diverse personalities all round me, something inside wanted to fight for me. I considered what I enjoyed and decided I would rather spend my energies excelling in those areas. I enjoyed culture, public speaking, fashion, language learning, the arts, anything that gave me an avenue to express this beauty of traits that I felt were spilling out of me.

You see, “smart” is not defined as one particular thing or in a limited way. It’s not a term only meant for those who pursue a certain course. I had to realize that and accept it. I enjoy reading but not so much about concepts or a way of thought as I do reading books and articles that leave room to the imagination…stories, self-reflections…those things that make life come alive for me!

unnamed-22

Portions of my life have been lived stuffed into a box. There were times of having to conform to someone else in order to be accepted. It has left me feeling insufficient and empty. It’s no way to truly live. If we look closely, we might find that where we are in some way a product of who we felt we needed to be or who we were told to be. Some of us have realized this and courageously broken the mold. Dare I say that my discovery is more of a journey? I discover it daily and have done so even more in recent years.

Here is what I do know: the gifts, talents, abilities, and experiences that God has given me were in no way a mishap. I am to channel those along with what I find myself passionate about into something of great purpose. God has entrusted these to me for His greater good. We are ALL called to something! If you are still a seeker, know that He has been using the events of your life to draw you to something of significance. There’s no limit to what He can use you for. He’s got a plan for your life if you’ll just trust Him with it. As David wrote so confidently in the Psalms, “The Lord will fulfill His purpose for me.”

IMG_7730.JPG

I try to see life and others through God’s eyes…from His perspective. I value differences of personality and outlooks on life through which I see evidences of the Imago Dei. Beautiful. That’s what people are to me – because they’re made in God’s own image – so uniquely and beautifully made. Truly getting to know others, their culture, what drives them, what brings them joy, among other things unearths the “fearfully and wonderfully made” described in Psalm 139. My passion is helping others to discover this about themselves. While I may not be completely sure of all the ways I can do this, I am confident that I can use the tools that God has given me so far to accomplish that.

So, if those insecurities tend to hit you hard like they do me, here are the things I strive to remember:

  1. I AM SIGNIFICANT. I am created in God’s image. (If you know God personally then you know that this is by far some pretty legit quality to have)!
  2. I HAVE PURPOSE. I have something to offer the world that is uniquely me. My own set of qualities experiences, and characteristics. Good or bad. They can benefit someone else and doing it will bring me joy.
  3. I AM ACCOUNTABLE. We will all one day stand before God and account for how we’ve used what He’s given to us. Sure, this sounds like a lot of pressure for something too great but it’s really not. Just don’t sit around hiding from the world what God created you for. Put  it to work! No time or room for insecurities here!

unnamed-24

*Here are some awesome verses that have encouraged me:

“…He has made every nationality to live over the whole earth and has determined their appointed times and the boundaries of where they live.” (Acts 17:26)

“Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.” (Proverbs 19:21)

“The Lord will fulfill His purpose for me.” (Psalm 138:8)

Here’s to finding where you belong!

 

facing fears. finding adventure.

Blog

Analytical. Over-thinker. Doubter. Fearer. Sure, I know “fearer” isn’t a word but for me it might as well be. Classic representation of what marks my life right now. In fact, if I think about it, it has always marked my life for as long as I can remember.

Little girl, afraid to climb anything too high, if anything at all. Why? Because of the fear of a scraped knee. The fear of falling. The fear of being made fun of by other kids for not being good at something. The fear if failure. Or…The fear of facing the unknown. So I stay back. I shy away from anything remotely close to climbing or exploring. I stay where it’s safe.

I still remember this same girl on the school playground watching my best friend climb high up on the monkey bars. I made an attempt but barely got very far. I admired my friend, her courage, her adventure. Yes! Her adventure. From where I observed she experienced a world of fascinating things that I would never come to know. Her perspective was more expansive than mine would ever be. Adventure. Perspective. This turtle in a shell of a girl deep down felt a certain sadness. Why was I not born brave?

Brave. Today, decades later, the scared little girl inside of me decided that she wanted to be brave. Still scared, and with an even more layered version of fear, I’ve taken on a sense of overanalyzing, overthinking, and skeptically doubting. Phew! That’s a whole lot of weight to fearfully carry around!

So imagine my lot when I get harnessed to a rope and with the company of a dear friend climbed my way to a ropes course. I feel my heart pounding with gradual, heavy beats now. But I’m determined. Because the only way to truly conquer any fear is to face it head on.

I bravely tackled most of the courses on one level and was ready to call it a day. Until I was challenged to go to the highest level. Heavy sigh, looking above, and not wanting this thing to get the best of me, I agreed and climbed my way to level 3. Oh my jeepers! “Don’t look down” is all I could think. I discovered some courses that I was more comfortable with – though still terrifying. “Kameish, try this one,” I hear that friendly voice call out. No…No… I can’t. I can’t do this. Pervasive thoughts as I stood clinging to the piece of my rope that kept me harnessed. Jumbled thoughts in my mind all culminating in the word, “No.”

Deep down, I know I have to do this. And I want to cry now. But if I do, I let my emotions, the over-thinking, the over-analyzing get the best of me. So I step out. Sweaty palms. Wobbly feet. There are no side rails to hold on to up here. I can’t look down but I need to watch my feet in order to continue across. I see the ground way beneath me. I’ve already stepped out, therefore I can’t turn back now. Only continue.

I feel the thoughts wanting to rush to my mind and as they do I feel the sole of my foot begin to slip off the tiny rectangular piece of swaying wood. No. The only ‘no’ that belongs here is saying no to the thoughts that cause fear, cause me to doubt, cause me to lose my steadiness. Don’t over-think. Stay the course. Focus on the next step. Then the next one. Palms so sweaty that my hand begins to slip off the rope. Drowning out the overbearing thoughts, I steady myself and finish the course.

Done. Defeated. Conquered. Fear faced. I learned much about myself. I saw firsthand the result of over-thinking things and letting my mind wander off to the place of “why did I decide to do this?” “I shouldn’t have done this.” “I made the wrong choice.” These thoughts caused me to lose my steadiness.

This is my life. It’s what I’ve allowed to happen to me as I’m inundated by fear. But the Lord reminded me that I’m harnessed to Him and He is sure, steadfast. As He draws me to take the next scary step in faith I must hold on to Him knowing He won’t let me fall. Don’t let the thoughts of all the ‘buts’ and ‘what ifs’ flood my mind. Just focus on the course ahead. Take the next step, and go! Adventure awaits. Go out there and embrace it!

“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10)