The Best Me.

((from Bridget))

A few years back I met the executive for the Nike Women’s Clothing Line.  At first glance, I was impressed by her professionalism, intelligence, and athleticism – things that could be expected from her job title alone.  But do you know what else?  She was also cute, personable, humble, courageous, a mom, a wife, strong, and kind.  I really enjoyed the few hours we had sharing life together.  As things would have it, we forgot to exchange contact information but I think given more time together, we could’ve been great friends.

I now follow the Nike Women’s Apparel Instagram feed as a way to support and encourage her and the person who I know her to be.  Their tag line is this: “Strong alone, unstoppable together.”  Isn’t that just perfect friends?  The key is to first find yourself and be your best YOU.   Find your strong, fearfully and wonderfully crafted self.  Then, as women, men, young, old, people of every tribe, tongue, and nation walking this long road called LIFE together, we will be unstoppable.

“For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.”
Psalm 139:13-16 (NIV)

A dear friend and her family came to Uganda to visit us this year for the holidays. Back when I lived in America, she and I had practiced in the same hospital, shared meals together, and vacationed together. Our friendship has continued to grow despite our transcontinental divide.  One evening, we were in conversation about our kids, careers, marriages, life’s highs and lows, and all of that juicy heart stuff.  I shared how I had struggled here on the mission field with a piercing lie that “I was unlikeable” and how I had to daily surrender another lie that “my successes wound people”, which Satan had convinced me of decades ago.  She listened, sensitively inquired, and then continued to listen some more.  My friend then empathetically responded, “Thank you so much for sharing this.  I really can’t believe it.  From the outside, you have always appeared to have everything together.  When I think about who I would want to try and emulate my life after, you have always been at the top of the list.  But I needed to hear this.  It reminds me that we all do indeed have struggles.  In the end, we just need to do our best being ourselves.”

Friends, please declare this truth with me: comparison kills!  Isn’t that the root of so much angst?  We really suffer when we get stuck in the centrifuge of comparison.  Around and around we go, but where or when does it ever stop? If we can’t accept ourselves for who we truly are, the good, bad, and even the ugly, we might never enter into the fullness of all that we were created to be.  We need to first be strong only in Christ, alone with Christ, before we can ever look to anyone else.

I daydream at times of what life would look like as a Nike executive.  Or what about being a successful physician still practicing in suburban Indianapolis?  Designing cute clothes all day long and still making time for my family and friends.   Operating in a temperature-controlled hospital and having cold fountain Diet Coke available every day?  What if I was thinner?  Smarter?  Younger?  What if…

Friends, that is when I need to repeat it again, COMPARISON KILLS!  I was fearfully and wonderfully made to be…. ME! Just me- strong, capable, cute, intelligent, personable, professional, courageous, and kind me. 

  • A 40-something athlete who has one husband and two children who love and adore each other.  
  • A sensitive and hardworking physician who cares for a community in Northern Uganda that would otherwise have no access to a western-trained medical specialist.  
  • A homeschooling mom who is committed to seeing her 2 biologicals as well as her 300 adopted ministry kids excel in their academics.  
  • A woman sold out to Jesus, who is dependent upon Him alone for her daily bread and breath.
  • A beautiful daughter, sister, mother, doctor, teacher, preacher, friend, and wife who can’t seem to make sense of her montage of daily emotions but doesn’t need to apologize any longer for just being me!

My charge to each and every one of you dear friends is this:  BE YOU!  Be the strongest, fullest, healthiest version of YOU possible.  Then maybe, just maybe, we can link arms and see the beauty of the UNSTOPPABLE collective.

Friends, I have not yet arrived. I often long to be thinner, kinder, faster, and funnier, but the Lord Himself created me, and who am I to tell him He failed? If there is sin and brokenness in me, that is my failure, and may I (may we all) beg of Him to repair and redeem us! But the original and whole version of us He intended? That should be the “me”, the best me, that in trusting Him as creator – I should thrive to live out fully!  I can still struggle with loving, believing in, and being ME.  But when the discontent comes, I am reminded to look to the source of truth.  God alone can remind me of who I am and whose I am.

We have to listen to Jesus.  We must choose to believe His truth.  He is the author and perfecter of our lives.  He has ordained our lives for good and He alone has redeemed us from the pit.   And on the really tough days, when you can’t seem to find His truth on your own, join me on your knees listening to His truth in this wonderful worship song

Could I just sit here awhile?
Know that there’s nothing that I need to say.
Safe in the knowledge that You know my ways.
Love me completely.
No need to hide a thing.

Could I just stay here awhile?
Letting You melt away all my fears…
I feel Your comfort when You are so near.
I hide myself in the shelter You made for me.

Could I?  Could I?

Could I Just kneel here awhile?
Doing what I was created to do,
Bowing in reverence I long to adore You.
Willingly giving all that I can surrender.

Could I just rest here awhile?
Letting You whisper my burdens away,
In all of my journeys there is no other place
Where I find refuge and strength for my weary heart.

Could I?  Could I?
Oh, just could I?  Oh, could I?

Could I just sit here awhile?
Know that there’s nothing that I need to say.
Safe in the knowledge that You know my ways.
Love me completely.
No need to hide a thing.

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