The older I get, it seems like time goes by faster and faster.
I don’t know whether it’s the fact that I feel like most weeks I’m holding my breath until the weekend, or whether my days are too booked to the brim, but I swear, it’s as though you blink and another year has passed.
Case in point: my beautiful little niece is turning three this coming week.
I mean, where did the little baby go? We’ve got a full fledged toddler on our hands!?
But I don’t know if I’m just feeling extra sentimental as I sit here with the candles going by my Christmas tree, or what – but I got to thinking about what I would want to tell my sweet niece, as she grows up and faces the world.
And of course, my mind flooded with things about boys, and beauty, and following dreams, and never giving up. You know — the cliche’s that you can find written on the side of a mug at Hallmark.
So I really thought about it for a while. And if there was one thing, it would be this: Strive not for perfection, but for authenticity.
Growing up, I had this self-inflicted standard of perfection. It traced all the way back to my days on stage as a child actor. I equated my worth and my value with my ability to deliver a perfect performance. I needed to look perfect. Dress perfect. Behave perfect. Be perfect.
And it became a drug to me. One that nearly destroyed me. Because fast forward then to high school, and that desire for perfection spiraled into a full fledged case of anorexia that nearly destroyed me. And praise God, it didn’t.
Perfection is something we need to simply let go of. I was chasing and chasing after this unattainable vision of who I thought I should be: the girl with the perfect clothes, and hair, and body, and behavior, and social group — and it’s ironic. Because as I was chasing perfect, thinking that there would be so much joy and fulfillment once I attained it, the fact of the matter was that during my pursuit, those things were getting sucked out of my life, as the bar kept proving more and more out of reach.
Authenticity is what I really should have been after.
Authenticity — seeking to be fully me, fully alive, fully at peace in who I am, but importantly: in whose I am — that is where that true joy and fulfillment actually lie.
Knowing and loving the unique, beautifully imperfect, creation of God that I am — the authentic Caralyn — that is a life-affirming journey that I will be on for the rest of my life, as God’s plan unfolds for me, and I evolve into the person He’s forming me to be.
And that is what I wish for my niece.
The desire for authenticity.
Because, I don’t need to tell you, there are so many outside forces that try to influence our idea of who we should be. We’re told what is beautiful, what is successful, what is valuable, what is worth our attention — when the fact is, those are all fleeting notions, crafted by society with agendas meant to sell, sell, sell.
Our authentic self can only be found through the whispers from the Holy Spirit. From finding where our heart is fully alive, and I’ll give you a hint: you can’t buy that on Amazon. Nope.
I wish for my niece that peace in knowing and loving her authentic self as a daughter of the King.
Because when we know who we authentically are, it shapes our choices, how we think, our “self-talk,” our relationships. It is the foundation from which a beautiful flower can bloom.
And thankfully, my niece has super amazing parents who are already fostering that beautiful journey with Christ, even as a toddler. God is good 🙂
So now, I’m super curious: What would be one thing you would tell the coming generation?
“This is what the Lord says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life.” Ez 37:5
A big thank you to my foundational sponsor, BetterHelp Online Therapy. I cannot begin to express how beneficial therapy was for my recovery from anorexia. Speak with an online therapist. Or check out content about eating disorders from BetterHelp.
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