Once upon a time I went to the Nester’s house and I didn’t get my picture taken with her.
What was I thinking?
Interestingly enough, the answer might be different than you’d expect:
I was thinking about myself.
That’s right. Not in an arrogant way, mind you, but more in an ‘I’m so nervous and embarrassed about saying the wrong thing or being awkward or sounding like an idiot and why would she want to take her picture with little ol’ me?’ kind of way.
Back in the spring I signed up for a course that Myquillin was offering called Cozy Minimalist. As a conclusion to the course, we could add on a day at Nester’s Barn with other Cozy Minimalists who had taken the course. On a bit of a whim, and with a lot of fear, I signed up for that one day event, realizing I would be mingling with people I had only ever interacted with via the internet.
I packed my overnight bag and spent the day in Charlotte visiting a friend, shopping at Ikea, eating dinner out by myself (a treat for me), and sleeping in a hotel room with no child interruptions. I woke up early on Saturday morning and sifted through the ten outfit options I had brought for the one day event. Because, you never know what you’ll feel like wearing, especially when you’re ten weeks pregnant. I settled on the same shirt I had worn the day before and a pair of black shorts. Nice one, Lauren.
Just the fact that I brought so many clothes tells me that I felt completely insecure about attending this event.
As I chatted with my husband on the phone on my drive to the event he said to me, “Lauren, have a good time. Talk. Just be yourself.”
Just be yourself. Easier said than done and he said it because he knows my struggle.
I would love to be able to walk into any social setting and feel totally comfortable, confident, and able to connect on any level with the people I encounter.
But that doesn’t always happen. I tend to be quiet, observe from the sidelines, and get red-faced nervous when I strike up a conversation with anyone or get asked a question. I fumble my way through small talk, often rambling about dumb things and then later wonder what on earth possessed me to say the words that came out of my mouth.
Some of this I will attribute to my personality. But some of it is just plain insecurity, and something that I would like to conquer. And I hope and pray that my girls will learn early on in life to be themselves. To understand how God has wired them, recognize their shortcomings–yes, but to walk confidently through life and allow God to use them to bless others through their personalities, gifts, abilities, and quirks.
So, I’ve come up with a few pointers.
1. Know and believe that your greatest worth comes from the Lord. This is the first step. Inevitably there will be people in their lives who will tease them, dislike them, even find them weird and not want to be their friend. And it’s easy to internalize these rejections and feel worthless or de-valued. But in God’s eyes, we are loved, we are accepted, and if we are in Christ then we are new creatures who are precious and beloved of God.
2. Be more concerned with the needs of others than with your reputation. When I’m really thinking about others more than myself it’s easier to jump into conversations with strangers, or even people that I know but don’t know well. Questions come to mind to ask them and I’m less concerned with saying the right thing or having some witty remark and more interested in what the other person has to share. This is one way to think of others more highly than ourselves. Sometimes it takes a lot of effort, and it might mean that you never get asked a single question or get to tell that funny story you’ve been waiting to share. But it’s loving and humble and these are some of the marks of a follower of Christ.
3. Be sincere. Myquillin had this tea towel (pictured below) hanging in her kitchen. I loved it at first because, Scripture on a towel. But, then as I was editing photos for this post it struck me that the believers in the early church were characterized by sincerity in their communities. Sincerity, by definition is: the virtue of one who speaks and acts truly about his or her own feelings, beliefs, thoughts, and desires. Oh, how I pray that this would be the bent of my heart when I interact with others! And, I want this for my girls as well.
There are countless other ways to battle insecurity, but this post is already way too long so I’ll keep my list to those three, for now.
A few days after my visit to the Barn, I read a post by Emily (Myquillin’s sister) about self-reflection. Emily’s story is different from my own, but what she had to say ministered to my heart. She helped me to recognize that I was too concerned about what others thought and instead I needed to just be myself, wherever Jesus places me.
If I could live that day over again with these ladies I would do it differently. I would ask more questions. I would laugh. I would speak up. I would take selfies with each one I had the opportunity to chat with. Because that’s what I wanted to do but I was too insecure.
Also, I’ve decided that if you’re in someone’s home, it’s completely appropriate to ask to have your picture taken with them, no matter how famous (or not famous) they might be. And so, I would have a picture of Myquillin and me and I would display it as a reminder of what I learned about myself that day.
As part of our goodies for the day, we were gifted a signed copy of Myquillin’s book, the Nesting Place. I already had a copy, so I’ve decided to give away the signed copy I received to one of you!
To enter: Simply comment on this post and to my list of tips. Remember, I approve all comments, so don’t be alarmed when your comment doesn’t appear right away.
I’ll leave the giveaway open until Friday, October 23, and I’ll announce the winner next Saturday. *Winner must have a US mailing address*
This is Day 14 of a series “Lessons for my Daughters”. Click here for a complete list of posts.