The crafty one. The thrifty one. The in-shape one. The best cook. The most hospitable. The smart one.
What is it in our culture that makes us seek out a title? We want to find a niche and our place in the world–the thing we excel at or are known for.
We want to feel recognized and esteemed for our contribution to society. While on the path of discovering who we are, we can quickly get caught up in the thorns of comparison. Seeing what other people are good at stirs something inside of us to either attempt it ourselves or find our own area of expertise.
While it's not inherently wrong to want to figure out what we're good at and hone our craft, we shouldn't idolize some title or ideal, thinking it will make us feel complete.
As my 26th birthday approaches this Sunday, I still wouldn't say I've found my exact niche or giftings in life. I know a few and am starting to feel more comfortable in my own skin, which was one of my New Year's resolutions (not your typical work-out-more-desire).
Part of discovering who you are means discovering who you are not. And I'm finally starting to be ok with who I'm not.
Who I'm Not
I'm not a thrill-seeker. I've tried to like riding roller coasters, wakeboarding, or other more adrenaline-inducing hobbies and, to put it mildly, I highly dislike them. I would try them, often because of people I was with and wanted to appease.
Then a couple years ago I went to Cedar Point again with my family and concluded after that day that it wasn't for me. I like to have fun and be adventurous, but my definition of that doesn't include anything that would make my stomach drop or bring fear. And I'm ok with that.
I'm not an outdoorsy person. I love being outside and in nature. But I'm not a fan of hiking, camping or interacting with bugs and creatures. When our team in Slovenia wanted to go camping, Jordan and I decided to join them (for the sake of camaraderie) and it was worth it to be with our team. But while being in Colorado this summer, I've had no urge to hike a fourteener or even a shorter mountain. It's just not my thing. And I'm ok with that.
I'm not the funny one. If you've interacted with my husband for all of five minutes you quickly find out he is hysterical. I first saw my now-husband when he was the emcee for a retreat during college. Immediately I was captured by his wit and dry sense of humor. He makes me laugh every day and is such a good story teller. I'll crack a joke here and there (which often is an influence of my husband) but I'm not the entertainer. Nor do I want to be. And I'm ok with that.
I'm not the workout enthusiast. I do exercise regularly (this past year I've been doing yoga every month and am LOVING it), but it's not my world. I value being healthy and active, but thanks to my genes (truly, I'm grateful for them), I'll likely never be this super-buff and muscular girl. And I'm with that.
Why I'm Ok With That
All of this I share not to beat up on myself or to have a pity party, but because I really am ok with these things not being true of me. It means I've come to a place where I can admire these traits and desires in other people, and not feel the need to share the same enthusiasm for them.
Now I feel the freedom to say "no" to an invitation to an outing I don't enjoy without feeling like I'm missing out or even wimping out. I'll still go and hang out with people, but I don't have to be all-in. This is not the equivalent of being particular or stubborn. If your friends want to go to a restaurant you don't prefer, it doesn't give you the out to demand your way at all times.
There's just a freedom that comes in being ok with your limits. It's good to push ourselves in areas, but don't feel the pressure to do everything. Some people love that–do it. Other's don't. That's great.
Let's not beat ourselves up in comparison, wishing we had what someone else does. Be comfortable in who you are–God made you uniquely, with special desires and a heart for something different than your best friend or spouse or siblings.
Rejoice in that and live in your own journey.