In May of 2013 I was able to travel to Israel with 30 other college students from my University for a few summer weeks. Talk about an adventure! As we set off to the Atlanta airport, the bus was full of 30 strangers that would soon become comfortable with each other through 14 hour flights, tight foreign cab cars and leaving the sweet comforts of home. After nearly 20 hours of traveling, we had finally reached our destination and were ready to explore this new land together. 30 students from different walks of life, each with different life stories and each with extremely different personalities.
Our first day in this new country was the adventure of visiting a local’s farm where we were all led to dress up like a traditional, or normal, Israelis and precede to ride donkeys and make some pita from scratch. For about 2 hours 30 students with completely different personalities all looked and acted the same, for the sake of participating in a particular culture.
Have you ever felt the need to put your true personality aside for the sake of fitting into culture? Ever feel like everyone around you is starting to dress and act the same way simply because of a culture trend?
In a world of trends and strong cultural influences it can be extremely easy to lose our uniqueness or boldness and just fit in. And maybe you’re just like me. Unique and proud of who I am, but stick me around people who have really strong outgoing personalities for a while and I will soon look just like them. I tend to hide behind the mask of fitting in. Put on a movie with characters who have cool accents and unique personalities and I will most likely spend the rest of that day acting just like those characters.
I know who I am, deep inside, don’t I? Yet more often than not, I find myself fitting into the mold someone else has created rather than the unique mold God created just for me. So maybe, even though we are different in many ways, we are the same in which mask we choose to hide behind. Young girls with good intentions to be confident in who we are, but sometimes struggling to put on the mask of fitting in instead of standing out.
But sweet friend the truth is that we, yes--you and I, were made to be comfortable in our own skin. So comfortable that we are not only okay with who we are, good bad and ugly, but are so confident in who God created US to be that no culture can change us. There are many different masks that we can hide behind, but ones that encourage us to deny the very person that God created us to be are some of the worst.
Maybe you’ve worn this same mask before, and have struggled with fitting in to the culture around you even though deep inside you know that you have something special inside. I have good news for you.
I've always been a gal who wants to make a difference; a dent in the world around me. And the truth is that the only way we can make an effective difference is buying into the girl who God has created us to be. The Lord's grace is so unending. Even though we tend to hide the uniqueness He gave us He is always right around the corner to remind us of who we really are.
You’re not alone. You don’t have to stay behind that mask any longer.
We are not what the world says we are, and we aren’t the molds that others have created for us. We are each unique. Beautiful, messy and yet completely covered in grace. You are you, and that’s exactly who you should be.
That May, 30 unique students may have all dressed up identically like local Israelis but at the end of the day we were still us. What does it look like when girls can live in a culture of strong influences and yet stay true to who God created them to be?
It looks like freedom.
Lanissa Reale is a 20something (#feelin22), newly engaged, recent College Graduate! That’s right... all that in a matter of months! Thus, she knows the struggles and uniqueness that come within this “young woman” stage of life! After many years of trying to fit into the crowd around her, she soon found that the woman she had always dreamed of becoming wasn’t found in the world around her but in the Lord alone. Lanissa is the founder of the Becoming Ministries Blog where she is dedicated to empowering women to get comfortable in their own skin and buy into the process that God has in store for them. The woman we dream of becoming is a process, yet a powerful one when we have other’s in our corner throughout it! Let’s become the women we were created to be, together!
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