Saturday, 17 April 2010

It's good to be 'me' again

~So then I had come to a point in my life where I looked good with all these other layers and decorative bits from other people's personalities that I had copied. But it just wasn't me.~

I have always had a flair for the dramatic. I love an audience and like nothing better than to be in the spoltlight. I am an extrovert. I am loud. I will spontaneously break into song and dance routine in a middle of a converstaion. If you come to my place I will throw my arms around you, kiss you on the cheek and talk excitedly and do a little happy dance. I'm that type of girl. But there was a time when I wasn't free to be that way.

Not everyone has appreciated my unique personality. My earliest memories of people not appreciating it, is when I was about 6 years old. I would make up songs about everything. If we were driving in the car and I saw a cow out the window, then I would make up a song about a cow. I loved to sing. The only problem is, my siblings found it annoying.

"Shut up! Mum, tell Jo-Anne to shut up! Stop singing. Arrgh!" my siblings would say. And I would break into tears. My heart was crushed.

When I was at boarding school during my teenage years, I remember attending a school camp.One night, a group of girls started aksing me to do things in front of the whole camp.

"Twirl around Jo." And so I twirled around dramatically and my efforts were rewarded with laughter.

"Now act like a tiger!" I obeyed, loving the attention. This went on for about 5 minutes until I realised that they weren't laughing with me at my crazy antics, they were laughing at me - smuggly enjoying making me look like a fool in front of everyone. My heart was crushed.

When I became a Christian, I loved singing and worshiping. No longer did I have to keep my hands by my side and sing 'sensibly' like in the Catholic traditional Church I had grown up in. In the pentecostal church where I attented, I was free to throw my arms up in worship and dance and sing with all my heart to the One who loved me more than anything. A few years after being born again, the Lord asked me to move to another town.

On the last Sunday before the move, a man came up to me said, "I just want to say goodbye and pray that God blesses you in the new town you are moving to. I know that you have blessed me. When my family and I first moved to this town, we were looking for a  new church to attend, and we came to this one. That first Sunday morning, I noticed how liberated you were in your worship and decided that this was the kind of  church that I wanted my family to attend. Don't ever lose that freedom in worship you have." I was humbled. I didn't realise that my King had used my worship to draw a family to this church.

A few years after moving to the new town, I was in the choir for an album recording for a worship cd. It was the dress rehearsal the night before the album recording and I was in the front row. I can't help it. When I worship, I worship with my whole body - it's just the way I am. I wasn't singing for an album recording. I was singing for Him. And so my body naturally moved and my arms naturally went up in worship as they had done many times before. 

We had a 5 minute break and I went to the bathroom. My house mate, who was also singing for the album recording went into the kitchen to get a cup of tea. There she found the choir leader mocking me in font of everyone. "Did you see Jo? She's like arms everywhere and doing this. Hilarious!" When my house mate told me, my heart was crushed.

After that I tried to tone down my personality. I became unsure of who I was and tried to become who I thought that everyone wanted me to be - a little quieter, a little less entusiastic, a little more like them. I became who I thought they wanted me to be. In my mind I was 'too much' for everyone and despised my extrovert personality. Of course, not being yourself is exhausting and I ended up miserable. I added layers of everyone elses personalities on top of my own and covered up my own personality.

So then I had come to a point in my life where I looked good with all these other layers and decorative bits from other people's personalities that I had copied. But it just wasn't me.The masquearde was weighing heavy. It was a huge burden to carry. I didn't even know who I was anymore.

Mighty Prince Warrior was the first man who was attracted to my extrovert personality. Unlike other realtionships where others tried to change me into a quieter, dull, boring version of me - he embraced my uniqueness. And for that I will always be grateful. My husband is an intovert, and told me while courting that my boldness, amongst other personalty traits, is what he loved about me. Finally, I found a human being that appreciated my personality. I am so grateful for a husband who loves me - for me. But even his love was not enough to break my suffocated personality free from the layers holding me captive. It would take a love much more powerful than his.

In my desperation I cried out to my King and He came. He said, "I have been waiting for you my darling." And slowly he sanded back the layers that I had added over the years. In His tenderness, he would work on a little bit at a time, as the process was often painful and more than I could bear. There was a lot to sand back to get back to the original design that He had created. I had covered  up so much that His creation was no longer recogniseable. But He was patient and kept telling me through the whole process," I love you and I made you like this for a purpose. You were made like this because no one else can do the work that I need you to do for me. You are beautiful just the way I made you.'

~There was a lot to sand back to get back to the original design that He had created.~

I dared to trust Him and day by day, I started to feel like me again. As each section of the process of sanding back is complete, it is then that he adds His own extra layers. I read a verse in Isaiah 54:11-13 a few months ago and my heart lept. It was a rhema word for me. It was the King's promise to me:

Isaiah 54:11-14~ "You poor city. Storms have hurt you, and you have not been comforted. But I will rebuild you with turquoise stones, and I will build your foundations with sapphires. I will use rubies to build your walls and shining jewels for the gates and precious jewels for all your outer walls. All your children will be taught by the Lord, and they will have much peace. I will build you using fairness. You will be safe from those who would hurt you, so you will have nothing to fear. Nothing will come to make you afraid. (NCV)
In the  NKJV and the NIV it says: In righteousness you shall be established. He is establishing me in His righteousness. Through His grace I am made righteous through Christ. Not by anything that I could do myself. There is also a promise of rebuilding in this scripture that I am already seeing glimpses of being fulfilled. My foundation in Christ, the most precious of all jewels is being layed fresh again. My walls are starting to shine with the jewels that He is adorning me with. And I am also seeing the promise that my children will be taught by the Lord being fulfilled.

I am learing to be me again, just as He designed me to be. As I re-learn what it is like to be me, I see my King being able to use me in His purpose again. I see that my extrovert personality is a gift from Him and am embracing my uniquness.

It's good to be 'me' again.

Still taking lessons from the King,


  1. WOW!!! Incredible!!

    This is just superb, Jo. I can't relate so much, especially the rebuilding! God has given me the same promise and He is bringing it to pass. Oh how blessed I feel to have read this and know someone "gets" what I have in my heart. And also to know this indeed is how the Lord works. This has made my day.

  2. Oh, just noticed my typo!! I CAN relate so much!

  3. Jo, whenever I read your blog, I feel as though you have read my mind and lived my life and are transforming all of it into words on a page. Even across the world we are brought together in God's family. You are my sister in all the ways that really matter.
    Some day dear one..some day, perhaps even this side of heaven we will be blessed by each others presence.
    You are a blessing to me and I'm sure, many others.

  4. Thank you, thank you, thank you for sharing your heart. I understand the confusion of trying to be who every wants you to be. Praise God for the promise in his word. What an amazing verse!!

  5. You never cease to amaze me with your words and the way you draw out truth in your writing! I am just getting to know the real you as well, my beautiful sister and He is restoring the years the locusts has eaten. Love you and so proud to be your sister xxx

  6. I'm so glad you are you! I'm loving getting to know you. I grew up as an extrovert in an introvert home - silly, stupid and too loud were words i remember hearing a lot of.
    Unique is much better - so glad to have met you :)

  7. Your are so inspiring! Thank you Jo!! Thank you for your comment! That was the worst feeling in the world and I am so glad that I too did not go into a deep depression! God is our healer!!

  8. Oh Jo, please be who God meant you to be. You sounds BEAUTIFUL! One of my daughters sounds JUST like you. She is only four so everything is cute but I don't want her to change but I can see her growing and experiencing the same hurt as you have. I'm encouraging her to Be who God made her to Be! Beautiful, strong and joyous in every movement. xx

  9. Thank you for sharing this. I love how deep your posts are. I struggle with being me too. ..Feeling like I'm not enough most of the time. Yours is a beautiful story of God's love and gentle work. ..He is so gentle and patient and I know he wants to do that work in me too. Thanks!

  10. I'm not an extrovert, but I can still relate. So much. My husband encourages me to be myself as well, and I so love that about him. Thank you so much for sharing.

    I am struggling to know what more to say, save that I've been thinking a lot about your post since I first read it on Saturday. Thank you so much for having the courage to write this.

    God is good.

  11. I loved to read this part of your heart journey.
    I think every woman faces such issues, and to be honest- I still struggle who the "me" God created ..still becoming..

    But I know my identity in Christ and that is what matters most! :)

    Blessings n' love from one Princess warrior to another!


  12. Oh Jo, I loved this... every word I loved. We are finding freedom to be who we are... I'm so blessed to see how He has been releasing you.

    I LOVED the scripture in Isaiah. Though I've read it before it was just perfect for me today... I love that He is rebuilding me with His JEWELS!!

    Thanks for your visit to my blog and your words... You always bless me so! I love who He has made you to be... I'd love a welcome like you give those coming to your home... I love that you break out in dance....


  13. I adore your liberty... I'm an introvert, but I love to groove.
    I'll dance as much as I can in worship, pinned between two pews.

    The line that stuck out to me was this "it is exhausting not being yourself"... Oh boy, do I get that!
    I don't understand why we feel the need to change for everyone's comfort. Those that love you, embrace you as you are.

    Thank you for this ~ I'm sure many of us can relate!

    Free to be me,

  14. Visiting you from Tea's place.

    Glad to meet the real you!

    Sweet dreams.

  15. Amen, what a testimony. Thanks for uplifting my spirit. May God continue the good wark He has begun in you. Love you

  16. Hi, Hazel from WA :) Thanks for the 'It's good to be me' post. Loved the analogy about sanding back the layers. God is so gracious and see's the potential in all of us.
    Hope the h/schooling is going well - I have had a good start to the term h/schooling my two boys aged 8 and 6. Have to do everything in Gods strength or it doesn't go smoothly at all!!
    Bless you Jo, Hazel x

  17. You are so precious! This is awesome! I love that you are YOU (crazy, nuts but undeniably awesome!). I can relate too, as I feel that after all these years of wandering in my wilderness I'm finally become who God knows me to be. Still a work in progress, but closer than ever before! Love you!

  18. Hi, I am new to your blog...Thank you for your words...


Thanks for sharing your thoughts on my lessons!

I appreciate you taking the time to comment.

Jo Princess Warrior xo