I am a masterpiece and a mess all at the same time. All wound up in one big disorganized, contradictory, loving ball. It’s the truth for me and the truth for you - for all of us. Every one of us have these competing voices in our heads. The voice that says that “I am a masterpiece” and the one that says "I am a mess.” Sadly, the one that says “I am a mess” is usually the loudest voice we hear. That “mess” voice has been trained and perfected over many years of self-doubt, criticism, mistakes, etc. Sometimes that voice was fed by someone we thought was a friend, a well-meaning but misinformed family member, teacher, sibling, you name it. At times, that voice gets so loud and so big that we can’t hear anything else. The “masterpiece” voice has been stifled. But here’s the truth: God sees you and me as an absolute work of art. That is so hard for me to process. I can see all sorts of beautiful qualities in those around me, but I have the hardest time accepting it for myself. God is the one that speaks those powerful, loving words into your heart. He is the one that makes your amazing qualities visible to those around you so that they can see them too.
There was a time in my life when the "mess" voice in my head was so loud that I didn’t know if I could go on anymore. I felt worthless, unloved and unlovable. I found myself trying to make myself small, not dare to dream too big, not be too much of anything to make sure I was appeasing those around me. It took a long time, but I finally figured it out. I had surrounded myself with people who did not see the masterpiece in me. People whose self-esteem and desire to control were fully vested in me being a mess. They needed me to be a hot mess to make themselves feel like a superior masterpiece. I needed a way to identify and avoid these robbers of my joy and love. The ones who stifled me from being every bit of exquisiteness that God intended me to be.
I went to therapy, and there I learned some strategies to avoid the same pitfalls. I married a wonderful man who supports and loves everything I do and encourages me to chase after every big dream of my heart. However, I still struggled in my friendships. Then one day, I met Brene Brown. Well, I didn’t actually meet her, but I heard about her and immediately went to Google and located her TED talk on the topic of vulnerability. I was hooked! I devoured her books and here’s what I learned from her: You cannot share the masterpiece of who you are with anyone that hasn’t earned it. I am paraphrasing big time, but she calls them people who have all the "marbles in your jar." Think of a jar, and each time that someone does something that is trustworthy, true, honest and genuine, he or she earns a marble that gets added to your jar. If something happens that does not feel genuine and caring, a marble comes out. Sometimes, there could be a betrayal big enough that all the marbles would be dumped out. Here’s what I think...you cannot trust the full masterpiece of who you are with someone who hasn't earned any marbles in your jar. Chances are, she will speak negativity into your life. I don’t need people to speak such nonsense into my life (I am already pretty good at that all on my own).
Surround yourself with those who see you as the beautiful masterpiece that God has created. He has created each of us on purpose for a very specific purpose, and He has intentionally placed those big dreams on your heart. He wants you to work towards those dreams and He is with you every step of the way. He has created a life for you and for me that is far bigger than anything we could possibly imagine. He is chasing after you and showing you the way.
Barb calls herself the old girl of the bunch. She is an observer and a comforter. If there is a hurting soul in the room, God will likely lead Barb to her. She would say that she has always felt God’s presence but didn’t know what it was until she was older. God is always chasing her through music. She feels music like a very deep emotion. A song will speak to her and can bring her to tears or fill her with immeasurable joy, or sometimes both at the same time. She listens to anything from hymns to Van Halen and all the stuff in between. Barb is married to a man she describes as the most kind and generous person she has ever known and together they parent a beautiful, joyful, loving and challenging daughter.