Summer Search: Article 1
My friend Alex and I visited the Glaus family in Ocala a few months ago. Alex and I were sitting at the kitchen table when Ann suggested we go to a workout class. I love a good sweat so I didn’t think twice before I ran up the stairs to throw on a workout outfit. Whereas Alex was less than enthused.
Alex is one of those skinny-without-trying friends who drinks diet coke and has a 6-pack. You know what I mean. Her “no” surprised me because over the last couple of days we talked about getting into a workout routine. I asked her why she didn’t want to go and she kind of gave me a look like, “you know why I’m not going.” But I didn’t know.
I prodded her and she gave me some reasons, “I don’t like to workout with friends, I’m too competitive.” I begged her to come with me, I thought it would be fun and I assured her I would not be competitive. As if I set her up for a spike at the volleyball net she replied, “that’s exactly how you are, I’ve seen the way you are with Hanna.”
I was caught red-handed.
I felt like a little kid again, Alex caught me in my lie. Excuses fumbled out of my mouth. I blamed Hanna for bringing that side out of me but there was no arguing. Alex was right so I let the conversation fall and I walked out. I thought about our exchange the whole car ride.
Alex is one of my all time best friends but I did not realize how turned off she was by my competitive side. The friend she mentioned, Hanna, loved to compete so I loved to push myself around her. That same characteristic that Hanna loved, Alex didn’t. I felt confused because I love to be liked. Where does this leave me? Should I hate this part of me or love it?
I had to make a choice.
When someone calls you out for being you, don’t get defensive, her words weren’t an attack they were fact. There was nothing mean about what she said, she actually gave me a gift: honesty. I am competitive and I can’t pretend I’m not in front of someone who knows me well. So do I love me or fear Alex’s opinion more?
My natural tendency would be to respond by becoming someone I’m not so Alex likes me more. But I’m done. I am learning to reject myself is to reject God because He made me this way. Rejecting myself feeds my insecurities whereas accepting myself acknowledges God’s handiwork and builds confidence.
So what now?
My friendship with Alex has opened my eyes to an important reality. It’s a lie to believe we will have strong relationships if we aren’t authentic. We cannot have genuine relationships with anyone if we don’t first accept and love ourselves. Loving me and Alex means staying true to myself. Being myself, someone different than her, makes our friendship more stronger. And she’s models that well.
When we are living into who we are, we find freedom. When we become someone we are not, we become prisoners. The image isn’t the only thing that imprisons us, we are also imprisoned by the relationships that motivate us to be someone we are not. If I became someone I was not around Alex then being around Alex becomes a really hard act to maintain.
Will you join me on my summer search? Let’s search for the people God created us to be and become exactly that… who we were made to be.