Sometimes we may think we have convinced people we are the image we want them to see, but there is One we cannot so easily fool. I’m a chameleon. All my life, I have been concerned about appearances and how others perceive me. I moved nine times growing up and learned to fit in anywhere. Quickly, I learned the game’s rules and played them to my advantage. People accepted the image I portrayed. I spent so much time trying to fit in, I never stopped to get to know the real me. That wasn’t important in my quest. I’d probably be moving again anyway.I spent so much time trying to fit in, I never stopped to get to know the real me. Click To Tweet
Managing to grow to womanhood, I fell in love and married my husband. After eight years, we had a beautiful son. At the age of two, he began to develop issues that would peak at twelve. He was diagnosed with ADHD, Asperger’s Syndrome, Cyclothymia, and Tourette’s syndrome. Our homelife became tense because my husband and I disagreed about raising him. After twenty-six years, our marriage dissolved under stress.
I don’t even believe in divorce, yet there I was. What do you do when you find yourself in a situation you never expected for yourself: against what you stood for?What do you do when you find yourself in a situation you never expected for yourself: against what you stood for? Click To Tweet
Well, you don’t marry again, as I did. Counselors advised me to take things slow after making a life-altering decision. But in the middle of my mess, it seemed like God sent a kind, friendly Baptist preacher to my front porch. Who wouldn’t wonder at the timing and provision? He consistently listened to me and several months later proposed marriage. We were going to serve the Lord together and have a vital ministry. I saw what I wanted to see and heard what I wanted to hear, but it turned out that wasn’t what God wanted for me. I won’t share details here out of respect, but the woman who didn’t believe in divorce found herself divorced again. My name needed to change once again. Who was I? I never thought I’d fall so far from my beliefs.
After my second divorce, it came time to renew my driver’s license. Due to the name change, I had to go in person. I presented my divorce decree, but the examiner said they couldn’t renew my driver’s license or change my name. My divorce decree didn’t have the required language from an archaic state law indicating the husband had given the wife back her name. Federally, I had one name with a Social Security number associated with it; however, the state didn’t recognize that name because of that law. I had to hire a lawyer, go to court, and get a legal name change. My stomach was in knots, fearing my driver’s license would expire in the interim, so I carried my paperwork around. I prefer to follow the rules.
While waiting for the court date, I had one name under which I published, spoke, and did ministry, and another name with my wedding planning business, just as I had one with the state and another with the federal government. And to add a self-deprecating note, I had to tell my pastor I couldn’t make a staff meeting because I had to go to court for a legal name change. So much for keeping up appearances. Did I mention I am a Bible teacher?
I struggled for years to be someone I expected others wanted to see. Yet, I couldn’t even tell people my name because it depended on who asked. I hadn’t caught the irony until God nudged me in my morning Bible reading. John 10:3 reminded me that God knows my name. Jesus, as a good shepherd, calls His own sheep by name and leads them. Finally, God allowed me to discover who I am in Christ. I am nothing without Him.
I didn’t need to strive to fit in. All I had to be was who God had created me to be – not what I expected others wanted me to be. In God’s eyes, I am valuable. As a sheep. As a child who belongs to Him. As His unique creation.
Even if I felt diminished by my unfortunate marriage choices and mistakes, God reminded me that He sees past everything. He sees my heart, and He knows my name, and He’s always known it.
And He also knows your name and what He uniquely created you to do. Even if we don’t realize just yet what it is, perhaps if we stop trying so hard to fit in and instead position ourselves to listen, we might hear God calling us by name and leading us. After all, we don’t have to know the way – because He does.