If you’ve been keeping up with my past posts, you’ll know that I’ve been on a personal journey. In my post ‘Finding my Purpose’, I mentioned I lacked self-confidence. This may be one the biggest understatements I’ve ever made.
I developed a lot of insecurities, so my self-confidence has never been very high. I’ve always been my own worst critic, often making fun of myself before someone else could do it for me. I’ve been let down, even ostracized by people I thought were my friends. I’ve been made fun of, pushed around, and verbally abused by people I allowed close to me.” -Jeni Lancaster, Finding My Purpose
Have you ever felt this way? It’s not an easy road to travel. It can be lonely, painful, and downright depressing at times. I have let too many people dictate what I thought of myself. Who’s opinion really matters here, anyway?
Because of those insecurities, I told myself a lot of lies and lived in an almost constant state of self-criticism. I told myself I was obnoxious and too obtrusive with my scraggly hair and weird clothes. I was convinced that if anyone were to look at me too long they would immediately notice every flaw on my face (especially my big nose). I began to learn things that would perhaps, give me a certain amount of grace and acceptance in their sight, like playing guitar and photography. “Yeah she’s not that pretty, but did you hear her play the guitar?” I would totally be okay if someone said that.
I played this game well, accepting what I thought were my worst qualities and “moving on”.
The truth is, I LIED to myself so often that I began believing it.”
You can do that, you know. Adolph Hitler once said, “If you tell a lie long enough and loud enough and often enough, people will believe it.” Guess what, he was right.
I thought it would make things easier. It didn’t. It has taken me a long time to realize that I spent all those years lying to myself. Turns out, I’m not ugly after all. My hair isn’t even scraggly and lately I’m discovering that I actually like the reddish highlights running through it. You know what else? People like me.
I spent almost 10 years with a wall built around myself. I drew my circle smaller and smaller, trying to protect myself by limiting the number of close friends I had. I took every compliment with about a pound of salt. If someone complimented me on a song I sang, I would just tell myself, “Well, they were just being nice” or “They must not have heard it very well.” I believed my humor was chronically sarcastic and used my past experiences as a reason to be cynical, considering it as a sign of personal strength. I refused to be hurt by anyone, thus my feelings and emotions were always kept in check. But, I was lying to myself.
I wasn’t a person you would want to be friends with. And God certainly couldn’t use me in that state of mind. I really convinced myself that this was my personality. Surely, this was me.
But it wasn’t. It wasn’t me at all.
Several months ago I began a journey. It started with just one small step out of my comfort zone. That one small step has completely and totally transformed me.
I was asked to give a class on essential oils. I spent weeks preparing for it and the moment came and I accomplished it like I’d been public speaking for months. BAM. Just like that. I even spoke to people one-on-one at the class. Actually, they were waiting to talk to me. ME.
I guess the class went well, so I was asked to do it again. And again. Suddenly, I’m traveling out of state to hold a few home classes for friends. Next thing I know, I’m flying to Dallas, Texas for a 3-day oils convention with about 12,000 people I don’t know. I was told to bring business cards and meet new people.
So that’s what I did. While waiting in line for classes, I started talking to the people around me. I handed out my card and offered advice and tips on business building. People were starting to crowd around, women were pulling out notebooks and writing down what I said, asking me to repeat website addresses and names. For those three days, women were recognizing me and saving my seat. I felt like a celebrity.
Those three days completely changed my life. I came back with the realization that I have so much more to offer than what I’ve been giving.
How can I be used by God if I’ve got a 9-foot wall built up around me? How can He use me to be a light to others, if I’m too self-conscious to speak? How can I speak words of life, if everything I say is said with a dose of cynicism?
It’s been one step forward after another and I am now drawing my circle of friends with an infinite line. I have spent far too long focusing on myself and the affect others have on me. I’m ready to turn it around and focus on others and how I can make a positive difference in someone else’s life.
These past few months, my life has begun to truly overflow. By blessing others, I have blessed myself. By lifting someone up, I have lifted my own heart.
I am truly thankful for the opportunity to realize I could change. I had no idea I could be different. Where once I spoke with low self-esteem and a lack of confidence, I now speak with purpose and intent. Where once my thoughts were critical and self-depreciating, they are now hopeful and life-giving.
If you feel like you’ve built a wall up around yourself or if you’re looking for purpose in your life, I want to encourage you to step out of your comfort zone. A comfort zone is a beautiful place, but nothing ever grows there. How can you expect to bless anyone else if you’re too guarded to open up?
Live fully. Live completely. Live unafraid and unabashed. Stop lying to yourself.
This has been a very personal post for me, as it lays out all my past insecurities for everyone to see. It is my sincerest desire that my confession will be encouraging to you. If my story has resonated with you, would you leave me a comment?