Tuesday, January 28, 2014

I Am Yours

I grew up in a small school and an even smaller church.

I liked it that way because it was safe. I knew everyone, and everyone knew me.

They knew that I could play the piano, that I was a leader, and that I was smart. They also knew that I wasn't good at sports and I didn't like being stared at, so they never made me feel uncomfortable. I had blonde hair and blue eyes and I loved writing. I wanted to be a speech language pathologist and my favourite colour was purple. I loved the Jonas Brothers and Hannah Montana. My mom was a teacher, my sister had autism, and my dad was a welder.

That was me, inside and out. I didn't have to prove myself. I had purpose. 

When I was 12, I moved from a church of 100 to a church of 1000.

Culture shock.

Suddenly, I wasn't the blonde-haired, blue-eyed, piano-playing, purple-loving, potential author.

I was one face in a crowd of hundreds. I was one 12 year old girl among ten.

I wasn't the best at playing the piano. And there were a lot of people who were smart.

Nobody cared that I didn't like being stared at, so I started this whole new thing where my face turned ten shades of red every time somebody made eye contact with me. People came to know me as 'that shy girl' or 'Kayla who doesn't talk.'

That wasn't who I used to be. I no longer had purpose.

When I was 14, I moved from a school of under 200, to a school of almost 2000. From a class of 11, to a class of 300.

I wasn't the blonde-haired, blue-eyed, piano-playing, purple-loving, potential author.

I was one face in a crowd of thousands. I was one 14 year old girl among hundreds.

Nobody cared that I had been valedictorian. There were ten more of those. Nobody cared that I loved to write. So did 50 other people. At one point I became known as 'blue sweater girl' because nobody cared about my name. There were six other Kaylas.

Despite my identity struggle, I eventually became known for a few things.

Being a teacher's pet (Embarrassing but true - I actually had more teacher friends than student friends)
Being an overachiever (I went beyond perfectionism)
Being blonde (Not because of my hair colour)
Playing the piccolo (I was the one who had the honour of piercing everyone's ears)
Being friends with Hailey Schwass (the smartest girl in school)

And (to my surprise) for loving God.

I didn't fully realize this until I went back for commencement this past fall. Somehow I ended up with the "Brooklin Village Church Award." I'm not entirely sure how this happened because I had never been a leader in the Christian group and I was never someone who outwardly evangelized in school. I had always tried to demonstrate servant-like qualities, and I tried to spread God's love. I hoped that people would see a difference in me. But I never felt like I had enough confidence to be significant (remember I lost all my 'Kayla-qualities').

Someone must have seen potential in me.

Someone saw my purpose even though I couldn't see it myself.

The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me.
(Psalm 108:8)

I had no idea where my life was going when I was in highschool. I mean, I knew what I wanted to do. And I knew in my head that God was taking me somewhere. But my heart often questioned if He had a plan.

Of course He did.

He shone through me when I didn't think that I was making a difference. He was (and is still) fulfilling His purpose. 

Now back to where I started.

All those things that I thought defined me (blonde-haired, blue-eyed, piano-playing, purple-loving, potential author) were really not the important things.

We all have different gifts, each of which came because of the grace God gave us ... Anyone who has the gift of serving should serve. Anyone who has the gift of teaching should teach. Whoever has the gift of encouraging others should encourage. Whoever has the gift of giving to others should give freely. Anyone who has the gift of being a leader should try hard when he leads. Whoever has the gift of showing mercy to others should do so with joy. Your love must be real.
(Romans 12: 6-9a)

I felt so lost when I believed that other people provided me with my purpose. I felt like I didn't have a reason to be here.

We have all been provided with incredible gifts. Gifts that come from God. We need to use God's gifts intentionally. We will find the most joy when we are doing what we were created to do.

That doesn't mean that it's wrong to be good at other things or to love doing other things. But don't let that become who you are. 

You are a person who has been fearfully and wonderfully made. You are chosen (1 Peter 2:9). You are forgiven (Colossians 2:13-14). You are dearly loved (Colossians 3:12). You are a masterpiece (Ephesians 2:10). You might have the gift of serving, teaching, encouraging, giving, or leading.

Everything else is simply an extra blessing.

You have a purpose in Christ.
You were created for that purpose.
Your purpose is being fulfilled.
And most importantly...

You belong.


Photo Credit: Katie Cottrell 

My soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine