[Practical steps for unapologetically living your life the way only YOU were designed to live it.]
It was finally on my 9th year of being a cheerleader (around age 13) that I decided I was done trying to the fit the mold of what being an accepted girl in high school was “supposed” to be.
I was DONE wearing bloomers and being “too big” for our warm up outfits. I was done picking on the girls who weren’t cheerleaders. I was done quitting soccer, dance, and piano all because I thought I had to be a Cheerleader to be liked & accepted & “fit the mold”.
Truthfully, I’ve always struggled with fighting to fit the mold.
Whatever “the mold” is..
I’ve always walked the path I was “supposed” to walk while gazing at the lane I actually wanted to be in.
What about you? Are you in a season of your life where you feel like all you do is try to change, mold, craft, suck into, cover up, say things, all in hopes of living up to what you feel like you “should” be?
I get it!
And during my Senior year of college I finally decided to be comfortable crafting my own mold and sit my happy butt there. For good.
Truth be told: one of my biggest struggles in
School, work, friendships, college, career, you name it
Was always me subconsciously trying too hard to fit a mold of what I told myself i was “supposed” to be.
I kept shoving my passions for soccer, dance, graphic design, majoring in nutrition, back into the hidden closet of “hobbies” until it finally was bursting at the seams like my Tupperware cabinet.
It wasn’t that I cared so much about the opinions of others – that’s really never been a huge struggle for me – but it was that I let others define what my path was supposed to look like.
I had so many questions about my other options but believed it was best to stay on the safe side of the fence.
“Okay, so if I’m a girl, I have to like makeup. And if I’m a christian girl, I have to have a prayer journal and say eloquent prayers. And if I’m a christian girl who loves fitness, I have to do yoga and pilates and other ‘gentle and quiet’ forms of exercise.”
We feel this constant need to boldly label ourselves with strong words while we let others decide what the qualifications are.
- Woman = always wears cute clothes, never has a messy home, never gets spaghetti sauce on her sweatshirt she’s worn 7 days in a row.
- Christian = boring, reads countless christian books, only has church friends, never drinks wine, never cusses out of road rage, never yells at her husband, always super duper happy & smiley and shares the gospel with everyone she meets.
- Health Nut = works out everyday, sacrifices sleep for fitness, never eats a bad meal, flat stomach, skinny legs AND a perfect butt, maintains or loses weight forever and for always.
Oh, and of course, never any cellulite in sight.
But if you don’t meet these qualifications, then you’ve yet to earn your title as a sufficient: Woman, Christian, Health Nut. Or whatever else it may be.
But, crazy thought…. what if we stayed in our own lanes?
What if we ran OUR own race? What if we stopped looking to OTHERS as the example for what OUR life is supposed to look like?
Because, truth be told, we only see snapshots of others lives.
And even deeper, we’re all just projecting our own opinions of what we think others think we are supposed to act & look like- when in reality, it’s the mold-breakers that make the differences, that change the world.
Do you think Oprah Winfrey, Steve Jobs, or shoot, even Jesus- let others decide what their path was going to look like?
The hate they received is almost comedic.
The rejection they faced is beyond daunting.
Black. Overweight. Nerdy. Unrealistic Dreamer. Liar. False prophet.
And even then, not only did they break the mold, but they asked: “What mold?”
God destines us for greatness – but so often, we tell him to “hush” so we can hear the lies of what society is trying to tell us instead.
What if we break through these stereotypes and actively peel ourselves out of these molds we’ve taken so much effort to shove ourselves into?
Crazy thought: Let’s try unapologetically accepting ourselves. Let’s give ourselves permission to live lives that we love & wake up on fire for it.
Because, sister, there is nothing more exhausting than rat-racing through life.
The reality is though, if you took off the mask, you would see that everybody is still spinning on their own wheels, exhausting themselves, and not even paying attention to yours.
The first step is realizing that we ARE not what we love doing.
We don’t have to follow the man-made manual that comes with having a passion for something.
The only thing that truly defines us is our stance with God. Are we a follower/friend of Him or have we chosen to leave Him behind?
- I LOVE fitness, but I am not health & fitness. But for so long, I thought there was only one way to to be healthy & fit (Read: How Your “Why” Can get you to your Fitness Goals [3 ways]
I thought that if I didn’t burpee my way into perfection, then it didn’t count.
But now, I consider myself just as much a lover of fitness – even if I miss a week of exercise, or if all I have time for is an evening walk with the hubs.
- I LOVED college – but for a while I convinced myself that I needed to go back and “try again” because I spent so much time having movie nights with my bestfriends, going to the gym, and scoping out the best places on campus to study, instead of going downtown, sleeping in, and wearing bean boots.
Although, disclaimer: can’t hate… I now have a pair lol.
- I LOVE Jesus, but I am not just a “church lady”.
I fricken hate reading, y’all.
Sounds lame, but for so long I thought I had to be an “avid reader” to be a sufficient Christian woman.
Not to mention: my prayers sound dis-jumbled and awkward. Probably because I’m ADD and most of the time I’m thinking about my grocery list or what’s happening next on Grey’s.
But to God, it’s a beautiful melody of praises to Him.
We miss so many of the chances, opportunities and blessings of responding to who God created us to be – because we’re trying so hard to be who we think everyone else says we should be.
Let’s move on to HOW you can craft YOUR mold & Stay in your own lane.
So, how can you start living the reality of what God designed for you instead of the illusion of what others decided for you?
Grab a pen, your favorite fuzzy blanket, and let’s get to business.
1. Start by asking yourself some simple questions:
- What are my big scary goals?
- What did I love as a kid?
- What do I spend my free time doing?
- What are my hobbies?
- What do I wish I was doing while I’m working?
- What kind of advice do people come to me for?
- What is my DREAM job?
- What do I spend useless time feeling ashamed/guilty for not fitting into/doing?
These answers will really help you navigate what truly sets you on fire.
2. Disregard the “Supposed To’s”
- Supposed to find your spouse in college
- Supposed to be a size 4
- Supposed to say pretty prayers
- Supposed to find a career in-line with your degree
One thing I got allllllll the time in college was: “you’re going to regret not getting drunk more”.
Or I often heard: “why the heck are you getting married so young? there’s so much life to be lived.”
But who says I can’t love college without hangovers, and who says I can’t boldly live my life with the world’s best adventure partner by my side?
3.Be Willing To Look A Little Crazy
- Start that business
- Jump on that treadmill
- March to the beat of your own drum
Push past that mental barrier that continues to hault you in your tracks.
When you get to that point that you always get to (you know the one: the 3rd rejection from investors, the 2nd week into not seeing progress from healthy eating, the eyerolls from the girls following the crowd).
Dare yourself to go a little further
Be willing to keep looking crazy until you no longer feel like you look crazy.
The pay off is just right on the other side of fear
So basically what I’m saying is:
There is no designated rule-book for your life.
When Christ calls you to places and you are actually willing to go, the reward is unfathomable.
You can want to be stronger & and healthier while still wanting to pursue a career as a Pastry Chef.
You can have a gentle & quiet spirit while being outgoing & having bold opinions.
You can still love Jesus & follow Him relentlessly, while struggling with sin that you continuously have to seek guidance on.
Let your light shine a little brighter, friend.
It wasn’t meant to dimly burn behind closed doors.
There are a million delicious apples in the orchard, but they’re all a little different. And together, they make a pretty darnnnn delicious pie.
Rest is found in our lane.
Why try to fit in somewhere you don’t belong when God created a space where you can flourish and grow and shine HIS light the way ONLY YOU can shine it?
You dont need to spend your life trying to find the mold that you fall into, because if you stop striving, you’d realize that the reason you can’t find and fit those molds is because you’re already effortlessly stuck into the one only you can fill.
So shine on sista frand.
There are people who will love the heck out of you for it.
What makes you come alive? What gifts and talents do you have? What’s your dream job, your wildest hairest dream? Be that.
The only time we “fail” is when we run a race we were never designed to run.
So, moral of the story: be you. And be you proudly.
- Run your own race and run it well.
Don fret about trying to find your mold – because you’re already in it.
Keep your head up, walk strong, and bring to light what you keep shoving back into the Tupperware cabinet.
Related Read: 5 Quick Tips To Feel More Confident