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If you missed my introduction to Holley Gerth’s book “You’re Already Amazing:”Embracing Who You Are, Becoming All God Created You to Be“ check it out here. To get a copy of her book, click the title.
Welcome to part 2 of our journey to fully accepting our awesomeness. This week we are attempting to answer the question “Who Am I?” I hope you remembered to complete last week’s homework. I did. I have to admit it felt a little strange standing in the mirror and calling myself amazing. Kinda reminds of something I used to see my dad do when visiting him as a kid. He used to stare in the mirror and talk about how good he looked. It was weird.
Holley’s chapter “Who Am I, Really?” speaks to our desire to live out our purpose. Knowing who we are is key to believing we’re already amazing AND fulfilling our purpose. The showdown is the battle between who we think we are who God created us to be.
I remember my first year as a teacher and thinking teaching was not for me. I had such a rough first year, I really believed that I made a mistake. I thought I somehow missed my purpose. And if teaching wasn’t my purpose, then what was my purpose? See, I come from a family of teachers, so teaching was all I ever knew and it was a devastating blow to think that I might have to start from scratch after 5 years in college for education. My students loved me and thought I did a wonderful job, but I didn’t think so. Reading the “Who Am I, Really? chapter in Holley’s book helped me to see that struggling to believe I was amazing and questioning my purpose were due to identity issues. At the time it just didn’t seem like my natural characteristics (which means a lot of acting) matched the characteristics of a quality teacher (according to administration standards). I mean, I had a strong work ethic and inspired greatness in my kids, but it’s not in my nature to play the assessment game that education has turned into.I didn’t go into education just to get vacation time. This thang was and still is serious to me. I get it now. Thanks Holley!
Let’s get more into this…
Holley says that we must get comfortable with exploring our identity and stop feeling guilty for wanting to know more about ourselves. She breaks this identity journey into three parts; strengths, skills, and who. I think this is a cool idea because it gets to the core of who we are. Think about it. When most of us are asked the big question “Who are you?” we normally respond with what we do for a living as if our role in society defines who we are. I’m a wife, mother to 3 boys and an angel baby girl, as well as a teacher. As lovely as it may be to tell people these things about myself, none of it really gets to the heart of my identity. These things are just different hats that I wear. So, who am I when the hats are off?
Think about it…
Our innate characteristics determine our success as we play these different roles.
So, who am I, really?
Who are you, really?
I stated earlier that identifying our strengths is the first step in identifying who we are. Holley provides a list, in which we are asked to choose three. I saw more than three on the list, so it was difficult to narrow it down. But, you wanna know what I found interesting? I saw characteristics that I didn’t consider strengths. For example, I’m a sensitive person. I just am and there’s no way around it. Even at 36, I still fight my sensitive nature. Holley listed sensitivity as a strength. What an eye-opener? Really? My sensitivity is why I struggle to watch the news. I internalize others’ pain and struggles and I carry it with me like a new purse. I have always hated this about myself.
Before reading Holley’s book, I believed this to be my weakness. I guess it’s not. So, how can I look at this as strength? Being sensitive allows me to appreciate and respond to other’s feelings. As a teacher, I’m around kids. And kids have issues. Their worlds are not the innocent little neat packages that they should be. So, kids talk to me. They aren’t afraid to write about their problems. They know I understand that it’s difficult to concentrate on Shakespeare when their worlds are falling apart. When momma didn’t come home the night before. When they can’t stop thinking about their deceased dad. Being sensitive is one of the reasons my kids still keep in touch long after being their teacher. Several weeks ago, one of my former students told me that she wish she could be transferred back to my class. When I asked for a reason, she said it is because I “get them.” She said I understand kids.
When identifying your strengths, remember to look for the characteristics that can be of service to others. Holley goes into greater depth about strengths in her book, so get it here and learn to tap into the power of your strengths.
Sensitivity is no longer a curse, but God’s blessing bestowed upon me, so that I can value other people’s feelings.
According to Holley, while a strength is more of who we are, a skill is something we do. Our strengths are expressed in our skills. And just like strengths, our skills are also used as a service to others.
Many times, it seems like we live in a time where we are always looking at how our strengths and skills can benefit ourselves. I guess that’s the reason why I also thought of sensitivity as more of a curse. But, we haven’t been put on this Earth just to serve ourselves. Our lives are not just about us. We each have strengths, skills, gifts, and talents that others need. So, we all should ask ourselves how we can use what God has given us to bless other people.
Holley provides us with another list to choose three skills. And she does it to me again. I see skills that I didn’t consider as skills. My students always say that I should be a counselor or motivational speaker. Counseling and motivating are two skills on the list. When my kids get “outta pocket,” they can expect the motivational speaker in me to come out. I try so hard not to do this, but I just can’t help myself. I can’t sit back and pretend like a poor work ethic is going to help them in the future.
I will let you do the next part of connecting your strengths and skills on your own, when you get her book. One thing I do want to point out though, is that she says we display our skills at different points in our lives. So, our strengths are a part of who we are and the expressing of those strengths as skills are used as needed.
The culminating activity of this chapter is our “who” and Holley provides a 5 minute task to help us figure it out. Our “who” is not about us, it’s about others. Who are we called to serve at this point in our lives? Who do you best connect with? Holley says that just like certain skills are used for different points in our lives, our “who” can be seasonal as well. And, even if we can’t specifically identify who we are called to serve, we can just make ourselves available to those around us.
So, just because I’ve spent the last 12 years serving teenagers doesn’t mean that I will spend the next 12 years doing the same. Even though I thought I made a mistake in my calling 12 years ago, a few years later I realized that I am where I am supposed to be. However, I’m pretty sure that my “who” is getting ready to change. I’m feeling a pull in a new direction. In fact, I’ve started thinking about how I can serve new teachers now. My Master’s is in Curriculum and Instruction and I’m starting to envision myself on the college level. And, I just signed up to be an It Works! Distributor because I also feel the pull of entrepreneurship. What’s a lady to do?
We are all called to make a difference in the world in our own unique and amazing way. We must do our part and learn to embrace who God has made us to be. That’s really what it’s all about, right? Understanding that in our creation God gave us specific strengths and skills for a purpose.
Ladies, let’s do our part and be everything God has called us to be. The showdown is over. We are who he says we are. He is the creator and we are His clay.
This week’s homework
- If you don’t have Holley’s book, get it here
- Complete the Strength, Skills, and Who assignments
Peace and Blessings,