be yourself, everyone else is taken.

blog be yourself everyone else is taken* some of you have already read this post; it was a guest post for lisa colon delay’s blog series on spiritual guidance for bloggers in april.  i wanted to post it here in its entirety for my archives. i know a lot of you might not blog, but i think we can easily replace “blogging” with “anything-we-are-trying-to-do-that-is-hard-for-us-to-feel-free-in”.   that could be our faith or a vocation or a new passion or a relationship or a whole host of other things.  the same principles apply.   i am more convinced than ever that learning to be comfortable in our own skin is the work of our lives.  have a great weekend! 

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“Be yourself. Everyone else is already taken” – Oscar Wilde

I first discovered what a “blog” was in 2006, when we planted The Refuge, the wild little faith community I am part of.  Honestly, I had never heard the word before; I had been immersed in a hectic ministry role that was very insulated from the wider church conversation and I just wasn’t online.  This transition from mega-church to small-church-plant was a messy one for me.  I was in a lot of pain from my experience, so I reached out online after stumbling across some blogs while searching for church website ideas.  I felt an instant and immediate sense of relief when I discovered I wasn’t crazy, and I wasn’t alone in some of my feelings.  I found others with similar stories & similar church dreams.

The men and women I read were honest, bold, raw, and pure.

They weren’t selling anything, trying to push their agenda, or attempting to make-people-come-over-to-their-way-of-thinking.

Rather, they just told their stories.  Shared their experiences. Responded to other people’s comments with simple kindness and respect. And above all, they remained honest about what they were wrestling with and learning along the way.

Reading their blogs gave me hope.

They inspired me.

They pointed me toward God (even when they were wrestling with God).

They challenged me to think.

January 1, 2008, I started my own blog and dedicated myself to two simple commitments:

1. Write as honestly and purely as I could without editing or trying to worry about what other people might think.

2. Write once a week for one year.

It’s been a wild ride, and I have learned so much through the process over the past 4 years.

Out of everything, I think blogging has helped me learn to become more comfortable in my own skin, with my own voice, with who I am.

I think that is a very holy and sacred experience on our spiritual journey–learning to find safety and security in who we really are.  

Not who someone else is.

Not who we think we should be.

But in who we are.

I am someone who has always struggled with the message that I wasn’t enough somehow–not spiritual enough, not quiet enough, not domestic enough, not skinny enough, not organized enough, not-whatever-enough.

Blogging definitely intersected with this message, initially making it even worse.

In the first few years of my blog, I had so much internal anxiety about not being good enough, funny enough, theological enough, wise enough, or concise enough.   Whatever “enough” it was, I wasn’t.

But something began to shift in the past several years as I continued to find my voice and become more comfortable in my own skin out here.

I began to realize that the world doesn’t need another _________ or __________ or __________ (Insert name of any bloggers you are jealous of, and my guess is they are wrestling with similar feelings and go a little psycho about the same insecurities).

What’s missing is me.

Not because without me the world would stop spinning or the blogosphere would come to a screeching halt.

But because everyone else is taken.  

I think God wants us to learn how to become comfortable in our own skin, to be who-we-are, and not try to become someone else.

Blogging is a great place to practice this.

Making peace with who-we-are requires the ongoing-work-of-the-Holy-Spirit.  I doubt and question it all of the time.  I obsess before I hit “publish” and freak out about not being more like ______ or _______ (insert name of other blogger also obsessing about the same thing).

I need God’s help to remind me:  “Um, Kathy, just so you know, in the big scheme of things, it’s just a blog post.  And one other thing:  it’s a great place to practice just being you–with all your strengths & all your weaknesses.  Just you.”

And then I hit “publish” and take a deep breath and am reminded yet again, this is what transformation looks and feels like.

This is how we get more comfortable in our own skin.    This is how we learn to offer ourselves grace.  This is how we become “us” and not someone else.

Yikes, it’s hard to learn!   But blogging is a great spiritual practice that can help integrate this important truth into deep places in our hearts.

Yeah, my spiritual guidance for all us bloggers is this:  Be ourselves.  Everyone else is taken.

12 Comments

  • This is great! I’ve started my blog as a way to be more comfortable with myself and I’ve been experiencing some anxiety about it. In fact, I havent’ written anything in two months. This is very helpful and gives me hope. Thank you for sharing your story.

    Reply
    • thanks, sharon. it can be so anxiety-provoking and have so many weird things attached to it. here’s to piece and freedom and flow!

      Reply
  • I have found the very same thing with my blog, Kathy, these past four+ years.

    Yeah, the doing part is so much harder. I am pondering a recent reading of Atlas Shrugged — and the 12 pages of notes I took — and was struck by John Galt’s claim (in the midst of his three hour “sermon”: “We never make assertions…” “We do not tell — we show…” “We do not claim — we prove…” And this one: “Justice is the act of acknowledging that which exists.”

    We just need to be more attuned to seeing from God’s perspective … and sans “log” is preferred 🙂

    “I see you” is such a powerful affirmation….

    Be blessed, sister.

    Reply
  • Kathy – We love the way you think. We love who you are. We love who you are becoming. May the Spirit of our Lord continue to shape you into HER image.

    *hugs*
    Jim

    Reply
  • wow. I have been wanting to start a blog of my own for over a year but feel stuck. perhaps because I’m so new to this idea of loving who I am and being ok with her, even when others aren’t. It feels scary to put myself out there, even in a blog comment. I honor you for your courage in stepping out into who you are and encouraging others to do the same.

    and fyi, loved the Oscar Wilde quote. so so funny and true!

    Reply
    • thanks for sharing, tamara, no doubt it is scary to do. sometimes i get these moments of shame & a feeling of “i’m just going to pull the plug on the whole thing because it’s so freaky” but i know that would be out of fear and in the end, i would miss out on what i’m supposed to keep learning through this process. oh it’s been one of the most healing things i’ve ever done. keep me posted on what emerges for you, too.

      Reply
  • I knew that tonight, it would be helpful to read this again. Especially, as I am in an internal game of self-worth battleship, this line spoke to me: “I think that is a very holy and sacred experience on our spiritual journey, learning to find safety and security in who we really are.”

    For so long, I crafted a pretty “solid” identity.. for 20 years. It was.. easy to be myself, because *I* created her. It is challenging to be comfortable in this chick, er, my skin because, she is so full of paradox.;) Integration is bumpy, but I hear possible. Lessening of self-loathing, even just a fraction? YES please. Because I would really, really, really like to be comfortable in

    Reply
    • “self-worth battleship” you have the best words! love you my dear. yes, integration is bumpy but possible and glad we are all in the thick of learning these things together.

      Reply
  • I love the way you write this blog.Blogging is good way to bring you closer to spirituality and it is also a good way to meditating.So i want to congratulate you for your awesome way of writing.

    Reply

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