One of the exercises we did was an hour of silence and solitude. Time to spend encountering God. In silence. And solitude. An hour.
Longest. Hour. Ever.
It wasn't because I was bored. I wasn't. We were given some exercises to do—visualizations, Lectio Devina, intercessional prayer. It was intense. I hadn't really done something like this before. Honestly, by the end of it, I was drained. To the floor, drained. Emotionally, spiritually.
So I wasn't bored, I was exhausted.
What God revealed to me is this: I have very little idea who I am.
I'm a visual person. I have provided this handy-dandy diagram for your consideration:
I have always been told what I am by other people. A few nice things: I have book smarts, I have good intentions, I'm a good mom, I'm a good wife, I'm a good actor/dancer. But more not-so-nice things: I have no common sense, I don't say anything useful, I'm lazy, I'm an airhead, I'm mean, I can't sing, I can't take care of money, etc.
Some of these things came from close people, like family members. Others came from friends and acquaintances along the way.
I have very few opinions about myself, really. Instead, I take what other people say about me and apply it as if it were truth. Then I make some other assumptions (i.e., "Oh, she must think I'm a dummy for saying that. I'm a dummy.") and apply those as well.
I try so hard to get out from under the weight of these perceptions (or misconceptions) that I come off as—well, trying too hard. I do end up saying dumb things because I'm trying to impress people. I'm trying to be a better me than the one that exists.
But I've realized I need to get away from this thinking. I need to get to what God thinks of me. All these people from my past will pass away, as will their thoughts and ideas---including what they think of me and who they think I am. But God is permanent. His ideas are staying around for eternity. What he thinks matters, and it should matter more to me.
So now I need to figure out who God made me to be and get out from under the pressure of my past and who I've tried to be. And I guess I need to start from scratch. I'm not sure how to do that.
Anyone else been in the same boat? Because I'm going down with the ship and resurfacing as The Rachel God Made Me to Be.