Dear old friend,
A few months ago you messaged me. I haven’t heard from you in a few years. When I saw your name in my inbox I was excited to hear from you – and then I saw the first lines of your message. You wanted to let me know that you didn’t know me anymore, you didn’t recognize this “liberal feminist” you were seeing. You said you didn’t recognize this “girl” who had an opinion on everything and needed to make a big deal out of every single women’s issue. You didn’t recognize me anymore and told me that I needed to do some soul searching and get back to the girl I used to be – the girl I am supposed to be. You then unfriended me.
The truth is, I hear this quite a bit from people who knew me years ago. I hear this regularly. The truth is, I have changed. I have changed a lot. The truth is, you’re right – you don’t know me anymore.
I am not a lost “girl” trying to figure out who I am and what I am doing anymore. I am a woman. I know who I am (most days) and am confident in my heart and have a more steady relationship with Christ than I have ever had before. My heart has changed so much. We used to sit around gossiping about people. I used to judge other women/girls for their clothing and makeup choices – having myself on a pedestal of “purity” and “modesty”. I used to think I was better than others for being a good worship leader and for being a “good Christian”. I used to quote Scripture at people like I knew what I was talking about – when, in fact, I was missing context and culture. I used to be loud and “the fun friend” because I was so freaking insecure and needed approval.
Yes. You’re right. You don’t know me anymore. Honestly, I am still getting to know the real, true, authentic me.
Let’s start here – I am a woman. Not a girl. (Cue Brittany Spears)
I am not longer an uptight, religious freak spewing religious rhetoric that agrees with everyone around me. I no longer assume that – to be a Christian – I must register Republican, make fun of feminists and liberals, focus on sin and shame rather than freedom and hope. I no longer live a life tied to religion and tradition and now cling to a Jesus that paid for me to live in friendship with the Trinity. I no longer live under the scrutiny of an angry God who constantly is punishing me with sickness, hard times, and failure. I no longer live in terror of an “end times” theology where we are all going to end up dying in concentration camps “for Jesus” until He returns. I no longer live needing the approval of all the people around me. I no longer live in ignorance of what is happening outside of my small bubble.
I am a woman doing my very best to serve a loving, faithful, and kind Father. I am a woman using my gifts as best I can through leading worship – not out of a need for acknowledgment or hope of celebrity, but out of a place of knowing who I am and who I worship. I am a woman listening to people I don’t understand or agree with – often times I have my mind blown by how much more awesome God is than I thought He was before! I am a woman doing my best to study Scripture for myself and not just assume that because the pastor or teacher I like said it, it’s true. I am no longer the girl who talks crap about people behind their back. I am no longer a pushover who allows people to use her and walk over her.
You used to encourage me in my call to women’s ministry – well, here I am running a ministry to women and you call me a “liberal feminist” because I’m not teaching submission, weakness, and subserviency.
In other ways, I am the same. I am still the dramatic human you probably remember. I am still the girl who laughs uncontrollably at really stupid things. I am still the girl who has to walk back things she says in moments of anger or frustration. I am still the girl who feels uncomfortable in crowds. I am still the girl with a big personality. I am still the girl who loves theological discussion – but, now, I am more open minded and teachable. I am still the girl who pushes boundaries – I just do it differently now. I am still the chick who is abnormally vulnerable. I still speak too quickly without fully listening. I am still intense and emotional.
I don’t have it all figured out. I am super flawed. I still hurt people unintentionally. I still make big mistakes. I still haven’t figured out where I land on big theological issues. But, I am finally starting to realize that I am powerful and courageous in and through Christ – not a crappy sinner who doesn’t deserve to live. I am realizing that I have so much more to offer the world than leading worship. I am finally realizing that I don’t have to keep toxic people in my life simply because I have known them forever. I am learning to stand up for myself and speak up for those who have no voice. I am learning to carry myself more confidently. I am still working on bettering myself.
But, I am not the girl you remember. And, I hope, if we meet in the future, I will be even more unrecognizable and an even better, more balanced version of myself.
I’m not sorry. I’m not sorry for changing and growing. I’m not sorry for maturing. If this version of me doesn’t work for you, that’s cool. I get it. I am very different from the insecure, approval hungry, girl who talked over people and judged everyone who was different from me and didn’t fall into my religious ideals.
I truly hope you have an amazing life.
best to you,