Friday, April 5, 2013

Do over...from guest, Bronte Hughes

Hello everyone, this is one of my best friends...she's one of the ones I was talking about in the earlier posts about friends. Her name is Bronte Hughes. She graduated from Eastern University in 2011 with a degree in Social Work. She spent some time traveling to India and Africa after graduation. This beautiful Aussie was my roommate in college and I can tell you she is a blast to be around! She is currently working as a Social Worker in the Philadelphia area.
She wanted to share a little something with you all about her times growing up and hopefully you can gain some insight from her! Let's go check it out!

When Alleigh asked me to share with you something I have learned in my own life, it wasn’t one of those moments where some epiphany instantly jumped into my mind. I took the time to really think about not just specific situations or events, but to look at the underlying issues that may have caused certain circumstances in my life as a young(er) person.

And here it is: definition. The definition of yourself. How, and by what, do you define yourself?

I understand that in middle school and high school (and college.. and the workplace….) the pressure to “fit in” is huge. Trust me, I’ve been there, plus some.. Moving to a new country at age 14 doesn’t exactly make it an easy path when it comes to “figuring out who you are”.

But let me tell you this: only YOU and your GOD can define you. People around you are going to try to do that for you – they are going to try to tell you what music you should like, what clothes look the best, and how you should act when you’re trying to be funny. They’re going to try point out the weird and “wrong” things about you. The thing is though – in my eyes (and I think in God’s) – the most beautiful thing you can be is ORIGINAL. If you don’t like the same music, that’s ok. If you dress in your own creative way - good for you! If you think your jokes are funny – keep telling them. I won’t promise you you’ll be the most “popular” girl in school, but if you continue to dwell on the person who God made you to be – an individual – you will have strength and freedom above all the popularity you could think of.

But let’s delve deeper, because outer things such as clothes and music don’t necessarily define us. I encourage you to take the time to sit and figure yourself out. Make a list of your characteristics – good and bad. Think about what you’re good at, what makes you nervous, what brings you the most joy. I can look back at photos of myself in high school and see in my face when I was the most joyful, and it wasn’t at a school dance with my new outfit, it wasn’t hanging out with “the cool kids”. It was when I was doing the things I am best at, and when I was living out God’s call on my life. This will be a life-long process – I’m still trying to figure myself out in my mid-20s, but I wish I had started sooner. I wish I hadn’t defined myself by who I was dating, or what other people were saying about me. Invest in people who know the REAL you, and I PROMISE to you that love and acceptance will be a blessing above and beyond popularity.

So what do I hope to pass on to you?

That the only definition you need to memorise is this:

You are a child of God made to worship Him and His holiness, and you were made to be LOVED.

Never do I feel more like myself than when I break down in His presence and realise my own humanity, failures, and flaws, and my strengths. He takes us, and uses us in our own individual and unique ways. Even the bad stuff. Those mistakes I made when I was too busy letting other people define me? They have been used and been redeemed. True definition and true identity is found in knowing that we are broken, but that is when God touches us and covers us with His love. Let go of expectations and opinions and simply live as the person God created you to be.  That is the place where we experience the most real and genuine love possible.

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