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In My Beginning

When I was younger, I so wanted to be in the “in” crowd. You know the ones. The kids that everyone wanted to hang out with. The ones who set the trends. In my high school, they were the ones who wore Guess jeans and IZOD shirts (I know that gives away my age … I was a child of the ’80s!). They had a lot of money and threw wild parties. They all looked the same … and I so badly wanted to be just like them.

But the thing is, I wasn’t just like them. I was different. I did not like large crowds and wild parties. I preferred one-on-one time with friends. I did not own any Guess jeans (have you heard of Kmart?), and we definitely did not have a lot of money. I worked at Burger King and sang in the choir—not exactly popular material. I used to hate those differences. I used to try to fit myself into the mold I thought would make me like everyone else. But the problem was that no matter how hard I tried to make myself like them, the more obvious it became that I was different. And I thought that there must be something wrong with me.

Then I discovered Psalm 139, where it tells me that God created all of those differences in me. He did not want me to be exactly like everyone else. As a matter of fact, in verse 14 it tells me that I am fearfully and wonderfully made. It says in verse 13 that God was there creating me—each and every facet of me—from the very beginning. He created my inmost being, those things that make me who I am—my personality, my strengths and weaknesses, my gifts and talents … even my doubts and insecurities. Verse 16 tells me that my days are ordained. He created each piece of me for a specific purpose that I am here on earth to fulfill. Psalm 139 just goes on and on, telling me that He knows everything about me—from the moment I was conceived until my last days.

That is an amazing thing to realize, and an even harder thing to embrace. All of those things that I do not like about myself were created by God exactly for me. What do you do with that? For me, the answer is again found in Psalm 139.

The whole psalm is a prayer asking God to search our hearts and find out where our focus is. In high school my focus was being in the “in crowd,” but that brought me nothing. What if I made my focus God? What if I made my focus to have Him lead and guide me daily?

“Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”

It has been years since high school and I am still learning how to embrace who I am. I have been slowly learning who God has made me. I am introverted—so I like to spend time alone and with just a few close friends. This makes me a really good listener. I am okay with that. I have realized that although I don’t like large crowds, I love to write. Instead of beating myself up because I am not out partying, I’ve been enjoying the quiet times where I can write. Other people have been reading my writings and have told me how blessed they are by it. This has been an enormous step in accepting who I am. I can see that maybe the way God wired me up is for a reason. Maybe He does know what He is doing after all.

Here’s a Challenge:

Make a list of all of the things that are unique about you. Then pray through Psalm 139 and thank God for all of those things. Ask Him to show you how those things that make you unique can be used for His glory. In your job, in your relationships, etc.

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[Amie Carlson is on staff with Axis, a twentysomething ministry at WIllow Creek Community Church.]

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