Today’s post was born out of a whole lot of past angst. That’s my latest word – angst. I can’t seem to use it enough. I angst gonna eat that. Oh my angst. That outfit is angst. Angst me. I didn’t say I was using it correctly.
It was Christmas Day in the early 1980’s. I was 8 or 9 years old, and the Christmas presents were stacked wall-to-wall in my grandparents’ basement. I was so excited to open my gifts!
You need to know that I was a huge tomboy. Did I say huge? Sneakers, ball caps, skateboards, sports…. I took ‘tomboy’ to it’s apex – I perfected it. So imagine my disappointment when I opened my first gift – a Precious Moments figurine, along with a Precious Moments Club membership. I was horrified. But it was only the first gift, so I put on a brave face and held it together. Unfortunately that didn’t last long.
After opening countless subsequent Precious Moments figurines, along with some jewelry and many other non-fun, breakable items, my emotional dam broke and I burst into tears.
Now let me get to the heart of it: I wasn’t crying because of the gifts themselves (although they were dreadful). I was crying because in that moment I could only think of two possible reasons why I was being given these things – either no one knew me well enough to know what I liked, or they were trying to change me into something I wasn’t. It didn’t matter if neither was true – that was my perception at the time.
Of course my family felt horrible. It really was the worst Christmas ever. And today you can’t even sell Precious Moments in a garage sale. No one wants them. Imagine that.
This story does have a happy ending, though. The next Christmas was perfect – a baseball glove, a basketball, Match Box cars with the cool car carrier – even a pogo stick! It was the best Christmas ever – I felt known, accepted and loved.
I used to think that something was wrong with me because I wasn’t girly. For a long time I thought that God had made a mistake when he gave me a uterus and a set of ovaries. Many nights I would cry myself to sleep and pray that I would awake as a boy. It’s no fun feeling like a stranger in your own body.
If I could go back in time and talk to me, I would tell little Amy that she is completely normal and totally awesome. I would tell her to be confident in who she is and not to worry about what other people think. I would tell her to embrace how God created her and never look back.
And then I would tell her to keep reminding herself of that truth every day of her life.
Why is this important? I’ve learned that when I’m focused on how other people perceive me, I’m not focused on other people, and I’m definitely not focused on God. The best way to get over insecurity is to stop focusing inward and start focusing outward.
Today I love being a woman. I love being a wife, a mom, a sister, a daughter, an aunt. But every now and then I need to remind myself that I am perfectly known, accepted and loved by my heavenly Father, and it’s still okay to be me.
And it’s okay to be you, too.
Unless you like Precious Moments figurines.