be yourself, everyone else is taken.

kathyescobar identity, just because i thought it was fun, spiritual formation 12 Comments

blog be yourself everyone else is taken* some of you have already read this post; it was a guest post for lisa colon delay’s blog series on spiritual guidance for bloggers in april.  i wanted to post it here in its entirety for my archives. i know a lot of you might not blog, but i think we can easily replace “blogging” with “anything-we-are-trying-to-do-that-is-hard-for-us-to-feel-free-in”.   that could be our faith or a vocation or a new passion or a relationship or a whole host of other things.  the same principles apply.   i am more convinced than ever that learning to be comfortable in our own skin is the work of our lives.  have a great weekend! 

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“Be yourself. Everyone else is already taken” – Oscar Wilde

I first discovered what a “blog” was in 2006, when we planted The Refuge, the wild little faith community I am part of.  Honestly, I had never heard the word before; I had been immersed in a hectic ministry role that was very insulated from the wider church conversation and I just wasn’t online.  This transition from mega-church to small-church-plant was a messy one for me.  I was in a lot of pain from my experience, so I reached out online after stumbling across some blogs while searching for church website ideas.  I felt an instant and immediate sense of relief when I discovered I wasn’t crazy, and I wasn’t alone in some of my feelings.  I found others with similar stories & similar church dreams.

The men and women I read were honest, bold, raw, and pure.

They weren’t selling anything, trying to push their agenda, or attempting to make-people-come-over-to-their-way-of-thinking.

Rather, they just told their stories.  Shared their experiences. Responded to other people’s comments with simple kindness and respect. And above all, they remained honest about what they were wrestling with and learning along the way.

Reading their blogs gave me hope.

They inspired me.

They pointed me toward God (even when they were wrestling with God).

They challenged me to think.

January 1, 2008, I started my own blog and dedicated myself to two simple commitments:

1. Write as honestly and purely as I could without editing or trying to worry about what other people might think.

2. Write once a week for one year.

It’s been a wild ride, and I have learned so much through the process over the past 4 years.

Out of everything, I think blogging has helped me learn to become more comfortable in my own skin, with my own voice, with who I am.

I think that is a very holy and sacred experience on our spiritual journey–learning to find safety and security in who we really are.  

Not who someone else is.

Not who we think we should be.

But in who we are.

I am someone who has always struggled with the message that I wasn’t enough somehow–not spiritual enough, not quiet enough, not domestic enough, not skinny enough, not organized enough, not-whatever-enough.

Blogging definitely intersected with this message, initially making it even worse.

In the first few years of my blog, I had so much internal anxiety about not being good enough, funny enough, theological enough, wise enough, or concise enough.   Whatever “enough” it was, I wasn’t.

But something began to shift in the past several years as I continued to find my voice and become more comfortable in my own skin out here.

I began to realize that the world doesn’t need another _________ or __________ or __________ (Insert name of any bloggers you are jealous of, and my guess is they are wrestling with similar feelings and go a little psycho about the same insecurities).

What’s missing is me.

Not because without me the world would stop spinning or the blogosphere would come to a screeching halt.

But because everyone else is taken.  

I think God wants us to learn how to become comfortable in our own skin, to be who-we-are, and not try to become someone else.

Blogging is a great place to practice this.

Making peace with who-we-are requires the ongoing-work-of-the-Holy-Spirit.  I doubt and question it all of the time.  I obsess before I hit “publish” and freak out about not being more like ______ or _______ (insert name of other blogger also obsessing about the same thing).

I need God’s help to remind me:  “Um, Kathy, just so you know, in the big scheme of things, it’s just a blog post.  And one other thing:  it’s a great place to practice just being you–with all your strengths & all your weaknesses.  Just you.”

And then I hit “publish” and take a deep breath and am reminded yet again, this is what transformation looks and feels like.

This is how we get more comfortable in our own skin.    This is how we learn to offer ourselves grace.  This is how we become “us” and not someone else.

Yikes, it’s hard to learn!   But blogging is a great spiritual practice that can help integrate this important truth into deep places in our hearts.

Yeah, my spiritual guidance for all us bloggers is this:  Be ourselves.  Everyone else is taken.