Will the Real You Please Stand Up?!

My forty days/forty bags is going along VERY slow, but I am still determined to reach my goal by Easter Sunday!

In the mean time I want to post something that I have wanted to post since January.  Four of my kids are involved in our church.  My two oldest however are very involved.  They are both peer ministers, and are actively involved in the youth ministry program.  In addition they serve the community in other ways such as cantoring, sing in the choir, alter serve, and as an Eucharistic minister.  In January our Youth Minister puts on a high school retreat, this is a mandatory retreat for the confirmation candidates, but is open to all high school students.

Both of my kids volunteered to give witness talks this past January.  The theme of the retreat was Faith Book (a play on social media).  Oldest talk was on “discernment” and The Organized Child’s topic was “about me” (focusing on her life with our without God).  Oldest talk was very good; it focused on how we have to discern so many things especially as a teenager and how seeking God’s guidance can really help.  He did a great job and obviously I’m very proud of him.  However, it is The Organized Child’s talk that I want to share with you as it hit so close to home for me, especially as a woman.  I feel that there are many people who could benefit from her message.  So, with her permission I present her witness talk.

Talk #6 - About Me...The Organized Child

(The Organized Child walks in with a purple sparkly mask on.)

With a show of hands how many of you are wondering why I’m wearing a mask? (Wait a couple of seconds) Before I tell you I have a question for all of you and I don’t want you to raise your hand for this one I just want you to think about it to yourself.  How many of you are wearing a mask right now? (Let them think about it for a minute) Almost every day, people walk out of the house wearing a mask that is similar to this one. It’s clean, shiny, sparkly, and almost perfect.   It’s the fake, put together person, the one that we think society wants to see.  I’ve worn this mask before! In fact I’ve worn a lot of masks throughout my life.

(Pulls out the bullying mask) One of the masks I have worn is the mask of low self-esteem. I was bullied a lot when I was younger. In many of the activities and groups I was involved in, I was one of the youngest girls.  The older girls would make fun of me, laugh at me, and talk bad about me behind my back. They would walk all over me as if I were a doormat, I was timid and lonely.  Those girls seemed as if they had to get to the top and it didn’t matter who they hurt along the way. I was very blessed to have a mom that was able to take me out of these situations.  She put me in ones where I was no longer the youngest, but the oldest in the group or activity. By doing this I changed from a follower and grew into a leader. I also learned what type of leader I wanted to be. I knew what it felt like to be the outcast, to be made fun of, and to have no friends and I decided that I would never be a person that acted that way or did those things to others intentionally.  During these times I learned to pray for others, even the people who treated me badly.  I also prayed for the strength to tolerate the ridicule without being ugly back to these people.  I wanted to show God’s love to others.

(Pulls out the mask of fear) Another mask I wear is the mask of fear. I was often afraid of things when I was little. I was afraid of waking up and my family not being there anymore.  I was afraid of dreams.  I was afraid of walking ten feet away from my mom in the store. I had terrible panic attacks, and I was always worried about what others thought of me. For a lot of my childhood I worried more about things rather than having fun.  My mom made me a dream catcher to help with the bad dreams.  She went out and bought me pillowcases with saints and prayers on them and a Saint Michael necklace and had it blessed for me. I wore this necklace everywhere, when I went out, at night when I was sleeping, and even in the shower. I lost the medal several times in places like parking lots; somehow it always found its way back to me. St. Michael is my patron saint and over the years he has taught me to be strong and face the fears in this world.  I realized even though I had lost my medal, St. Michael and my guardian angel are always with me.  Even as a teenager I still struggle with anxiety and worry, but recently I read a daily meditation, even though I read the wrong day, it was exactly the comfort I needed.  I know God spoke to me through that meditation reiterating He is my constant companion and comfort.  I heard a movie quote that said “Don’t let the fear of striking out, keep you from playing the game.”  I felt like God sent that message straight to me.

(Pulls out the mask of difference)  I also wear the mask of difference. I have always felt different in so many ways.  I would have to say two of the biggest things that made me feel different were the fact that I was in speech therapy and occupational therapy when I was younger.  I struggled with the fact that in my homeschooling groups and my family at the time I was the only one that had to go to therapy. I hated when I had to go to all of the doctors’ appointments and have MRI’s and other tests I had to have while other kids were out having fun. I constantly wondered why me?!  I absolutely hated heights, ball pits, hugs, swings, learning to ride a bike, bridges, escalators, normal clothing and especially speech therapy!!!!  My therapies were hard and things other kids thought were fun were a nightmare for me.  However, I realized that the things I went through were not as bad as what some kids who are ill or have more challenging problems than I did, have to go through. Looking back on it I have learned that the therapies although challenging (and I hated them!) they helped me to be more “normal”.  I feel much better now.  These experiences taught me to carry the crosses that God gives me with grace.

(Pulls out the mask of Introvert) Another mask I wear is the mask of an introvert. Being an introvert I have to take time to process things and I also like to think before I speak. It’s very hard for me to be an introvert because by the time I come up with an idea or want to do or say something a lot of the extroverts have already decided, spoken up or taken the job. My mom is an extrovert; my father is an introvert masquerading as an extrovert and three of my siblings are extroverts.  I have also been raised with an extended family of extroverts that are in show business. While being an introvert is hard at times it does have its special virtues too, such as restraint, meekness, patience, fair-mindedness, unpretentiousness, and consideration.  I was able to accept God’s call with a lot of thought and discernment. I am able to speak and touch many people in small group settings.  Large group settings are a challenge for me but I know with God’s help I can do anything, even step out of my bubble and do things like give this talk.

(Pulls out the mask of fitting in) One more mask I wear is the mask of fitting in. Being raised in a homeschooling family, I have been taught very different than other teens. School is different, it’s very rigorous, I’m expected to get nothing but A’s, my mom says there is NO EXCUSE for anything less.  Our grading scale is different and I’m at home with my siblings 24/7.  My mom and dad for the most part are my teachers so I don’t get away with anything.  And, despite what most kids think I cannot do school in my pajamas.

Forget about school let’s talk about my parents rules and expectations.  I’m not allowed to wear shorts shorter than above my kneecap or tank tops or bikinis.  I can’t even wear a one piece bathing suit without baggies.  I have to dress modestly.  Modesty is a VERY important virtue to my parents.   I’m also not allowed to wear makeup on a regular basis and it’s really hard when society and my friends don’t have to follow the same rules.

I’m also expected to be involved with my family on a regular basis.  My siblings and I are expected to do regular chores such as clean the bathroom, keep our rooms clean, make dinner, and watch our younger siblings and anything else that is needed.  My dad expects me to help with larger chores.  This past year I had to help tar the roof with Oldest and my dad, in the heat, in my long shorts and regular t-shirt.  My parents expect all of us to have family time together on a regular basis with activities such as pizza night, movie night, games and outings.

The other BIGGEST thing that is really hard for me is I’m not allowed to date or have a boyfriend until I’m 18. Even then my parents have to meet the boy and approve before I can go out with him.  This is so important to my parents that my dad took me out to dinner to teach me how a boy should treat me.  My dad wants me to be treasured and cherished so at that dinner he gave me a chastity ring to wear until it’s replaced by my wedding ring.  While I feel special with my dad and I know my parents only want the best for me, it’s so hard for me to sit back and watch my friends go out with the boys I like. I have also been raised in the way that boys are supposed to ask the girl out and not the other way around.  In today’s world, it’s confusing because I am being raised opposite of the society norm.  I was even given a book entitled The ABC’s of Choosing a Good Husband as a confirmation gift.  What does that tell you?!

I often feel that I don’t fit in because I spend a lot of time with adults verses kids my own age. Sometimes I feel older than I am and un-cool into today’s society.  Even though I often don’t feel like I fit in I know that I was made in the image and likeness of God.  I have special gifts and talents and He wanted me here, I have a purpose in life.  I’ve learned that it’s ok to feel different sometimes, these experiences cause me to grow and I wouldn’t be the person I am today without them. 

Here’s the thing we all tend to listen to society in this day and age, we all want to fit in, we want to be popular, and accepted by others.  In our efforts to fit in we really end up pushing out God and God’s plans for our life. I can remember the first time I truly found God on my own terms not what my parents told me.  I was going to a different church’s youth group at the time.  Even though I was bullied there, I kept going because God was important to me and I wanted to get to know him better.

When I was younger I got a t-shirt in my Easter basket that said I am a princess, my father is the King of kings.  I recently heard a Disney commercial that represents who I feel I am and am called to be.

 (Pull out The Organized Child’s mask) I am a Princess. I am brave sometimes, I am scared sometimes. Sometimes I am brave even when I am scared. I believe in loyalty and trust. I believe loyalty is built on trust. I try to be generous. I am kind even when others are not so generous. I am a Princess. I think standing up for myself is important. I think standing up for others is more important, but standing with others is most important. I am a Princess. I believe compassion makes me strong, kindness is power, and family is the tightest bond of all. I have heard I am beautiful and I know I am strong. I promise and when I promise I never ever break that promise. I am a Princess.

(Pause!  Pull out Christ mask)  And to me, my Father is the King of Kings.

Play the song "Perfect People" by Natalie Grant

Never let 'em see you when you're breaking
Never let 'em see you when you fall
That's how we live and that's how we try
Tell the world you've got it all together
Never let them see what's underneath
Cover it up with a crooked smile
But it only lasts for a little while

There's no such thing as perfect people
There's no such thing as a perfect life
So come as you are, broken and scared
Lift up your heart and be amazed
And be changed by a perfect God

Suddenly it's like a weight is lifted
When you hear the words that you are loved
He knows where you are and where you've been
And you never have to go there again


Who lived and died to give new life
To heal our imperfections
So look up and see out let grace be enough


By a perfect God [5x]

Be changed by a perfect God

Be changed


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