This week God revealed some things to me about myself that touched me at my core. He told me to STOP shrinking my abilities and that it was time to step into all of me!
Whoa! What a word. Tears immediately began to fall down. This is an area that I’ve been working on lately and that I thought I had tackled. In my previous post Take the First Step, I wrote about facing fear and taking the first step and when I first heard this I thought, “but I thought I was over that?” But as with anything we are working to let go of, it doesn’t happen overnight and many times there are layers that we must conquer.
So in my sadness and frustration with myself, God immediately showed me areas where I knew I could be doing more. I saw how I allowed years of disappointment and fear and worry shrink me back in such a profound way that it didn’t even occur to me that I’d been doing it. The Lord also brought to my remembrance of when it all began.
When I was in junior high, I was apart of a Sports Academy. It was located on the campus of my local junior high. During the day we had class as normal and after school we played basketball. We had separate academic classes and teachers from the rest of the school. When I started, I wasn’t a sports player at all. My mom put me in the program because I could stay after school. But being in the program was the best experience ever. This is where I developed my love for basketball. It’s where I formed close relationships of friends that I’m still connected with. I learned so much about myself and I really enjoyed my time in the program.
Since the program was a sports academy, the coaches stressed not only sports but academics as well. At the end of every semester and year, they acknowledged and celebrated the students who were excelling in academics. I was one of the students who excelled. I was on the honor roll every semester and was the recipient of many awards. At the end of the year, we celebrated with an annual awards banquet in which the program celebrated athletes and scholars. I was awarded Student of the Year in both 7th and 8th grade and received a beautiful, huge trophy.
Sounds wonderful doesn’t it? Well at the time, I didn’t think so. Winning the awards, being singled out when scoring high on a test or being the only one who completed their assignment or earning student of the year every year didn’t make me feel good, it made me sad. I was sad that there weren’t more like me. Sad that I would get teased for being smart and made fun of. I didn’t like feeling different. I didn’t like being singled out. I didn’t like being seen as “the smart girl.” I wanted others to be great. I wanted others to be on top with me.
So what did I do? In high school, I began to shrink. I started not giving my all. I allowed myself to not be singled out in whatever way I could. Now I still did well, I just didn’t do my best and this has carried over into my life now. Knowing what I know now, I so wish I could go back and tell the 12 year old Jonetta so much. And then it hit me!
It’s not too late. That 12 year old Jonetta is still in me. She’s still there protecting me from that sadness and the feeling of being singled out. And although I love her, it’s time to tell her what she needs. It’s time to write a letter to my younger self. So here it is.
Dear 12 year old Jonetta who is still living inside of me scared and sad,
JONETTA, be confident in who you are and your abilities. God made you uniquely you. Shine, it’s all for His glory. Do not allow what others say dictate what you do or who you are. Be the amazing woman, leader , person that God made you to be! I forgive you for shrinking back but now it’s time to live big! Live like no one is watching. Live in faith. Live without limits. Live! Live! With All My Love, the Confident, Joyful and Courageous Jonetta
Wow, that really just put a smile on my face and freed me from so much. I encourage whoever is reading this, if there is an area in your life that is being hindered due to something from your past that you wish you could change, know that you have the power right now to change it. Stop and write a letter to your younger self, I promise it will begin to set you free.