During the week in which we celebrated our country’s independence, our freedom, I think about what it means to be free as an individual– not to say and do things that hurt others, but to be my unique self. It seems that much of my ability to just be me has been limited by my self-consciousness, my over concern with how I appear to others. I’ve lived with too much fear of ‘doing things wrong,’ as if there is some standard of doing things right that I’m being judged by.
Now, at 63 years old, I’m learning to let go of those things that have bound me. In my part-time position as a research nurse, I’m working with a group of staff who are mostly forty-and-under, employment counselors, none of them nurses. They have a much more relaxed view of work than what I’ve been accustomed to as a professional nurse for the last forty years. There are some things they can learn from me, but overall, I think now we live in a different time and I need to change to adapt to my new working environment. I can learn from these ‘young people’ who would probably tell me to, “lighten up.”
Even in the writing community, through speakers at conferences and on podcasts, their sage advice is to remember, “It’s not about you. It’s about your readers.” At first I thought, “What? I’m doing all the work of getting things onto the page. It’s not about me, my story?” But later, as I considered myself as a reader, when I’m engrossed in a good book, I’m applying my perception to that story, my interpretation of everything I read is through the lens of my life, not the author’s. I also consider that if I keep this in mind, I can let go of some of my worry with writing the perfect post or chapter. Instead, with each time I sit at my computer, I can think of you and before I start writing I pray that through the muse that God’s given me, I’ll construct something that will speak to you. It helps me to be free of the burden of outcomes.
This morning when I walked, it was cool and raining and reminded me of my solo journey last September to Iona, Scotland. There I lived in a faith community at the Abbey for a week. The night before I was to check in, I stayed at a B & B across the sound from Iona. That Saturday morning, watching the ferry approach, I was suddenly gripped by fear, by not feeling ‘good enough.’ I said to myself, “Who am I to go to this international pilgrimage site?” Surely those I’d join would be more theologically educated, more international, more of something. I thought of my small-town-roots, my Southern accent, my tendency to hang back, my fear of the spotlight being thrust on me.
As the ferry workers motioned for us to approach the boat, the answer came, what felt like God’s still small voice speaking to me.
“You are my child and that is enough.”
I walked forward, feeling awkward but assured that I was at the place I should be. Throughout that week, with seekers from all over the world, I continued to feel assured, through my interactions with individuals and in our group discussions, that I was where I should be.
On Tuesday during our group pilgrimage across the island, we stopped at the bay and threw a rock into the water to symbolize what we were leaving behind. Now that I reread that post from Dec. 31, I see that it was a step in letting go to be free, that I’m revisiting at the half-way point of this year. It is a process. After that rock was flung into the bay, I was interviewed on camera that was a first step of letting go of what others’ thought of me.
When I go back to my pictures of that journey, I see a video that I made while riding on the ferry from Oban to the Inner Hebrides. I’d planned to do videoblogs through the trip, but partly due to time and being in a new place, and perhaps due to my discomfort, I never posted them.
Now, as an act of being free, able to let go of my hesitation and concerns, I’ll share a video on my Author Facebook Page– Saved by Sedona since I haven’t learned to embed videos on WordPress. The video reminds me of that excitement of anticipation, wondering what lay ahead during my week at the Abbey.
It reminds me that I am Free to Be Me.
Post for Dec. 31, 2017 “The Things We Leave Behind” located at
How About You?
What do you need to let go of in order to be Free to be You?
What step can you take to move forward in that process?
11 thoughts on “Free to Be Me”
As we age, many things we had thought were important fall away and we see more clearly what is really important and genuine. Being popular, having status, worrying about the respect paid us by others lose their momentum and strength to affect us. We know who we are.
You’re right. It’s something that seems to have taken me too long to learn!
It is a gift of aging to see more clearly, like you said, the important and genuine.
Thanks for reading and for sharing your thoughts.
Best to you this Saturday,
Wow! Connie, what a beautiful testimony of becoming His. May He continue to affirm you each day in the calling He gave you. XoJulie
Thanks so much for your kind and encouraging words. It is true that when we ‘lose ourselves we find ourselves’ and the person we are in Christ. God knows us better than we know ourselves, and by letting go, we can finally see what He’s placed within us.
Thanks for reading and commenting and sharing on Twitter, Julie.
Best to you XXOO,
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It can indeed be a long lesson to let go of what other people think. I have been doing that myself. I am also facing the need to rediscover what I will do with my life (in my 40s) because my previous career plans never happened. That has been another difficult journey which I am still working through. I still hope to visit Iona someday.
By the way, I embed videos in some of my posts, but I do not host them on WordPress. I first upload the video to Youtube. I then insert a link in the post. WordPress converts it into an embedded video
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Thanks so much for reading and sharing about your journey. I wish you the best with discovering what is the right path for you at this time. My hope is that you’ll open yourself to the ideas that come, maybe a direction that you wouldn’t have considered.
Thanks for telling me about how you’ve done your videos. I’ll give that a try! Sure does help to have people who know about different forms of social media.
Best to you,
An Awkward Yeti comic on willingness to be weird despite what people think.
Thanks so much, Komal, for reading and commenting.
Best to you,
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My pleasure 🙏