Having coffee the other day and someone said, “I wish I was as comfortable in my skin as you are.” My face responded, then my words, “I’m actually so not.”
And I’m not. I still have so many moments of “What the heck am I doing!?” or “They think I’m crazy.” I can play scenarios in my mind of all the things people are saying and thinking of me, projecting them onto most every interaction.
There are several things about “my own skin” that I would LOVE to change, that I NEED to change. But I did agree with her, as we discussed a particular dynamic involving a few people, that I was not responding the way she was. How she was sifting through the issue was exactly how I would have a handful of years ago, so what was different? I realized…
I am still not comfortable in my own skin, but I have worked hard to become more comfortable with other’s “skin.”
Really pressing in, learning more and more about how God designed us, His intention, His method, His artistry, I may have started this as a way to understand more about why I do what I do and how I can modify some of my doing, but I’ve actually ended up, inadvertently learning more about you. And the more I learn about you, whoever the you I get to engage with, the more I get glimpses of the why you do what you do. The more I get to see your uniqueness and ponder God’s purpose in that, and as soon as I start to allow God to unfold your you-ness in the tiny ways I get to see, I get more “comfortable with your skin.”
I have always struggled with grace. The idea of unmerited favor is so contrary to so many aspects of my personality. That probably makes me sound mean, but I’m being honest. I kinda naturally live in the space of “you get what you give” or “earn it” or boot-strap pulling up. And honestly, God has used that tendency of mine in great ways, and I know people that have benefited from this part of my personality as well, but when that aspect of my me-ness is not submitted to God’s aspect of His God-ness, it is not good. It’s demeaning, critical, judgey, disappointed, and impossible to live up to. I need grace, but I struggle to give grace to myself, and in turn, to others. There in lies the core of the problem. My me-ness, in my own hands, stubbornly not submitted to God, doesn’t function very well.
We each have our own thing. You could be a grace-giving machine, but terrified of conflict or boundaries. You could be super strong with boundaries and so ready for conflict, but that strength could actually be rooted in fear. The question is are we willing to learn and see our own skin with clarity?
I think most all of us want to get at least a little more comfortable in our own skin, and I think a willingness to learn and see is a great starting point, but I’m not sure it’s a terrible idea to also expand how you love others in their own skin. Might end up a win/win. I’m glad I’m getting better with your you-ness while I inch toward my own self-work. How are you with your skin?