This post is not from the usual contributors, and is not our “usual” posting. (our next regular post will be around Feb. 14). What is written below was written by a young woman I have known for many years–since she was a teenager, and I post this with her permission. I have known of her struggles these past few years, and have seen her “lose it all”. She has found an inner strength she never knew she had, and has risen above challenges she never thought she would face. When I read this, I was so touched not only by her honesty and courage, but by the message she is speaking. Please read this, and especially share with young girls and women who are struggling with finding who they are. There is no reason that anyone should ever think they need to be someone else–we are beautifully and wonderfully made! As always, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for reading our blog, and welcome your comments. __Peggy
The below is written by Lori Burton. It is raw, and it is real:
Keeping it Real… Honest and sincere from my heart…(this is super long, so read it or don’t read it… Choice is yours)…
Recently someone told a friend of mine (with all sincerity) that they miss the “Old Lori”. This is not the first time someone has said this about me. Well I’m coming clean about something I have carried with me for most of my adult life…
Somewhere along my journey I began to believe that if I was true to myself, and showed people who I really am, they wouldn’t like me. The root of this may have come from being relentlessly teased in middle school and other “normal” things that happened in life, but effected this sensitive soul deeply.
As I grew older, it became my worst fear. The dialogue that subtly but continually replayed in my head over and over was, “if they knew the real me, they wouldn’t like me.”
This caused me to often hold back or even hide my true thoughts, feelings, desires, beliefs, and even the fullness of my personality and who I am. I acted differently, I dressed differently, I sang differently, and strived to be who I thought others wanted me to be.
And guess what? It worked!
People liked me, people were pleased with me, I was told I was the best one of the triplets, I was complimented, flattered, and lifted up. I felt great…. At first!
Afraid of losing this, I worked harder at it. I did things that I thought others wanted me to do. I did things that I thought I was “supposed to do”. I ran myself ragged trying to be all things to all people until somewhere along the line, I lost who I really was. I gave my power away to other people because I wanted to be loved and accepted so badly. (This was not other people’s fault, this was my mistake. I own it!)
On the outside things seemed great, but inside I was miserable, and the facade I had built was starting to crumble.
Before long I had a complete mental and emotional breakdown that would forever change my life. Completely broken, I spent a season of self isolation from most of the people in my life. I stopped doing everything I was doing to try win people’s love and affirmation. I stopped singing, I stopped working, I stopped going out socially, etc.
My days were spent in a hellish cycle of deep depression and horrible panic attacks. All the balls that I was juggling to make myself feel needed and loved came crashing down around me, and I saw that without me doing all those things that made me feel like somebody, life went on without me just fine. Other people filled in the gaps I left, I was no longer being complimented, flattered, lifted up, and I felt like I didn’t exist.
At the same time I learned that my family (parents and siblings) loved me no matter what, and they stuck by me and were there for me at my worst. They never gave up on me, and trust me. I put them through hell.
After starting to see a very good Christian Psychologist, I began to realize that my worth was not based on how good I was or what others thought of me, but rather who I am in Christ because of what HE did FOR me!
Gradually I began to see truth after truth, and started the long process of healing.
As I’ve been healing, I have one desire in my heart… To live for Jesus by being the person He created me to be. It’s not about me being liked, lifted up or flattered. It’s about God using me, as the person he created me to be to touch the lost, hurting, and broken, but most if all, to touch HIS heart with all of mine.
On this new journey, God has kindly helped me to discover the real me. Although I don’t sing in public yet, I have begun to find my unique vocal style, along with my unique desire to express myself through clothes I wear, jewelry I make, and even the way I do my hair.
I no longer try to get people to like me by pretending I’m someone I’m not. I’m no longer stuck in bondage of all the “supposed to’s” in life. I am becoming freer every day.
Some people will like the authentic me and some won’t. I’m okay with that now.
As for the people that miss the “old me”, you probably saw only touches of my authentic self, so you never got to know who I really am. That was my mistake, and I’m sorry.
Truth is, I’ve learned valuable lessons through the mistakes I have made, and I am so grateful that the truth of JESUS AND his word sets me free.
This is me being me, and I am perfectly comfortable in my own skin. Thank you to all my friends and family who have walked this journey with me. God has used you more than you know. I love you all!