I couldn’t wait to graduate. Like, get-me-the-hell-out-of-here-these-freshman-are-driving-me-crazy-and-I’ve-learned-everything-I-possibly-could, kind of impatience. I danced my way across the graduation stage (literally) in pure joy of my freedom. But someone might as well kicked me off that stage or I could have just tripped in my heels and landed flat on my face, so hard did I crash from graduation high. Every time someone inquired what I was doing post-grad, I fought back the urge to either burst into tears or punch them in the face. I had never felt so worthless, so useless, so much like a failure as when I saw my name printed on my creamy diploma.
I didn’t know what to expect upon graduating, but certainly it wasn’t this. So what was I doing wrong? Why did I feel like my English degree was just a hobby and I was letting everyone down when I told them I was temporarily working retail?
I spent many nights staring at my ceiling, feeling the tears drip down my cheeks into my ears, screaming at God for making me useless and not good at science (because all my nursing major friends were getting jobs before they’d even graduated). I put on a sweet face for everyone, lying to them saying, “EVERYTHING IS GOING TO WORK OUT, I COULDN’T HAVE BEEN GIVEN MY WRITING GIFT FOR NO REASON!” But I believed that about as much as I believed I would win the lottery this month.
One summer afternoon found me in my dad’s office, in tears again, pouring out my fear that I was a failure. And he turned to me and asked, “Where is your mantra? Where is that quote you showed me months ago? Why aren’t you living from that anymore?”
“Let people feel the weight of who you are. And let them deal with it.” – John Eldridge
I went home and I wrote my quote in my journal, I stamped it in my mind, I planned a tattoo design for it, I did everything to keep those words held in the forefront of my brain. Because those words are saturated in truth. Why do we allow people to tell us who we are? Why do we allow society to tell us whether or not we are perfect, we are worth it, we are loved, we are talented? Why do we care? Why do we accept criticism from those whose opinions don’t matter, but reject compliments from the one’s who do?
I can’t answer those questions because I’m still learning the answers. But what I do know is nothing defines us except our sweet Jesus. He is the one who gave weight to who we are. And He smiles, He cheers, He waves a #1 foam finger in the air with our name stamped on it every time we allow someone to feel our weight. Because He created us and nothing makes our Father more proud than when we embrace the weight He gave us and live proudly from that place.
When I finally allowed Jesus to pull me out of my head and my self-pity, I could finally see where he was calling me. I could let Him show me my worth, my weight and He gave me the courage to make others feel it. Now when people ask me what my post-grad life is, I tell them I’m working part-time and writing a book — and I couldn’t be happier. Sometimes they look at me like I’ve grown another head, but I don’t mind so much anymore. Because I have allowed Jesus to show me what I was created to do, and I have chosen to do what I want, not what I “should do” based on society’s standards.
I encourage you to be counter-cultural in this way. Ask for the courage to allow Jesus to show you your weight so you may claim it and be a witness to the truth: you are truly your happiest when doing what He has created you to do.
By: Rebecca Siemens