A Human Mosaic

This exhausting battle with becoming true faced – the intentional drop of the façade, and the joyful embrace of the quirkiness – both amuses and saddens me, daily.

You see, I’m a recovering people pleaser.

That desire to fit in, to be liked, and yet…be “unique”, like…well, everyone else, has been as familiar to me as breathing.  Comparison became an involuntary function, “Insecure” my middle name.

Once you learn to live under the tremendous weight of this baggage, it becomes the way you function…

crippling the way you carry yourself,

coloring the way you engage with others,

warping the way you perceive God…and His plan for your life.

Isn’t it amazing how easily we get this all wrong?  We know what brews in our hearts, what we wrestle with in our minds, and what taunts us from our past…and on this, we base our self-perception, our value, our worth.  And yet we look at others – the well polished exterior – and make an assessment based on that single layer of their existence.

We judge, applaud, compare.

And most often, based on that broken scale, we come up short.

But you see, it is I that constructed this scale in the first place.  Of course it’s faulty.  It was never intended to be.

We have been wired – absolutely and intentionallydifferent.  Marvelously unique.  And rather than thrive in the delight of this reality, we try to fix, and survive amidst, what we view as wrong with us.

I am discovering, on this glorious road to freedom, that comparison kills contentment.  Go ahead; read that again, it’s profound…

As sure as the dawn, comparison will kill contentment.

So what do we do with our brokenness, if not resent and hide it?

I have experienced, first hand, the destructive, exhausting, pretentious lifestyle of hiding, and you could not pay me enough to live there again.

For I have tasted the light, sweetness of freedom, and I could never go back.

I will never forget that hot day in August, 2003, while sitting in the front row of a stadium in New York, listening to Pam Stenzel talk about purity.  It was just 2 months before I was set to marry the man of my dreams, a guy I was sure had fallen for the girl I was pretending to be, the girl I so badly wanted to be.

But God met me in the dark, dirty caverns of my heart.  Places I was determined to never revisit.  Concealment, I was certain, was my only hope.

I couldn’t have been more wrong.

As it all came tumbling out; the ugly, the painful, and the downright shocking, a sense of intense fear began to grow, threatening to pull me back into hiding.

But even then, God was facilitating the exchange.  The fear was soon overpowered by a boldness that started to rise within me, and a weightless that sweetly settled on my heart, wooing me on to surrender more of what I had so ferociously protected.

I had carried this load for so long that I had no idea what it felt to live without it, to “travel light”.

God tenderly started to put me back together, like an artist painstakingly crafting a masterpiece from little shards of broken, irregularly shaped glass.  Pieces of something that used to be “put-together”, now repurposed in something new, something bigger…astonishingly beautiful and deliciously unorthodox.

It is true.  I used to want to look like a clear, crisp glass vase.

Pretty.

Striking.

Uncomplicated.

Untainted by the chips and dents of a messy life.

But I’m realizing that isn’t the image God is calling me to portray.

He gets no glory in my apparent perfection, in my finely-tuned charade.

It is in my brokenness, and reconstruction, in the wild, multi-faceted flicker of His light within me – glowing through those very shards I tried so desperately to cover up – that His beauty is displayed to a watching world.

Never before have I been so confident that He is more than able to bring about beauty from our brokenness.

The question now is simply this: will you surrender your past to the creative genius of a loving, redemptive God?

{who knows, you just might like being a human mosaic}

Ps.  In case you’re wondering…he did still marry me.  The real me!

by Joy McMillan, Simply Bloom

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  1. 1

    Beautiful. God’s timing for encouragement is always perfect. Thank you.

  2. 3

    We have an adopted son who struggles mightily with wanting to be a “pleaser”. His journey toward freedom has begun and we are thrilled to see him learning to walk in his true identity in Christ.

    • 4

      What an exciting process this must be for you! Discovering our TRUE identity changes the way we function on a daily basis. YAY for him…cheering him on in the Spirit with you!

  3. 5

    I relate to this! Thank you for sharing. I agree, God’s timing for encouragement is perfect!

  4. 7

    I hear you on this: “But you see, it is I that constructed this scale in the first place.” I am often in my own way of following God’s will to love and serve others as He desires.

    I love your “marvelously unique” phrase too. You are so right here: “And rather than thrive in the delight of this reality, we try to fix, and survive amidst, what we view as wrong with us.”

    What a beautiful ending to this post. I think of this verse: “But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” – 2 Corinthians 12:9-10

    • 8

      I LOVE, LOVE that scripture! Thank you for reminding me of it…and how perfectly it fits! Blessings on your journey towards His delightful {and marvelously unique!} plans for your life! :)

  5. 9

    joy!

    thank you so much. what a perfect metaphor for what we think we should be and the better plans god has for our lives.

    ~zena

    • 10

      Oh sweet Zena! Yes, isn’t God marvelous at shattering our preconceived, less-than-amazing plans and ideals, and replacing them with His “unorthodox” perfection! Blessings to you!

  6. 11

    Your writing is so rich and beautiful. I need to read it again and again so that I can glean all the delightful truth that your article holds. You truly have a gift (many in fact) with words and communication. Thank you for sharing your heart.

  7. 12

    Thank you, sweet thing! You are such a faithful cheerleader of my heart!

  8. 13

    Joy I love the way God uses your written words to inspire, encourage, challenge and bring hope.
    His light shines in you so very brightly! Thank you for such a timely message.

    Liz
    Thriving and Surviving with Twins

    • 14

      Thank you, Liz! I love that he’s able to use such a broken vessel…and that He gets to look good doing it! :) Blessings!

  9. 15

    This blog never disappoints me and is always a true blessing for me or the friends I forward or facebook the link to. Such wisdom and simple truths that we all fail to see are brought to light in a humble way.
    Thank you for the joy you bring.

    • 16

      Oh, Liz…your comment blesses me more than you know! What a delight to know the “tiddly-bits” I have to offer are a source of chin-lifting & encouragement. God is faithful!

  10. 17

    Love, love, love!!!!!

  11. 19

    Joy – this is beautiful. Thank you for sharing! Your gift for communicating with words and your sincere vulnerability will, no doubt, continue to bless and impart freedom to those who hear and read your writings.

    • 20

      Hi sweet thing! Thank you for your encouraging words…I trust God will indeed continue to use my messy life to bless others! Blessings to you!

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