For most of my life, I have had a tendency to be a chameleon when I am around others—whether it is by responding “yes” to social outings to avoid being the minority or chuckling to jokes that I don’t understand, so I can avoid being perceived as clueless. These learned social strategies have helped me to fit in quite easily in social crowds without ever needing to express my own feelings, wishes, or concerns in a free and authentic manner.
These chameleon-like tendencies had hung onto me as if I were a coat rack.
It was impossible to utilize these social strategies (or survival skills) when I began serving with LAMP a few years ago.
I drove into a cul-de-sac when I realized that I needed to be my own individual self at LAMP.
These thoughts dug into the bottom of my heart:
I have to serve at LAMPCafe just like she does.
I have to share my stories at the Monday meetings just like he does.
I have to do intercessory prayer just like she does.
These spiraling thoughts had convinced me that there was something wrong with the way God made me.
Ultimately, I was telling God that I have to be everyone else but me to serve with LAMP.
All along, God had a desire to see and hear me without all of these tight masks.
God didn’t want me to be another Ana or another Karen. If he did, he would have simply made me another Ana or another Karen. But why would he even make two of one person? (And twins don’t count because they are not born with identical souls).
It is God’s secret mystery that no person is exactly alike.
This breakdown was my breakthrough in my journey as a LAMP Missionary and now as a staff member at LAMP.
To be me, to be what God sees in me is freeing and yet startling at times. Because sometimes I forget the truth of my existence. It’s no wonder that we distribute this beautiful verse to people we encounter:
“You are precious in God’s eyes” (Isaiah 43:4).
Don’t we all need this helpful reminder?
Don’t we all have times we forget to embrace our true authentic selves?
As I revisit these spiraling thoughts,
I have to serve at LAMPCafe just like she does,
I have to share my stories at the Monday meetings just like she does,
I have to do intercessory just like she does,
the “have to’s” have gradually dissolved with time and prayer. Trustful cooperation with God helps me to create ample space for him to pour out his love into my heart and into all aspects of my life.
Although I have made progress in my personal and spiritual growth, I am acutely aware that the “old me” has not departed from me. This awareness moves me to spend more time with God.
Time with my Father reminds me that he has called me to serve him with the name that he gave me: Alexandra
–Alexandra Henry, MSW, LAMP Missionary and Admissions Counselor