Kat Mills on learning to be your authentic self.

It's Okay To Be You

Several months ago my husband, Ali, took me to see the musical 'Grease' as a part of my 30th birthday present. We went to the late afternoon Friday showing.

I have always loved the songs and the spectacle of the show. The last time I saw it was for my hen do! As we were sitting there in anticipation of the start, I was struck with how many young and impressionable children were there, so excited, waiting for the show, especially as one of 'The Wanted' boy band members was starring in it. I didn't think much of it at the beginning, but as I watched it surrounded by children clinging onto every word, something didn't sit right and I felt uncomfortable. The reality is that when you get past the fun energetic songs, at the heart of the story is basically a young girl who is not accepted as she is. Only when she conforms at the end of the show is she truly accepted. This a worrying message to be sending out, especially to children.

It got me thinking that this is often the message we are told today. To fit in you have to look a certain way, wear a certain style of clothes, talk and act like everyone else. Some people go out of their way to distort their own image and can become ill trying to reach this unrealistic and unsustainable image. Even if you eventually get to what society demands, you either find that you've lost yourself on the way or society has moved on and there are more demands to chase after.

I've always been someone who was different and always on the edge of groups. I never fitted in neatly and found I would often go against the flow. I refused to conform, but was engulfed for some time in the loneliness and isolation that being on the side-lines can bring. I felt that being different was not accepted or appreciated.

As I have grown, God has been speaking to my heart and speaking truth into my life. God told me He made me 'fearfully and wonderfully' and He loves me just as I am. Starting to believe in that truth has brought an amazing amount of freedom in my life. Instead of walking in a constant state of defensiveness, I have found a peace in who I am. It is okay to be different and not to fit neatly into the crowd. I don't have to feel ashamed about this, but I need to be true to who God has made me to be. The Bible tells me that I am created in His image and that He cares about the details of my life.

I believe in a God who loves each of us and delights in the way He made us. We don't need to be anything else, but our authentic selves with God. He loves us just as we are and wants us to live life to the full.

The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.