Finding Peace Being Me
The position I played in football back in the day was strong safety. It was a defensive position. My job was to defend my opponent from getting in the end zone. It was all about defense. The better wall we collectively put up as a team, the least likely our opponent was able to penetrate that wall and score.
Being defensive served its purpose. When we played solid defense, we usually won. As they say, the best defense is often times the best offense.
Being great at defense served me well when I played football at the University of North Dakota. Unfortunately, being defensive isn’t serving me well at this point in my life.
Being Easily Offended
One thing I have struggled with the vast majority of my life is being easily offended. I get defensive to protect myself. The sad thing is I am protecting this made up identity. It’s the ego identity of who I think I am supposed to be.
It has been based on image and performance my whole life. It’s how I have learned to show up in the world not being me.
When someone says something that I don’t like, I take it as a personal attack on me and my made up identity. I have to defend myself to protect my false self to feel safe.
It’s pretty ironic how hard I have to defend something that isn’t even real. Can you relate to that? We all do it to some extent.
Being Peaceful as Ourselves
One of my favorite authors is Richard Rohr. This is what he has to say about the false self.
“Your false self is always that which is passing away. Your true self doesn’t go up or down, it’s constant-it’s a rock. Once you learn how to live there, what others say about you, your failures or successes-these don’t send you on a roller coaster ride down or up. It’s really the only way to peace. There’s no other way to be peaceful except in the true self.”
I personally hate roller coasters and I have been on a self-imposed roller coaster my whole life. I have lived my life being dependent on what others say about me. I have put my best false self forward and when this false self gets attacked I get defensive and I have to prove myself over and over again.
I have a lot of work to do in this area of my life. It has caused me a great deal of inner turmoil and immense strain on my personal relationships.
Learning to Show Up as Me
I know there is a way out of this self-imposed prison. The only way out is to be me. To know that I am worthy. To shed my unworthiness once and for all because God sees me as worthy. I can show up 100% as me, because of who I am in Christ. Why is that so hard to do?
I am learning it’s a way to keep us safe. Or at least we think it does. But really it destroys us. It destroys our soul. We lose who we truly are. These defense mechanisms are built up over the course of our life time and often they are buried deep down into our subconscious. That’s why it can be so challenging to change. It can feel like we are beating our head up against a wall.
Don’t Give Up On Yourself
The biggest thing is to not give up. God will never give up on you, so don’t give up on yourself. I am on this journey of stepping into who I truly am as a son of God. I fail every day seeing myself that way, but it is getting a little better, slowly but surely.
When we fall down, we have to get back up again and ask God to continue to shape our hearts and our character. It’s OK to fall down. It’s not OK to not get back up.
What I am learning is to enjoy the process. To quit beating myself up for being human. I want you to do the same. Stop beating yourself up. We are born to be real, not to be perfect.
I am on this journey of seeing myself the way God sees me. To show up as who he created me to be.
What if we got rid of our defensive behaviors and showed up as we truly are? What if we lived our lives knowing that we are enough because of who God says we are, his precious sons and daughters. Just be you. That is enough.
Troy Ismir, MS
Founder and Creator of Barbells & Brothers