So this post is a bit off the top of my head. Usually, I like to sit down and formulate a topic that’s been on my mind. It normally takes a couple of days or a week to finish a blog. This time, I really want to talk about a simple conversation I had with a complete stranger that impacted me. Ironically, it was a meeting Jerry and I had with a possible caterer.
Jerry and I have just recently booked a place for our wedding. Finding a venue was a very long process that I will hopefully get to talk about more in depth in another post. So Tuesday afternoon we made a trip upstate to visit a catering company to possibly coordinate our wedding.
We were running an hour late and were so embarrassed and mad at ourselves for not taking traffic into account. Since they were possibly going to be catering our event, I guess we didn’t want to start things on the wrong foot. By the time we got to the place, we were both feeling horrible and didn’t want to be there.
A tall young African-American woman greeted us at the entrance of the small restaurant and asked for our names. She pronounced my name wrong and asked me, “That’s your name right?”. I said, “Yes that is my name, nice to meet you.”, when clearly it was not even pronounced correctly.
She led us into the back of the restaurant which was shielded off from the customers with high drapes for meetings etc. and we immediately met another woman who was older and she introduced herself as the manager of the catering company. She then asked our names and also pronounced my name clearly wrong.
“Is that how you say your name E-LAY-NEE?”, she asked. I paused for a second and stammered, “Um well EH-LEH-NEE is my name but some people do call me E-LAY-NEE. You can call me whatever you want.” “I would like to call you by your name and not what people call you because that’s your real name”, she explained. I was taken back a bit and said, “Yes EH-LEH-NEE is how you say my name.” she said, “Wow, It’s a beautiful name.”
I guess from reading that small excerpt of our conversation, you may be turned off. This woman may appear bossy and outspoken. But she was actually really sweet and kind in her attitude towards us. The saying “money talks” might be prevalent in this situation. But the appointment went well by our standards. You might also say “I don’t get how this conversation could possibly be life changing!” Just give me more time to explain…
The ride home with Jerry was a long but entertaining one. My fiancé loves to talk about random stuff and make me laugh during our long rides. Still, I could not get the conversation with the catering manager out of my head.
I couldn’t sleep that night and Wednesday night. It’s like a light went off in my head and thoughts about who I was and what needed to change were clear. I don’t know if it was a “God thing” but I think it was just a clear affirmation of what God has been trying to tell me for months now.
I have always been the person that put everyone before myself my whole life. Whatever people would want to do, even though I didn’t like it I would do it to accommodate them. If you wanted to be my friends “best friend”, I would give you every opportunity to do so and disappear. When I talked to friends I didn’t want to talk about my life because I wanted others to be able to speak about their issues, dreams and triumphs. I also didn’t want to hurt someone’s feelings by talking about the good happening in my life if they were going through something difficult. There were years I suppressed the events going on in my life because I wanted to “please” people with who I was and what I was doing. I didn’t want to indulge the public about my excitement about my engagement because many others were getting engaged or wanted to get engaged. Even in these past months, I delayed my wedding and suppressed my engagement season because other people were getting married.
I had devalued the exciting times in my life because I wanted to put other people before me yet again. And it was not coming from a selfless heart but from an insecure and fearful one. My fiancé was so excited last year to move forward and countless times I would say “I need time, there’s so many weddings and things going on.” And with that attitude, I missed out on months of planning my dream wedding trying to play a “woe is me game.” Both of our families suffered and became restless because we were so focused on other people that we didn’t acknowledge their excitement and willingness to help us to move forward.
And so that night I laid on my bed under the covers putting the pieces of the puzzle together and seeing the big picture that was my life. I hated it. I hated the fact that my fiancé was so immersed in wedding planning on his own for months without any of my help or support. I constantly blew out his flame of joy. For the first time, I felt the fact that my huge insecurity not only affected me but hurt him tremendously. I hated the times that my friends and family wanted to know more about my wedding planning but I tried to quickly shuffle the topic to their weddings or life circumstances.
I realized at the catering appointment that I matter and what I want is valid. The way I pronounce my name, how I look, my engagement to Jerry, my relationship with him, and my wedding. All of that matters. It may not matter to some people, but it matters to us and our community. I know my friends that are getting married are happy for me as much as I am for them. I pray that I may support their new paths while allowing them to be a part of my new experiences. And so, I need to let this insecurity and this fear thing go. I need to jump into every moment head first and really take in this season.
Insecurity does not allow me to accept all of who God made me be. It does not allow me to enjoy what he wants to gift me with. Marriage, talents, family, friends, those are all gifts that are fully enjoyed when we are true to yourselves. When we are content with what we have and who we are, we can enjoy all that God has given us.
I’ve learned that I’ve played insecurity as humility when it was just plain old pride. I thought I was being selfless when in reality I was acting selfishly. My pity parties were lonely gatherings that were planned for the masses. Living insecure while allowing people to live out your dreams is equivalent to not trusting God and his plans. And living in fear is a dangerous path to follow.
That night I decided that I had to accept myself for all that I am and all that I have. Even when it wasn’t up to the standards of others. I couldn’t miss out on one more day of my life, the beauty of everything that God has planned out for me.
If you struggle the same way I do I pray that we can confront our fears and experience the beauty in every moment of our life, the way God intended. We are not perfect, but let’s be committed to doing our best.
I recommend reading Packing Light by Ally Vesterfelt. Definitely helped me to see what holding on to insecurities and fear can do to your life. It was such an inspiring book and led me to write this post.