When Matt and I started dating, I started going to his church and fell completely in love with his pastor and his wife, Glen and Ivy Walker. They became like family to us. Every week we would go to their house for dinner and talk and talk and talk and talk. Glen is almost 80 (although you'd never know it) and Ivy is about 20 years his junior and absolutely beautiful, inside and out. I say that to say these people have been around the block. They've got that whole wisdom thing down. I used to think up questions just to ask Glen because I wanted to soak in as much of his wisdom as I could.
Ivy and I started meeting every week for breakfast. She is one of those people that you can say anything to and never feel ashamed or embarrassed. She did discipleship much like Jesus often did. As we did life together she used every opportunity, common and not common, to point it back to Jesus and his Word. One of my most favoritest things about Ivy is that she's a firecracker. She's not your stereotypical image of a pastor's wife. She's fiery and independent and sure of herself and confident and funny and madly in love with her husband. For someone like me who also does not fit The Mold, it was incredibly refreshing and encouraging.
I remember something she said one time over breakfast that has always stuck with me. She said, I'm old enough now to know who I am and who I'm not. And I'm not... And she went on to say who she wasn't, which tied back to that whole not fitting into The Mold thing.
Well. I'm 28 years old and I've decided that I'm also old enough to know who I am and who I'm not.
For years now I have felt like I need to be That Girl. But she's so not me and her strengths make my weaknesses look bad. She's just got that whole vibe about her. You know. Kind, quiet, never angry or passionate. Steady Betty. She's got a stack of cards for everyone for every occasion. She's detail-oriented and organized. When she's out with her husband, she lets him do all the talking and smiles encouragingly. She likes to cook dinner and have people over to eat it.
Seriously, having people over for dinner stresses me out. And I don't think I've ever openly confessed that. Instead I've always told myself, You have to like this. This is what That Girl does. She has people over for dinner and she likes it.
In reality, I worry all day if I'm doing it "right." Do I have to have a dessert? Do I make a casserole or is that too mom-of-two-non-organic-1950s? Is it tacky to put a dish in our take-out leftovers container? Do paper towels count as napkins? Why does everyone else's napkins match their placemats? And why don't I have placemats? I hate placemats.
Seriously, these sorts of things go through my mind. And I don't dread it because I'm shy or afraid of people. On the contrary, people are my favorite thing. I'm social to the core. Even my Bone Marrow is social. I think they throw parties with my White Blood Cells. 18 and over only. Sorry, Pancreas. 18 next month? Have to wait your turn, move it along.
I'm a question-asker. If I'm asking you questions, it's because I genuinely care about your parents who live in Atlanta but only for a few years now and it's not where you grew up and your dad's house just got shot at while he was away on a business trip (What does your dad do?). Even though I've only known you for 10 minutes. And if I remember all the details the next time I see you, even though the last time I saw you was 3 months ago, it's because you fascinate me. Every person does.
I love spending time with people. I love meeting new people. I love how different people are. I just do it in my way. And I think I'm old enough now to say, That's ok. I don't have to love cooking dinner. I don't have to have matching placemats. I don't have to pretend I'm quiet and reserved.
So. I'll keep having people over for dinner. And I'll keep using take-out containers for a dish. And I'll keep making casseroles. And I'll keep not having placemats that don't match my napkins.
Because I love people more than I don't love cooking dinner.
But I think I'm going to give myself some freedom to accept the person God made me and stop trying to be That Girl. And just learn to be This Girl.