I am.

I am worthy. My values and beliefs matter, as well as the manner in which I convey them. Every person is due respect, even if we disagree. It is okay to pick my battles. Having the last word isn’t necessary, so long as I feel confident in my last words on a topic. I don’t have to be friends with everyone, and I do not need everyone to be happy or approve of my opinions.

I am a Christian. I believe in God, that it’s his job to judge, and not mine. My job is to love Him, and to Love my neighbor, and to live the best I can, with Jesus as my example. My church doesn’t meet in a building, my church is my community of friends. We meet over board games, and in front of movies. We don’t all share the same religion, but we do share many of the same core values. Love. Respect.  That is enough for me, right now. It’s a personal relationship, for me, apart from bureaucracy and controlling people. I believe in peace, community and forging shared experiences with those in my life. The Bible tells me to always have a defense for the hope that is in me, to never cast the first stone, and to take the log out of my own eye before trying to pluck the speck from another.

I am worth defending. There is a time and place to take a stand. I am beginning to understand where that line is, and that it is okay to defend myself. It’s okay if I make mistakes, but I need to learn from them, and grow. Sometimes it is okay to let others stand up for me.

I am free. I do not have to do anything I don’t want to do. Sometimes I will do things I don’t want, because I dislike the consequences more. Sometimes I will do the things I want, and the consequences be damned. But I have a choice, either way. It’s okay if I don’t always make the right choices.

I am an explorer. I don’t have all the answers, and that is okay. I don’t like people who think they have it all figured out, and look down on me. And that is okay. My world is framed by the scientific method, always questioning, always seeking a better understanding. I love knowing. I love the journey.

I am still learning. So much of the last decade I have spent struggling to create peace in my intimate relationships, and fallen out of touch with personal opinions. I have a lot to read and understand to figure out just where I stand on many matters. That’s okay. I don’t have to have opinions on demand.

I am afraid. Of standing out. Of getting attention. Of slipping into anonymity. Of doing something wrong and eliciting an angry response. Of not speaking up and owning my own power.

I am healing. Some days depression weighs me down, and it is difficult to crawl out of bed and get to work. Some days anxiety leaves my eyebrows a few hairs lighter, or I betray myself with nervous habits and general edginess. But I’m learning, and authenticity is about owning where I’m at in the moment. I struggle, and fail, and sometimes have to work really hard at practicing grace for myself. Even little steps grant me forward momentum.

I am… myself. I don’t have to be a blank slate just to accommodate everyone else. I can have opinions and beliefs that don’t match up to everyone around me.

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