True Things


JJ Heller


Painted Red

"True Things"
JJ Heller

“I’m not the things I lack.”

I don’t know about you, but I spent the better part of my early 20s feeling like I was missing something. Not like I forgot to put on socks that day—but like I was missing something that mattered.

Did I like the kind of music I was supposed to like? Did I dress the way I was supposed to dress? Was I allowed to like T.V. as much as I do? Should I have finished college? Should I be married already, and was it my fault that I wasn’t? (Maybe I should’ve just said yes when that guy asked me out… I mean, I hadn’t been asked out in a while, maybe that was my shot and I blew it?) Was I supposed to be ready to settle down and have a family? That’s what everyone around me was doing; perhaps I needed to get with the program. I spent (read: “wasted”) a lot of my time worrying I was lacking something.

“I’m not my scars and my history.”

We allow a lot of things to define us. Personally, I’ve caught myself defining who I am based on my circumstances. Which is the silliest thing because, really, circumstances change all the time. When you’re stuck in a tunnel, it can be easy to forget that eventually there will be light. When you’re struggling with life, it’s hard to keep perspective and remember the only constant is change, and things are often temporary. And when you fail at something, it’s tempting to just assume you’re a failure.

But you are more than your scars. Your history doesn’t define you. They hold only as much power as you give them. Choose today to see yourself through a different lens and start listening to that voice that’s been buried for so long. That voice that tells you that you deserve so many things, and all of them start and end with joy.

“In Your love, I’m waking up. There are true things inside of me I have been afraid to see”

For so long, I put myself in this little shoebox labeled “Lauren.” All of my personality traits, likes, dislikes, hopes, dreams, plans, and gifts were contained in there. And if it wasn’t in the box, it didn’t exist. Not for Lauren. Most of the things in that box had been put there by the words of others and by mistakes I had made along the way—and the options in the box were fairly limited.

Then something amazing happened. Someone loved me, and I really let myself feel that love. I let this person love me and tell me things about how they saw me, and I began to trust them with the deepest secrets of my heart. I let air get into the places I closed off long ago, and suddenly I was being healed.

“I am loved, and I am free.”

I heard something this week that gave me goose bumps because of how true it is: “Courage comes from a heart that knows it’s loved.” It’s been terrifying to let someone get that close, but it’s because of this love that I’ve allowed myself to think outside the box. I began to let myself have new dreams and consider a different path for my life.

Please hear this: You are loved. You are loved more than you know, and you are more than you think, beloved. There are so many things on the road ahead of you. Take courage and know that you don’t walk that road alone.