You might be thinking- ‘more self-reflection? Seriously Camilla, you think too much. Go and have fun.’
But I went home this weekend, and revisiting parts of my old life prompted me to write this.
Few people would have guessed, because putting on a mask hides much if it’s not studied for too long, but for a large part of my teenage years I felt like an outcast.
I had friends. But as hard as it is to admit, I often felt like a round peg in a square hole. The feeling of disconnection spread until I wasn’t sure if being me was OK. How could it be OK if I felt so misunderstood?
Inside raged a constant battle with insecurity and bewilderment at the world. Like many adolescents I really struggled with figuring out who I was supposed to be.
And somewhere along the way, the dreams I had as a little girl were buried. Somehow it became OK to expect the mundane. Despite growing in confidence when I was in Sixth Form, I was beginning to settle for a mediocre existence. I started to believe the lies circling round and round in my head- ‘you’ll never be confident enough to do that’. ‘You’ll never be a good artist’. ‘There’s no point in writing anything, it won’t make a difference to anybody’.
I began to prefer the safety of insignificance to the possibilities I was too afraid to reach out and take hold of.
But now, I’ve been set free.
My experiences up until University had led me to assume that most people my age were cliquey and I would have problems connecting with people. Sounds crazy, I know- but this is what I thought. Moving to Canterbury showed me I’d been spectacularly wrong. I met amazing people and making friends came easily to me. To my surprise, some of the things about myself that had made me feel ‘different’ were traits that others appreciated.
Canterbury Vineyard (my church if you didn’t know by now) has been a massive help in teaching me to value myself. One of their main mottos is simple: ‘be yourself’. This applies to freedom of worship and also to the face we wear in church – God wants us to come as we are, not as we think He or our fellow church-goers want us to be. As I spent time in this environment of safety I grew in trust and openness.
CV also values creativity. This is such a blessing to me, as creativity is a big part of who I am. I used to think my gifts were of no value to society. This mindset has been turned around; I remember walking into the warehouse for the first time and being so pleased to see oil paintings hanging on the walls.
The central reason for my changed outlook, however, stands out above all others. That reason is the strengthening of my relationship with God. Nothing else has so impacted my view of myself and the world around me, because when you know who your Father is, you know who you are. The more I understand that I’m created in the image of God (and fearfully and wonderfully made too, bonus! [Psalm 139]), the more I see that there is NO EXCUSE to expect a mediocre life.
I’m not really a loud person. When I started blogging it may have come as a bit of a surprise to some, but the truth is, I have a voice.
I’m no longer prepared to live a life paralysed by fear. 1 John 4: 18 says that ‘Perfect love drives out fear’. It’s time to dig up those dreams I buried and let the Father guide me into new possibilities.
I was listening to a song on a Jesus Culture album yesterday and the lyrics really stood out to me:
‘Wake up child, it’s your time to shine, you were born for such a time as this…. I am royalty, I have destiny. I have been set free, I’m gonna shape history’.
Although life is never perfect, I feel like I’m in a pretty good place right now. If for any reason you’ve ever felt the way I used to, be encouraged. God didn’t create you to feel that way, and He will bring you into freedom if you allow Him.
(image not mine)