I like me.
I didn't always. In fact, I can remember sitting in my middle school math classroom, watching as one girl made fun of me with her best friend. I was awkward, extremely shy, and not at all interested in the Backstreet Boys. Add all those things together and you get the perfect target. I just wanted to melt into the floor, away from that girl and her friend. No matter what I did, I couldn't fit in with them. I couldn't be super skinny, athletic, social, and boy-crazy like they were. I knew I didn't want to be like them. But I also didn't want to be myself.
Fast forward to high school. Same story, different characters. There was this one guy in my history class who would sit next to me and wait for the teacher to walk to the other side of the classroom. And then he'd lean over and bark like a dog in my face. An hour and a half a day. Every day. For an entire semester. (He was trying to be clever. To my knowledge, he was an otherwise normal human being.)
But somewhere along the line I decided I didn't care. Somewhere along the line the words "made in the image of a holy God" started to sink in. And somewhere along the line, I decided I kind of liked being different, even if it meant people didn't quite know what to do with me.
Yeah, I'm quiet. And I can't catch a ball if I knew it was the last thing keeping me alive. And I'm probably about as aggressive as a lilypad. (Confrontation? YIKES.) And I'll always avoid the giant crowd of people in favor of a quiet corner and a book.
But I'll also listen if you've got a problem, even if it's 2:00 am. And I'll probably cry with you because that's how my heart works. And once we're friends, we're going to be friends for life. I'm as loyal as they come. Even if I can't do sports, I can draw you a decent picture, or play you any praise and worship song ever written in the '90s on my guitar.
Over the years I've had a lot of people tell me they wished I'd be different. That I'd act differently or do things they did or be more like so-and-so. I used to try it. But I felt fake and stupid. I mean, I'm not someone else. I'm me. Ashley. Completely unlike anyone else ever made, and completely unlike anyone else who will ever exist. God had a reason for making me the way I am. Who am I to throw it back in His face because I think I should be just like everyone else?
It's taken a long time and, don't get me wrong, I definitely still have days where I don't really like me all that much. But they're definitely fewer and farther between than they used to be.
So...what do you like about you today? :-) I'd love to hear it.