In elementary school, I was the only blonde girl in the sea of mostly Asian students at my international school in Japan. In middle school, I stuck out like a sore thumb; I was an early bloomer and towered over everyone, including the boys. In high school, I was way too sure of myself, and got along better with the teachers than the students. Throughout college, I was either the sorority girl who didn’t party, or the Christian girl who dressed and talked like a sorority girl. I’ve never felt like I fit in. Even now, I feel like the only post-grad who is more concerned with making an eternal impact than making money. My insecure self yells at my spirit, “Why don’t you stop being so you so we can fit in more. Don’t you just want to be normal?” It’s the inner Caitlin Snyder tempter tantrum that usually outwardly manifests itself in tears, just like most of my feelings. The biggest lies I fight on a daily basis are: 1) life would be better if you were less you, and 2) who you are does not matter.
Along with desperately wanting to fit in, through the years, I’ve found myself cursing the things that make me uniquely me. Often times, when my insecurities are strong and my flesh seems to be victorious, I start to think my life would be easier if I was less me. If my voice was a little softer, my heart less tender and my mind more focused. As I’ve started to wrestle through some of these lies and insecurities, and put them at the foot of the cross, I’ve heard the Lord say, “Caitlin, because you matter to me, your voice, your heart and your mind matter. Not only do they matter to me, but they also matter to the world. The best gift you have to offer is you.”
My voice, while it cannot carry a tune, is always ready to admit my own imperfection or offer encouragement to someone. My willingness to speak gives others the gift of saying, “Me too,” instead of having to be brave enough to confess something fit. My words are powerful – they can build others up or tear them down, if I’m not careful. My voice matters to the Lord, and my voice matters to the world.
My heart, with scars from broken friendships and unhealthy relationships, is always ready to jump into someone else’s disappointment and sit in it with them. Its tenderness responds to the Lord’s leadings, and is so sensitive to other’s needs. My heart reflects the heart of the Lord, who in scripture is said to “see a crowd of people and have compassion on them.” I never want my heart to stop breaking for the hurting, the lonely and the lost. My heart matters to the Lord, and my heart matters to the world.
My mind, that moves a million miles a minute, is always ready to make a connection across often unrelated situations. Its ability to see the Gospel even in a book written about politics allows the rest of me to remember that Jesus has power over absolutely every area of my life. Despite its inability to process information internally, I’m a verbal processor to the MAX, my mind continually demonstrates the complexity of me. I can put the same amount of thought into the movie Legally Blonde as I can into thinking about the role that black pastors played in the Civil Rights Movement. My mind matters to the Lord, and my mind matters to the world.
Praise the Lord that there is not another Caitlin Snyder, no one else will see, process or understand the world the same way as I do because of past experiences and my unique identity. But if I’m not going to be the best Caitlin Snyder possible, then the world is going to miss out on my spunky spirit, my passion for freedom and my readiness to declare that I’m a hot mess.
So here’s to you and me – may we stop trying to fit in and give into the reality that the Lord made us special. We’ve been chosen by the King of Kings and Lord of Lords! Our voices, our hearts, our minds and our experiences matter to the Lord, and they matter to the world.