Guest Post by: Audra Rogers
Why I Never Take the Advice “Just Be Yourself”
I’ve heard it said a million times. Everything will be okay if you “just be yourself.”
But will it? What if, underneath it all, you have an angry, vengeful heart? What if you have to work hard every day to be a nice person? What if you are embattled in choosing your response to everyday little things? Sometimes it is quite honestly exhausting for me to “just be myself.”
I was wronged as a child, and I became a fighter. An angry, scrappy emotional fighter. I was very impatient and annoyed easily, and I was so bitter and angry for so many years it became second nature.
I think I chose Anger because anything less than that to me was weakness. Weakness was not something I dared tolerate in myself, because in my eyes weak people got hurt. If you were strong and powerful and quite frankly scary, people would leave you alone. I felt it was better to push people away from the start to avoid the possibility of really knowing or trusting them.
As the years passed, the outward anger subsided more and more, and I grew into a fully functional adult with a college degree and a good job in my field of study. I met and married a wonderful, understanding man.
I felt drawn to church after our first son was born and we encountered financial difficulties. Regularly attending church made me feel better and the fellowship kept me on track to improve myself. I knew I still had my underlying issues that I had to deal with to be able to be a good wife and mom, especially in trying times.
The more I listened to the messages on Sundays, and heard members get up and tell their stories, I at long last felt like it was okay to be broken and to acknowledge it. For so long, I felt like I had to hide any flaws that I had, and I got in my own way when it came to healing.
“Look at the birds free and unfettered, not tied down to a job description, careless in the care of God. And you count far more to him.” Matthew 6:26
To me, this means that we are all walking around with our hurts and imperfections, and we are given permission to be human. Just as we are, covered by God’s grace. I can relax and let it all go, and just be. What a relief to just be.
I gave my heart to Jesus and was baptized on November 13, 2011. It wasn’t magic water and life didn’t become perfect, but my heart truly relaxed and I felt covered. And warm.
We now have two beautiful little boys, and those little eyes that watch my every move are the exact motivation I need to stay on track and stamp out “the Angries.” They still rear their ugly heads in the little things sometimes, but I am trying really hard to be a good example. I would sincerely rather die than pass on an angry life to my sons. It is a terrible way to live.
This is not the easiest world to live in when you are trying to quiet anger. I pray daily and ask God for help, and I try to give as much grace as I get. I am by no means perfect now, but I know my boys are in a good, stable home and we are all happy. The anger buck stops here.
I am still a work in progress, so for now I’m still not heeding the advice to “just be myself.” I’m not the person I want to be yet. But I’m light years away from where I used to be and I’m trying. I promise you, I’m trying.
Audra Rogers was born and raised in a small Kansas farm town, and now lives in Nashville, TN with her husband and two young boys.
She spent ten years working in the fast-paced news business, and stopped to smell the roses this past year full time at home. She’s a proud resident of country life and loves bonfires in the fire pit, riding go-carts and just plain old porch sitting.
She has a snarky, sarcastic sense of humor, but it is meant well. When life gets hard, it helps her to find the humor (and the lesson) in it all.
She also hopes to one day drive a car in a demolition derby.