For almost a decade I have been on a mission, a journey, a quest, to figure out who I really am. In fact, in one way or another I’ve been searching for the answer to that question since I was 6 years old.
Firefighters Don’t Carry Guns
I remember being in some sort of parade in kindergarten where I dressed up as a firefighter. A classmate of mine dressed up as a cowboy and carried a couple six-shooter pistols and I wanted to have a gun.
So, he let me carry one of his guns. Someone that day told me, “Austin, firefighters don’t carry guns.” And it made me mad. I didn’t want to be just a plain old firefighter. I was going to be the one firefighter that carried a gun.
Little did I know this would become a major theme of my life. Never happy with who I was or how I perceived others saw me, I always needed to add something to make it different or better.
In many ways, I was afraid that no one would like me if what I was doing professionally or personally wasn’t augmented by something else. At my core I simply didn’t like myself the way God made me.
And I couldn’t believe that other people would like just plain old me either. So, I tried adding things to who I am to try and get people to like me.
The Turning Point
In October of 2009, after losing a job, I took a few days to be alone in the mountains at a friend’s vacation home. It was during this experience that I realized I needed to be okay with where I was and who God made me to be.
It has been a little more than nine years since that time in the mountains and for much of that time, I’ve felt like the Israelites wandering in the wilderness.
Glimmers of being truly satisfied with who I am would sporadically appear, but then just as quickly vanish without a trace. Then, last Summer, the first signs appeared that my longing for peace with myself was becoming realized.
At 37 years old I’m finally finding myself for the first time. I’m comfortable in my own skin and trusting that people just like me for who I am with nothing added.