When I was a little girl I watched far too many reruns of the Brady Bunch. I seriously loved that show! My favorite character was Marcia—-the popular, smart, beautiful oldest daughter with the long blond hair, groovy outfits, and basically amazing life. The truth was Marcia had it all. Every girl wanted to be her friend and every boy wanted to be her date. Why even her name was cool—-not weird, difficult to pronounce and easy to make fun of like “Adessa”. Essentially, as a little girl I wanted to be Marcia Brady. She had it all and I wished upon wish that I could be just like her. (I even remember pretending I was her and walking around the house calling myself “Marcia”.) Looking back now it seems funny—the type of silly things that little girls do. And yet as I’m no longer a little girl but a woman in her forties, I’m discovering for the first time in my life that I have broken free from the “Marcia Brady Syndrome”. What does that mean? Well, for the first time in my life I don’t want to be somebody else. I’ve found that this fourth decade of life has brought with it some remarkably freeing revelations that I’m kind of loving.
Even though I would never say that this age is without it’s challenges in a strange way these challenges have helped produce changes that are producing a remarkable new freedom in my heart and mind. After decades of trying to live up other people’s idea of who I should be, what I should do, and what the mold for the perfect Christian woman looks like, I’ve found a genuine peace abandoning all of these burdens. Rather, I’ve found myself strangely on a new quest: Just being myself. And although I’m still meandering and finding my way through this maze, I have to say that so far, I’ve been enjoying the journey. Along the way, I’m finding that I’m changing. My ideas are changing. My concepts of “this is how things have to be” are changing. While I’m finding peace and freedom in abandoning many of the burdens of other people’s expectations, I find myself focusing more and more of God’s expectations. I’m praying prayers like, “Who do You want me to be?”, “What do YOU want me to do?”. Rather than running from the things that make me unique, I find myself asking God how He wants to highlight my uniqueness and use it for His glory. One of the Scriptures I’ve been praying is Psalm 139: I’ve been remembering truths like: God knows everything about me. O Lord, you have examined my heart and know everything about me. You know when I sit down or stand up. You know my thoughts even when I’m far away. You see me when I travel and when I rest at home. You know everything I do. You know what I am going to say even before I say it, Lord. You go before me and follow me. You place your hand of blessing on my head. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too great for me to understand! ---God created me just the way I am—every unique detail He designed. (Even my extremely unique name) You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it. You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. --God has a plan for every day of my life from beginning to end. You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed. --The God of the Universe thinks about ME!! How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered! I can’t even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand! Given the fact that God knows everything about me (even the things I haven’t discovered yet), that He created every unique part of me, and that He has a plan and a purpose for my life, I’ve found myself praying over and over again: Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life. You see, the one thing that this new phase of life has taught me is that I do not want to be on a journey to self-discovery. Instead, I am on a quest of God-discovery. Like too many women I’ve wasted too many years of my life trying to imitate or impress other people. I’ve expelled too much energy trying to be like whoever was the current “Marcia Brady” in my life. After years of God working on my heart, I sincerely feel like I am done with this. I’m over it. And yet, I don’t want to get caught in the selfish trap of living to please myself. Instead, I’m purposely asking the Holy Spirit to help me discover the areas of my uniqueness that He wants to highlight. To search me, to point out what He likes and what He wants changed and to lead me along the path that He has for my life. I’ve even found it helpful to pray this prayer when I’m making the practical decisions of life. Rather than trying to be just another copy of the newest, hippest “Marcia Brady”, I’m asking, “Okay, Holy Spirit, how do you want ADESSA to handle this situation, choice, or circumstance?” Like I said, it’s a new way of thinking—-but I’m LOVING it. Why am I sharing this? Well, I know there are so many other women who are struggling with “Marcia Brady Syndrome”. Rather than pursuing God’s unique plan for their lives they are running from it and trying to copy God’s plan for someone else’s life. And it’s wearing them out. Frustrating them. Making them feel like they are always losing because they are running someone else’s race. Today I want to encourage you to say “Goodbye, Marcia Brady.” Give up the quest to imitate someone else. Instead, spend some time studying Psalm 139 and pray that God will help you to discover Who He created YOU to be. Then day by day enjoy the freedom of finding your uniqueness.
To Read More About Finding Your True Identity in Christ, read Finding Healing.