Friday, October 16, 2015

What a Hip-Hop Song Taught Me About Being Me

If you've read my blogs for any length of time (like 5 minutes), you've probably noticed that I'm not like everyone else. 

I'm quirky and goofy. 
I'm unpolished and unrefined.
I'm transparent and honest.

I can be serious, but I tend to infuse humor in everything I do, say, and write.

For a long time, I tried to change who I was to conform to what I thought a "Christian leader" should look like---especially a FEMALE Christian leader---especially a female Christian leader who is also a writer and a speaker. 

Because this is the woman who is asked to speak all over the world:

She embodies grace. She is serious, soft-spoken, and refined--not at all goofy (like me). She has attended every seminar, workshop and speaker training out there and has polished her craft so that it shines-she shines and God shines through her. She is poised and graceful. She never forgets what she wants to say and if she does, she recovers with grace. 

Yeah, so not me. 

Special sunglasses for "partly sunny days"
I'm far from graceful and certainly not poised. I think I was talking when God was handing out grace and forgot to get in line (But someone once told me, "Yeah, but you've got chutzpah, so it's all good.).

I've never been soft-spoken, nor "refined" unless you count the refining that Christ has done in my soul. I sometimes forget what I want to say, but I'll tell you that I forgot--I'm that transparent.

I've attended lots of seminars, workshops and speaker training. I have won humorous speaking contests with Toastmasters so that's got to count for something.

Yet, when I visit the websites of other bloggers who are speaking, or even the more well-known authors and ministry leaders, they all seem so...well, together (Deep down, I know they're not, and they'll tell you they're not). Their websites list their speaking topics and booking information. It's all packaged so tidy. I'm not tidy. I'm still trying to figure out how my blog works!

And then the devil whispers in my ear, "No one would want YOU to come speak to them. You'd stumble, bumble and fumble all over the place. They don't want that."

Maybe I would. But maybe I wouldn't. Maybe they don't. But maybe they do. And maybe that is just what someone is looking for-authentic simplicity.

Now, I'm not implying that all other writers/bloggers/speakers are pretentious or phony-not at ALL! It's more like I've been believing a lie that I have to be a certain way in order to do a certain thing. And I can't.

Today I found joy in a hip-hop song, called  "Do My Thing" by Estelle. Not my style of music, but this song really hit me where I needed a good smack in the head. Don't read too much into it (like rebellion). Listen to it and realize that it's about embracing who you are and not conforming to who everyone thinks you should be. That "everyone" in my case, happens to be the cacophony of liars in my head. 

(You can read the words here--if you're over 50, it takes a few listens to understand them)

I can't be like anyone else because I wasn't meant to be. I'm meant to be me. I don't want to fit in, wear the same clothes, speak on the same topic, write the same type of book, use the same flowery language-because I can't. It's not who I am. I'm more Joyce Meyer than Beth Moore (nothing personal, Joyce---as if she will read this). But ultimately, I'm really not like Joyce either---I'm just Mary Flaherty--Mare Flare.

Estelle puts it so well (in non-flowery language--maybe that's why I like the song so much!)

I can't do my thing like you, well that just ain't hot.

My road, it ain't your road, but trust I know, I know just where I'm going-

My flow, it ain't your flow but trust I know, I know just how I'm flowing-
I'ma do my thing.

I do believe that when I speak what God asks me to speak, He shines through me. My speaking style, like my writing style fits my personality. While I will encourage you, I'll also want to smack you upside the head (but I won't) and tell you to stop feeling sorry for yourself and get over it (although I probably won't say that), that you'll never get unstuck if you insist on staying stuck (I will tell you that). 

I may not be a sleek and polished yacht; I'm more like a rowboat that needs a good paint job. But sometimes unpretentious simplicity in the form of a rowboat is exactly what someone else wants. And Jesus happened to like rowboats.

Just because I don't fit the "Christian speaker/writer" mold doesn't mean that I don't have something unique to offer. 

And so do you. 

We all have a voice. We all have a story. And we need to stop apologizing (mostly to ourselves!) for not being who we think everyone else thinks we should be!

Just be the you God made you to be. Embrace your personality--don't try to change in order to fit the mold. It won't work. You'll get frustrated, and others will see through the disguise.

There is joy in discovering the freedom of being uniquely you.

What "mold" have you been trying to force yourself into, knowing that it "just ain't hot?"

Blessings Along the Path,

PS:  Don't forget about my giveaway! 

Click here for more details. Open till October 30.

sharing this blog with some of these lovely bloggers and with Write 31 Days

This is part of the Write 31 Days series. Click here to read other posts about Intentional Joy!


  1. Mary, this is beautiful! I'm thankful you are who you are. Your space here is always encouraging and hope-filled. And I appreciate your writing. And your heart! Keep being who you are, and helping us to do the same through your wonderful words. You are a blessing!

    1. Thanks, Julie for your beautiful words! I've been enjoying your series-I found it today (there are just so many!) and it's a lot like my post today so I'm savoring the posts. Great topic, by the way!

  2. Once again, my dear, your brilliance shines through. I'm thinking we just need to have a Misfits Retreat for those of us who don't fit the polished mold of conference retreat speakers. I put on a show with lots of drama and make ladies do crafts. Can't explain such things to folks who do inside the box events. Ah . . . well . . .

    1. Haha! I haven't quite figured out what my "speaking" engagement might look like. But I do love the Misfits Retreat idea. We'd probably be sold out! I saw your lovely teacup blog-although I'm more of a mug gal.Never quite got into the teacup thing. Too dainty for a banged up rowboat I suppose.

  3. "I may not be a sleek and polished yacht; I'm more like a rowboat that needs a good paint job." Thank you for your willingness to be so transparent. I'm so thankful to know that God doesn't expect me to be like everyone else. He made me to be me. And if there's one thing I've learned it's that every outing to sea requires a different kind of boat depending on the circumstances. Some of us are giant cruise ships while others are sailboats. Each have their time and place, and I am certainly thankful that we have both. :)

    Alyssa (visiting from #DanceWithJesus)

    1. I love how you continued that analogy, Alyssa! Thank you for visiting.

  4. Absolutely wonderful post, and I LOVE the picture. This is so important to remember- often times we feel like we have to be a certain way to serve God, but really He made us a unique way to serve Him. Thanks for the reminder to embrace all the quirkiness of ourselves :)

    1. Thanks, Kelsey! I suppose we're all quirky. I think writers are especially quirky. Thanks for stopping by!

  5. We love your sense of humor and quirky self. I love it! And you're right. I'm a mess. We all are. No matter how the package looks we're all messy. Blessings to you friend!!

    1. While I know that you're right, Deb, sometimes it just *seems* that others have it all together. I guess I'm just one of those people who stopped trying to make it look like I do. It's just too exhausting! Thanks for stopping by.