A number of years ago, for my birthday I asked people to post suggestions on social media of things for me to try doing in recognition of the new decade. Skydiving, foreign travel, and sampling exotic or unusual foods were all suggested. However, the only suggestion that still stands out in my mind was the one that simple said, “be Bobbi.”
I’d hoped for daring, difficult suggestions but this one…this one proved to be quite an interesting prospect. First, what would it involve? Then, how would I “record” it for posterity? How would any of us record being ourselves. At the time, selfies were still considered quite new (and disdained as being incredibly vain). Only the “kids” were taking selfies. Yet, I decided that my record of being myself would require taking a selfie each day.
Just a simple selfie turned out to be harder than I thought AND an incredible lesson. The first day, I must’ve taken at least 15 selfies before managing one I actually approved of.
By the next day, I’d realized that, besides the fact that my phone at the time didn’t actually have a selfie feature, that it might be a better idea if the “selfie” didn’t include all the background clutter of my life. (Though in retrospect, background clutter IS my life!)
I moved the mirror and moved the camera to only capture my face. Yet, even without the clutter, it must’ve taken at least ten photos before I was happy with the results. Plus, I’d made sure my hair was right and put on a clean shirt and my necklace, and I may even have a wee bit of lipstick on, something I never wore but would look good in a photo archive of my year. I was discovering that “being Bobbi” for the photo each day was involving a lot of work. Was it truly me?
Day after day, at the end of each day, I would take a photo as part of the record. Over the course of the first month, something happened. I started to wonder “why” it was so hard to get one photo each day. I started to realize I wanted the “perfect” shot, yet also knew that my “perfect” moments are rare. Why wasn’t I content with any old photo of myself since most people see me in all of the any old moments of my life?
I’ve often heard people say, “I hate photos of myself.” That wasn’t my problem. Yet, I was coming to understand that photos capture a moment. The people who we encounter see us in all of the moments, most of them imperfect. What we see in photos is what others see all of the time. What if I learned to accept that my “regular” self was good enough for a selfie? Since “regular” self was what my family, friends, and coworkers were seeing each day.
Each of us is a beloved child of God. Being Bobbi didn’t require changing the packaging but accepting myself. It was realizing that I was (and am) beloved by God and those around me. Being Bobbi is a good albeit imperfect thing.
From then on I learned to only take one photo each day. Accept it for whatever it was because I was accepted by God and others for who I was and am becoming. Then one day, I realized that I didn’t need the photos each day anymore in order to just “be Bobbi.” I could best “be Bobbi” by learning to love myself, including my quirks.
Me. Joyful, playful, silly, imperfect me.
Jesus was asked which of the commandments was greatest. Jesus responded by sharing that we should love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength and to love our neighbors as ourselves. (Mark 12:28-34) How could I love God and others if I wasn’t willing to love myself? To see myself (the good, the bad, and the ugly) and believe that God loved me? Loved me even before I experienced that love.
We do not need achieve perfection, the perfect “selfie,” before loving God and our neighbors. We just need to start loving…love God…love self…love neighbors…all of it, no matter how imperfect it may be. AND, when loving is from the heart, it is truly perfect, even in its imperfection. Don’t wait for the perfect moment, just be you and love big…the way we were created to!
You are already beloved…what gets in your way of being the beloved creation you already are?