Ever been told you are too much? If you’re anything like me, you have been told most of your life that you are too much. Too bossy, too opinionated, too nice. Too assertive, too passive, too spiritual. Most of us have been told to cool it or reign it in, and the underlying message is all too clear: you are not ok the way you are.
I’ve been told I’m too loud, too noisy. As a kid, I was constantly told to “Turn that racket down” and “Stop singing so loud”. Of course, all the years I spent indulging in music have fuelled my lifelong love affair with singing and songwriting. I now publish original songs on YouTube (shameless self-plug alert) and I worship lead at my local church. All because I grew up being too loud.
I was also told as a teenager that I was too serious. “Lighten up,” people would tell me, “And stop analysing things so much.” Turns out that my serious, analytical brain is ideally suited to trauma counselling. I am now pursuing trauma counselling with a passion. All because I am too serious.
I daydream too much. I get distracted with my inner world of thoughts and ideas. I often find myself drifting off into space, staring out a window instead of interacting with people around me. It looks like I’m just wasting time, but in reality I am shaping words and ideas and imagining the next chapter of my book. My preoccupation is actually the invisible work of a writer. I am now a blogger and author, working on my second book. All because I daydream too much.
These things have their shadow side as well. It is possible, for example, to daydream so much that you miss crucial things happening around you. It is feasible that being too serious can preclude playfulness and being too loud can miss opportunities for silence. I think we need to be aware of the shadow side of our strengths.
But I think we also need to recognise that these traits we have, these unique qualities, are indeed strengths. Without these characteristics, we would not be the people we are today. I would not have become a writer nor pursued trauma counselling nor published my songs on YouTube. Now that I have discovered my aptitude for these things, I would not give them up for the world.
Of course, the flip side of being too much is believing that we are not enough. Most of us have been told that we have to be more of something too: more assertive, more likeable, more organised. More like somebody else. The underlying message, once again, is that we are not ok the way we are.
It is countercultural to believe that we are enough, just as we are in this moment. But in Christ, we are enough. We are inherently loved and valued not because of what we do but because we belong to God. No matter what I achieve or lack or attempt in life, I know I am a child of God.
And that is enough for me.
Have you ever been told you were too much? Do you ever feel like you are not enough? How has knowing Christ’s unconditional love challenged your ideas about being enough?