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Hey y'all!

Welcome to SwansonPonATime! We are a young missionary couple in Peru, and this is our space to share our journey with you! ...Enjoy! 

You Must Be YOU

You Must Be YOU

This is my prayer: God help me, I have no idea how to love better, I am so very impatient and negative most of the time, I need YOU to change my heart. Anything else is a dead-end. Sorry for trying to do it on my own. We rely fully on you in order to be better representatives of how you would love if you were in our shoes. Thank you for your love towards us. We love you.

Man, I definitely do not take credit for this one and in fact I am proud to share that this is something I heard from Pastor Michael Todd in a YouTube sermon my wife Devyn told me about called “Marked” (it’s really good, everyone should check it out in my opinion).

He was talking about David and how God had called him to be king but when David came to defeat Goliath he had to be himself with the skills that God had given him: slingshot and five smooth stones. He couldn’t wear some oversized armor or all of the sudden pick up a sword he had never been trained to use, he HAD to be himself to defeat Goliath.

And later on, when David became king of Israel, God never wanted him to pretend to be someone else just because he was now in a special position or because he now had the eyes of the whole country watching him.

And this stuck with me: when God finally gives you a position of influence or a job you have been working towards, YOU MUST BE YOU!

The reason why this is so critical right now is because I am in a position where I have a ton of people waiting every day for me to take care of them in clinic. And I feel like I have to be perfect, so I pretend. And I am not kidding when I say that every day I am guilty of fake loving and pretending.

I can’t think of anything more exhausting than trying to pretend I’m someone I’m not. I am the king of this whole faking business, like I used to be super goofy and wild and then Jr High and self-awareness hit all at once and I realized I wanted to be someone else maybe more mature, maybe cooler, maybe a bit funnier, definitely someone like in the movies, strong and silent type (like 007, or Thor perhaps).

I still envy people that are comfortable in their own skin. You know those people? The ones that just feel like a breath of fresh air just because they are exactly who they are (without feeling the need to be fake).

Man, trying to be someone else, people-pleasing and pretending to be a better version of myself has bled into most of what I do including being a doctor. This whole doctor-business is a great example, because just try to imagine yourself as a doctor and maybe how you might feel the need to act differently. For me, I always tried to act more business-like (which definitely takes a toll on connection and personability), or try to impress my patients to boost my credibility.

And it is so exhausting to try to be someone you’re not.

God may have called us to do our best to love one another and to love Him, but he did NOT call us to be fakes. In fact, that is what He was talking about when he spoke against the Pharisees who were always faking it on the outside instead of truly loving God and those around them.

This is where David comes back into the picture, because reading the Bible and how David just laid out his raw feelings before God in the Psalms without sugar coating them really showed me that God is totally cool with who I am. He is not afraid of the “real me.” In fact, He created me just the way I am. And yes, He wants us to be our best, but He doesn’t want us to pretend that we are someone we are not.

When I take this to heart at my job, a huge burden is lifted: the burden of always having to have a smile on my face, of being super meek and mild and nice, of pretending I love instead of truly loving (still a daily struggle).

And when I let go of the “Julian show,” I can’t believe it, I actually start to love MORE because I am no longer wasting energy in pretending to be someone I am not. This real love comes from a deep sense of peace inside in who God made me to be and overflows towards others.

I think that when we fake-love, we are using our own strength instead of allowing God to truly love through us.

The hard part about all of this is that there is no magic formula or secret recipe for us to become better lovers of people and lovers of God, the change has to happen on the inside. This change is impossible in our own strength but instead is fueled by the Spirit of God and His relentless love and compassion through us.

So, again this is my prayer: God help me, I have no idea how to love better, I am so very impatient and negative most of the time, I need YOU to change my heart. Anything else is a dead-end. Sorry for trying to do it on my own. We rely fully on you in order to be better representatives of how you would love if you were in our shoes. Thank you for your love towards us. We love you.

Much Love,

Julian

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