I’ve always been a naturally shy person… a girl mostly okay with being anonymous because that is most comfortable for me. I don’t really mind fading into the background most of the time…that way no one is looking at me or judging me. I totally recharge my batteries by being ALONE. Give me some space every now and then or I might just lose it! I was PAINFULLY shy as a child. My kindergarten teacher didn’t want to move me to 1st grade because I was extremely quiet. Cue mom and dad looking at each other puzzled because I was a MENACE AND A HALF at home. I was this way at school until my freshman year of high school. My parents and I decided to move me to a school across town where I knew nobody except my older sister and her friends. They were all seniors, so I would never really run into them in the hallways. Plus seniors were the ones who sold freshmen elevator passes (when there was no elevator)…So what freshman would really want to be friends with seniors anyhow? (I’ll just take my school map and be on my way, thanks!) So my very first day I had to have a brand new attitude. I specifically remember giving myself a pep talk my first morning of high school. “Andrea (not cool enough to go by “Andi” at the time) you MUST be outgoing today and make friends. It’s your time.” I walked into my first class, took a seat, and sitting beside me with a friendly demeanor was Christie Wheeler. And right behind her? Paul Stephens. I immediately introduced myself, just hoping they wouldn’t think I was a FREAK. Luckily, these two were my very first friends and two of my closest friends throughout high school. They took me in that day and helped me to avoid feeling anonymous whenever they could. Take a look at us freshman BABIES!
Sadly my feelings of bravery quickly died when just a few hours after meeting my new friends, figuring out we didn’t have lunch together, getting overwhelmed by the crowd, I snuck my way into the bathroom stall to eat my very first high school lunch. It was pretty crappy…see what I did there? (Somewhere right now my husband is giving me “side eyes”). I felt anonymous as I walked into that large cafeteria with many nameless faces engaged in their own conversations and friendships. Instead of being brave, I ran and threw myself a pity party. I felt alone.
Then junior year came. I was part of the best Blackman production ever (not biased at all) The Wizard of Oz. I was double cast as Glinda the Good Witch and on my “off shows” I was an Ozian. We were supposed to do this extremely simple (to those who don’t have two left feet) dance move. Ya know, the kind where you go left foot, right foot, spin around, repeat across the stage. Or was that right foot, left foot, spin around, repeat? Anyhow…there we were practicing when all the sudden the moves got jumbled up in my head, and I fell flat on my face…and almost caused an accident as people had to skirt their bodies around me before falling flat on their faces too! I’m not even making this up! Take note – this is all in front of the guy I had the hots for, a lot of my friends, AND (I didn’t know it at the time) my future husband–who still remembers this! To make matters worse, our director decided it would be better for me (and less risky for the other Ozians) if I stood in the back by the gate to Oz while the others danced across the stage. *hits head with hand.* Embarrassing! Talk about wanting the ground to swallow you up whole! If I could’ve done ANYTHING to make myself anonymous in that moment, I would’ve done it!
Me as Glinda the Good Witch
Later in life I became a mommy. Mommy to the most beautiful boy I could’ve ever dreamed of! I had him, and a few weeks later my inner world came crashing down. I suffered from Postpartum Depression and became more of a recluse than I’ve ever been. I even forgot how to socialize with others without having anxiety! I went to the doctor, started taking medicine, but still struggled to take care of my basic needs. I didn’t let anyone know how much I needed help. I sort of just sat in bed and let myself fade into the background, while trying to take care of everyone else. To me, anonymous became my identity.
Becoming anonymous can sometimes be an easy way out. Like my embarrassing moment. Instead of OWNING my (hilarious-now) failure, I wanted to hide. Sometimes being anonymous can be extremely hurtful… like sneaking away to the bathroom because nobody knew me or cared to reach out to the new girl to eat lunch with them. Being anonymous can sometimes even be dangerous and scary…like when I was dealing with PPD and no one knew how bad it was becoming.
But let me remind you of something. You are NEVER anonymous to Jesus. In the funny times when you just have to laugh at yourself, He sees you…and I like to think He laughs WITH you! In the lonely times, He’s with you. In the times that seem chaotic, He’s your peace. In the disheartening, scary times, He’s your hope. He’s ALWAYS there. If you have a relationship with Him, you’re His. You’re officially His child. Your identity is never Anonymous; your identity is Daughter of the King. He beckons, “DAUGHTER…YOU are MINE.” He undoubtedly claims you!
“But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God” John 1:12
Each one of us feels invisible at some point in life. Cindi Wood says, “Earthly living can leave you feeling lost in the crowd and untethered to security, but there is One calling your name.” Jesus is the One calling your name! I pray you’re able to identify yourself with CHRIST and avoid Satan’s tendency to make you feel unimportant and anonymous. YOU are a child of the ONE TRUE GOD!