What were some of your earliest experiences with titles?
The first title I ever realized I had been given was “Daddy’s girl.” I had no idea what it meant at the time, and I didn’t realize until years later that my father was slowly raising me to be a tomboy. Since then, I began to realize that there was more to life, more that I was capable of being.
'Creative' was always there, too. I was always involved in that and took comfort in it. My parents would often call me gentle and kind. I was the youngest in my family, and just fell into that identity easily. While at a Christian summer camp during my middle school years, I was given the title 'encouraging', which has stuck with me and spoken over everything that I do in my life. I don't think my camp counselors at the time could have known the impact that it would have on my life. I think that was the first title that really stuck with me and actually defined my character, rather than just traits.
I've held onto that a lot, and I think it has shaped a big part of me.The tattoo on my arm means 'Helper alongside.' It's a reoccurring theme that has always come up in conjunction with the Barnabas spirit of encouragement. I have never had the desire to be in the foreground whatsoever; I absolutely hate it. Just being able to stand behind people is all I’ve really ever wanted to do.
Can you tell me about a time that you were in pursuit of an earthly title?
Yeah, career. Career is huge for me, and something I’m still working with and fighting over. I just had a big victory in letting that go a couple of months ago. I wanted to be the best that I could be in my field. I’m a footwear and accessories designer, and I was really striving to be in the luxury market. I wanted to work with the best designers and materials possible. That’s a lot of pressure, though, to put on myself since I have only three years of experience. It’s ridiculous to even be thinking about that. So I’ve been letting go of that title - successful footwear designer - and choosing things before it: choosing God before it, choosing relationships before it, and not getting consumed in the place where this is the only definition of success.
God has been teaching me being able to see past what is directly in front of me, and how to see through the lens of His eyes. I was idolizing a lifestyle, and a dream that had started in design school. That version of success wrapped up my thinking and led me to make all decisions selfishly towards it. It wasn’t until I had chosen to try to live fully for God that those thoughts slowly started to get replaced with new thoughts and new more beautiful and commanding titles over my life.
My career is not what I am defined by; it is not who I am. I am not a designer. That is what I do, but I am a daughter of God. That is who I am.
Are there some other titles you feel like are not positive or true?
I think 'helpless' was one of them. Being the youngest child I always felt I had to prove I could do everything on my own instead of having other people do it for me. Like you have to prove you’re independent, because other people don’t think you are. And whether they actually think that or not, it’s just an inside fight, an insecurity that you have. I felt like everything had almost come too easily, that I didn’t have to necessarily fight for everything. So it’s like, was it worth it? Why am I here? Was this given to me or is this something I worked for? I think feeling undeserving is a big thing for me.
How did that influence the way you lived?
I think they have helped me in a lot of ways to be more self sufficient, but it's also hurt in a lot of ways because I hate asking for help or showing weakness. That was big for me—I wasn’t letting people through. Every time I had to ask for help it was physically painful for me. I’d feel it just twisting inside my gut. I constantly need to remind myself to live from a place of humility instead of self-preservation. It’s not the opinions of others that matter, rather that Jesus put on all of my shame and bore it on the cross.
For me, not asking for help and sharing my struggles was a way of covering and hiding. As if a fabricated façade could get me through things and then I could break down on my own and try to put my own pieces back together. I struggled a lot, and still am, with letting things out and talking through things with God and with people, but I’m now coming from the perspective of a humble heart. It gives me so much more freedom to live out of who I am in God, not who I am trying to show the world I am.
How do you think your identity as God's daughter has changed your perspective on that? Because it seems like you look back on it in a different way now?
Just to think about how He views me is incredible. How he views me through Jesus. God wants us to go to Him, God wants us to ask for help. He wants us to come to Him in that childlike manner, saying “Dad this is what's on my heart; can we walk through that together?” It's not going to be pretty; it’s not going to be clean; it's not going to be all put together - it’s going to be a glorified mess. But I think that’s the beauty of it, now. I've been working really hard the past few months on just being vulnerable and asking for help, being able to push through those different feelings and realizing that other people want to help me too. That’s a big one. Other people do care.
In closing, what resonates the most when you think about the theme Untitled?
When I first heard “untitled” I really liked it, because I think there is so much beauty in what we don’t see. My favorite verses will always go back to that. There is so much that we don’t see, and there’s so much that we can’t see and I think that when you put different titles on things, it puts it in a box already. It can change someone's mind about something. It can define someone, when they don’t want to be defined as that. When something or someone is untitled, it gives people the chance to be themselves, to grow without condemnation.
You put different titles on something, and it's automatically something you can compare it to. I think for me getting rid of that spirit of comparison, getting rid of the title of what people think, I think that’s been really important for me. It’s getting rid of that fear that this has to fit into a certain box. It's very freeing, It’s beautiful.