Chapter 4

The Starting Point

 When I wrote this chapter, I was looking for a specific quote with which to start it. Though I checked several sources and found the quote, not one source gave an actual reference. There was a time when I would have shrugged, and decided it wasn’t worth the effort.

I was wrong. Do your homework. I found the quote, but realized it didn’t convey the meaning I sought. Because I kept searching, I found an article that inspired me, and then I found another and still another. The quote was the starting point that led me to greater discoveries.

We come into this world with endless potential but not unlimited potential. To be unlimited is to be lacking in any controls. But to be endless is to be or seem to be without end, or joined at the ends, such as what we find in the endless circle of a ring.

Someone who is 6’5” will never be a jockey. Someone who is 4’11” will never be an NBA player. But those limitations do not mean a dream in either field excludes either person. The 6’5” person may not be able to play in the NBA, and being 4’11” does not mean the person would be a great jockey. But it still doesn’t mean that either person is barred from pursuing either direction, but the dreams will need to take into consideration the possibilities. Either person could pursue either field as a trainer, medical person, writer, or any of dozens of other options.

I could live to be a thousand years old, and I could never be a sumo wrestler or a bullfighter (nor do I want to be), but there are those who dream such dreams. I don’t want to be a professional football player or a NASCAR driver, but I love to watch both. And though I enjoy playing the piano, I could never play professionally. There is something that I lack in order to pursue such a profession. I’ve played piano for many years, but there is a level I cannot rise above no matter how many hours I put in. Again, I’m all right with that; I don’t really want to be a professional pianist.

However, I am able to play the piano, and I love to cook and to read. I love dogs and horses, movies and music, traveling and exploring, walking, meeting new people… that last one is interesting because I am also very reserved; a seeming contradiction perhaps, but it is who I am now.

We are born into this world with spirits that are uniquely our own, into families and situations that will influence and shape us. Ultimately, what we become is a summation of our choices. Every choice we make is both an acceptance and a rejection. Accepting one thing means rejecting another; rejecting one thing means accepting another.

Blessed are those who are born into families that are nurturing and supportive, into environments that encourage and foster them to become their best selves.

Unfortunately, most of us are born into less than idyllic circumstances. I was a doormat, a scapegoat, a secret keeper, a toy, a puppet, a dress-up doll, a way for others to gain attention for themselves — a way for someone else to control something — namely, me. Every personality trait was used against me at one time or another to control me or change me into something “they” found more acceptable, a better representation of themselves, maybe, or maybe what they thought would be perfect. It doesn’t matter. I lost myself.

If you take away nothing else from this book, I want you to recognize that you are making the decision to reveal your true self to yourself and ultimately to the rest of the world, an incredible work of art: YOU. Scary? Absolutely, without a doubt. But ultimately worth it, and even you believe that or you wouldn’t be reading this book.

God doesn’t create junk; He creates Art. Some of it is easy to recognize, but some of it may leave you wondering. Think warthogs, the duckbill platypus, stinkweed, mosquitoes. He sees the purpose of everything in His creation, especially when we don’t.

Everything I’d ever heard or read had taught me that when you accept Christ as your Savior you become a new person. I didn’t feel new. I was still struggling with the same things. I was still making many of the same mistakes. Where was this new person?

I Samuel 16:7 “For the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.”

I was at a disadvantage, from the start. In relation to creating a happy, healthy life for myself, I didn’t know what to look for or how to recognize what I wanted, even if I found it, let alone how to incorporate it into my life.

My tools for unearthing my true self were limited by the design of those who influenced me because if they controlled the tools, then they controlled the outcome, or at least they thought they did. Therein lay the problem. They could shape me, mold me, work me over, make me over, but no matter how hard they tried, they did not have control over the final outcome.

There is within you a uniqueness that is resistant to change against your nature. You have a choice: Accept or reject your true self. If you reject it, it will not go away, but it is possible to bury it so deeply it’s almost impossible to find. It is impossible to find if you give up.

So, make the decision: Accept what is, and continue as you are, or decide to make a different choice, and know up front that it’s going to be hard. Mistakes will be made. This journey you are choosing will be uncomfortable. You’ll sometimes wonder what you were thinking. But in the end is the possibility that you will find yourself and finally realize that you are enough, you are not alone, you are lovable, you are remarkable, you are of worth, and you make a difference. And you are a lifelong project, worth the time and effort and energy, as well as the pain and struggle. So accept the challenge of the adventure of a lifetime, with new valleys and peaks to explore.

© 2010 The Project: The Tools I Wish I’d Known About Sooner / My Abuse Survivor’s Basic Toolkit by Judy


  1. Hi Judy, This statement caught my attention: “There is within you a uniqueness that is resistant to change against your nature.” I think that is true but it can have both a positive or a negative aspect. An example is that you can have a “giving” nature or a “selfish” nature or even aspects of both, at the same time. So I would say that learning about yourself or finding your own self worth, has to do with becoming honestly aware of both your strengths and your weaknesses. And yes, it can get complicated!

    • How funny. I had to go back and read it again because I didn’t remember it. And you’re right.

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