This is 31 conversations from the front porch day 13… you can find the rest of the series here.
Day 13: What Gives You Legitimacy
On the 10th of October we celebrated one year in our new house. This little piece of land in the city. The blue house with the white trim, the huge front porch, and the overgrown yard. The house where nothing inside is level, almost everything needs an update because the last time someone got creative in here it was still in the 1980s.
This is where I write words from porch furniture, and couch cushions, and desk chairs.
For the longest time I wanted a place of our own. A little piece of real estate that we could paint without breaking a renter’s agreement, where we could get a dog without having to pay extra, where we didn’t have to worry about the carpet, and if something broke we called the repair man and the owner paid the bill. Now we are responsible to repair the mishaps, service the HVAC, and replace an appliance when it finally kicks the bucket.
I was always looking & searching, never feeling settled and then we went and found a place, made the leap to move.
Perhaps owning a home was a part of that “searching for legitimacy” thing I have often struggled with.
What I have discovered is that owning a home – does not make you legit.
Buying a bigger house only gives me more rooms to clean…. it doesn’t add any genuine value to the substance of my life.
When we went to apply for a mortgage we found out that our credit scores were over 800. Guess what? That doesn’t make us legit… good with credit and money, yes. Legit… nope.
Nothing I purchase can give me legitimacy.
It may give me a momentary high… a rush that is sending me a counterfeit message, “Now that you bought this you have value, you will be seen, you are cool, they will acknowledge you.”
But that message is a fraud.
I really like my truck – I tell my husband every time I drive it, “I love my truck.”
It was a much needed size-upgrade from our minivan. I’m not saying I didn’t like our minivan because I did. It was convenient. It fit our needs at the time. It was great for all those car seats.
But I LOVE my Suburban.
HOWEVER that Suburban does not give me legitimacy… it simply gets me to the library and back.
The thing is that I have spent parts of my life looking for legitimacy in all the wrong places. We all do.
It is easy to do when the world shouts that my weight, my house, my car, my clothes, my work, and my bank account are what give me value in this life.
Everywhere you turn there is another advertisement telling us we will be legit if we:
- can lose more weight
- be more attractive
- try a new diet
- choose a fitness plan
- buy a brand of clothing
- smear a type of makeup
- purchase a certain cream
- wrap our bodies in a special siran wrap
- buy that secret bra
- find success in 5 easy steps
- buy a home
- insure our lives
- take a miracle pill
But at the end of the day I can go searching and selling, using and wanting… but not find legitimacy in any of those things.
So Where is Legitimacy Found?
What I have discovered is that legitimacy is not found outside of myself. Legitimacy is all about me. It is what I believe about the world around me, what I understand & then live about myself, how I relate to God, what makes my heart leap, and what I have been intended for in this life.
I find legitimacy when I discover my purpose and passions and then run with them.
Legitimacy is never bestowed on me by another person.
The world can not give it to me.
I can beg and plead, find approval and meet the needs of another person… but I will NEVER find legitimacy there.
I can lose myself trying to get other people to tell me I am OK. When the best route, the safest route, the healthiest route was to sit down in silence with my own self – not buying selling, searching, or people-pleasing to discover who I am, why I am here, and what my life is supposed to be about.
No one else is going to be able to uncover those things for you.
My legitimacy can only be found in my own life before God
And if I try to get it through someone else or by purchasing a bunch of crap… I will be taking into my hands a counterfeit.
There are a ton of frauds out there trying to convince us we need them to be OK.
And if you are not OK without them – you will never be OK with them.
You are legit. You are enough. You are wise. You can be kind. You CAN make good choices. You can discover an abundant life…and you do NOT need anyone else (but God) to tell you what that abundant, life looks like.
Be legit. Discover you and run with it.
Exercises For Your Own Front Porch Conversations
Two things: Where have you been searching for legitimacy (relationships, church, shopping, work, physical appearance, owning a home, education, etc)? How can you begin to live that differently?