“You throw stones before you truly know who I am. I’m just misunderstood, and you would see that if you could just see me for who I am”…… Often times, people are so quick to judge or condemn someone just because they’re different. No matter who you are or what you do, you will experience this feeling at some point in your life. The sad truth is that some will experience this more than others….myself included. Just because you have to experience it does not mean you have to fall into the demeaning judgement from others. For me personally, I was fortunate enough to have a mother that knew early on I was different. I was always told by my mother, “You are not like everyone else therefore you will not do everything everyone else does.” She tried to prepare me for the journey to come, but her words of wisdom and even encouragement never truly sunk in until later in my life. See growing up, I was involved with every sport, club, and hobby you can probably think of which means I was able to connect and relate to a lot of people. I often shared pain with so many people going through so many different things. I grew up shorter than everyone, younger than everyone, and not as physically mature as everyone else. I became insecure because I thought that God had to have made a mistake with me. I didn’t like the way my face was shaped, and I could go on and on about everything I never liked about myself, but I never did look in the mirror and see what I did like. Some of you may not even like anything about yourself, but I come tell you that you are beautifully and wonderfully made. You are made perfect with no mistake. See I never realized this for myself until I realized who I was. So many people have no clue who they are, and because they don’t know, they’ll try to be like everyone else and do everything. That was me until about my junior year in high school. What happened that year has changed my life for the better. That year sparked the evolution of Michael Van Johnson. See I hate hear people say, “go out and find yourself.” I hate to hear that advice because when people try to go find themselves, they fall into the trap of trying to mimic something or someone else. Sometimes that doesn’t work, and now you’re stuck not being accepted into something that you thought was “you”. My advice to people is to go out and create yourself. By create yourself I mean to go out and evolve into who you are truly called to be. My junior year in high school, I realized the things that made happy, my gifts, and strength/weaknesses. I accepted myself for who I was at the time and forgave myself for anything that I did that I knew was not me. You have to forgive yourself in order to move away from it because it’s in the past and nothing you can do about it now but learn. I had a vision for who I was to be in the future and ran with it. After I evolved into I was supposed to be (please know this is a gradual process and I’m still evolving), I didn’t care what people had to say about me. Once you have confidence in who you are, you will find that you will become less and less worried about what anyone else has to say about you. Look at some of the most successful people in the world. All of them I’m sure have been told they were crazy or would never make it. I’m positive they’ve been judged or condemned, but because they knew who they were, they came out invincible. So don’t worry about what anyone has to say about you because if you know who you are, that is the first step to moving forward in your calling. If I were to put an order of steps I would say…..

  1. Create and evolve into yourself. This process is different for everyone, but you can start doing this by embracing your interest, your physically appearance, and gifts.

2. Have confidence in who are and yourself. When people ask me how I can only play 3 years of soccer and still land an athletic scholarship or how I can talk to anyone with no problem, I tell them I have confidence in myself and my abilities and work hard to make those things better.

3. Forgive yourself of your past. Everything happens for a reason, and there is no one that can go back in time to fix mistakes. You’re wasting precious time worrying about your past when you can be progressing into your better self. Besides, you’re already forgiven.

4. Move into your calling or destiny. We all have one believe it or not.

So why care about what anyone has to say about you. You are perfectly made already the way you are now. Embrace it and become a you on steroids (not literally, character wise). Besides, I don’t know what you believe but you only live this life once. The sky is the minimum not the limit. Why not be the best you can possibly be in this world?

-Michael Van Johnson

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