I Am Second
There is something in us that longs to connect with people. With people who understand us, people who know what we mean without having to explain ourselves. Those who share our important beliefs, who hear our struggles and our shortcomings and not only understand, but accept us as we are. People spend their lives seeking this connection and acceptance.
Without this connection we end up feeling empty, not understood. Some of the biggest falling outs I've had in my life are between myself and people who I felt went out of their way to misunderstand me. In his book The Need To Be Understood, Michael Schreiner wrote "The unconscious fear that seems to always be lurking in the background is that if we aren't understood it will be as if we never existed."....sad.
So what do we do if we have a hard time putting ourselves out there? What if we feel things on a level we think would freak people out or open us up to ridicule? Or maybe, the worst, what if we put ourselves out there and get rejected? We end up feeling very lonely. Many studies show that loneliness and depression go hand in hand.
I grew up in a religion that I felt I could never live up to. I also grew up in a home where I felt largely unheard and unseen. I became a Christian at 24, and while I found so much healing in God, I still struggled with feeling separate from people. Even those who believed the same as I did. Everyone seemed more Christian than me. They seemed to have perfect homes they grew up in, and no one seemed to have made the poor choices I had throughout adolescence. I made jokes about my shortcomings so I appeared like they didn't bother me ( I'm annoyed with myself in the past now *eye rolling*). I felt very separate from these people.
Around this time I went online and searched, literally, for imperfect Christians. I came across the website, I Am Second. I then proceeded to watch every single video they had at the time, and cried. I found it. Even through a screen, I felt understood. I felt like I had found my people. There is something so huge about this for me. It was ok that I was imperfect. It was ok that my past was not pretty, even by my own choices. It's taken me years to accept myself, and this site woke me up in a huge way.
What I thought was setting me apart, wasn't. I realized it wasn't so much that I was misunderstood, but that I really hadn't accepted a lot of my history myself. Feeling a connection with the people in these videos literally brought me to a new understanding about myself and those around me. The more I accepted things in my past for what they were, things in the past. The more open I felt. I was less afraid of being honest about things, and the more I shared, honestly, the more healing I felt. I started sharing my story and struggles and as I did, others did too. Every single person was struggling with something as well. There's a quote I read "There is not one person in this world that is not cripplingly sad about something. You remember that before you open your mouth." Connecting with others through these human, hard things... that brought what I had been seeking all along. I no longer felt alone, or strange- less than.
I Am Second has grown in a huge way since then. Many more stories have been added, celebrities like Chip and Joanna Gaines, Shawn Johnson, The Robertson Family, Bethany Hamilton, Kathie Lee Gifford, Brian "Head" Welch and countless others tell their incredibly personal stories and they unfold in a beautiful, personal way on your screen.
I STRONGLY encourage you, struggling or not to watch these. I personally have gained so much by hearing their hearts. You can check out those stories HERE. If you'd like to support what I Am Second is doing, you can shop their merch HERE, or donate HERE.
If you watch these, let me know what you thought/felt. Tell me your favorite one. Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org