Victoria Riollano of Victory Speaks
No Longer A Catfish
I have a confession.
I spent years as a “catfish.”
Not sure what a catfish is, let me explain. The term was originally coined by Nev Schulman, a young man who documented being tricked by a person pretending to be someone else. Nev went on to create a show called Catfish, which showcased people from around the world who wanted to discover who they were really dating online. If this show taught us noting else, it taught us that in the world of social media and dating, catfish are everywhere.
Everyone is pretending to be someone.
Perhaps you've never used another person's picture for your profile photo or pretended to be 50 pounds lighter, but the question still remains...are you a catfish?
In my life, the answer was “yes.” The goal was to present myself as perfectly polished. And of course, I had makeup apps and filters to get the job done. In my mind, this pretend version of me was more likeable and beautiful. She wore the confidence I was dying to have. Although there’s nothing inherently wrong about a little makeup or filter here and there, I can assure you that my “why” was a result of the fear of being unliked or being seen as insignificant. I can imagine I just wanted to be “seen” during what was one of the toughest times of my life.
However, my counterfeit ways didn’t stop there. I spent my life pretending. Pretending to be happy when I was truly overwhelmed. Pretending I could handle the toughest situations, without feeling a bit nervous. Pretending to like those who had no true interest, investment. or love for me as a person. Pretending that my people-pleasing ways were an overflow of the kindness of my heart. Yet, the truth is, I just wanted to be accepted. All of my ways stemmed from a deep seeded feeling of rejection and fear of abandonment.
I was a catfish from the inside out.
I pray I’m not the only one here. After years of this inauthentic filtered version of me, I had somewhat of an epiphany. One day in prayer, the Lord showed me an image of myself as a lap dog yearning to just be pet by anyone who would have me. This image has never left me and brought me to three vital conclusions.
1.) I am enough.
You are enough. We hear this all the time but forget the truth of this. We spend so much time thinking we are "just a" mom, wife, friend, worker, etc. Because of this, we constantly strive to be more. Do more. Create more. Push and wear ourselves out. Yet, we forget we are God's chosen and His special possession. He said we are worth dying for and there was nothing we can do about it. We are enough.
But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. - 1 Peter 2:9
2.) I am not obligated to fit into anyone else's vision of me.
God's plan for me is more than enough. We spend so much time trying to fit into everyone else's box we forget that we are uniquely designed. I can recall when I wanted to write a book. For so many, it was incomprehensible that a mother of six and wife could possibly do this. For years, I put aside my writing to not "ruffle the feathers." This was just another way I was pretending and holding back my true self.
For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. -Psalm 139:13
3.) Anyone who can’t value the true me doesn’t deserve the right to be called my friend.
This was a tough one for me. I spent so much time people pleasing. Yet, years later, I realized it was rooted in fear of rejection. In my quest for friendship, I settled for anything. I allowed myself to be talked to in ways that were demeaning and my family disregarded. Yet, one day the Lord showed my worth. I was a friend worth having. There was no need to change my personality or likes to fit into the crowd. Being uniquely me was enough.
Learning these valuable lessons were ones that changed my life. They taught me that I no longer have to wear a mask. I can be myself in all capacities. After the years of wearing filters over my heart, I learned this.
My only responsibilities are to love well and do what God's called me to do, the way He's called me to do it. Anything outside of this places me into a position where I'm not embracing the authentic version of me.
I've made a choice to embrace my true identity in Him. Every word that He says is what defines me. And because of this I will always be enough. I no longer have to be a catfish, "her", or be a pretend version of myself. I must say, its been truly freeing to embrace the true me!
My friends, if you've found yourself pretending to be someone else, and want to be free I invite you to pray this prayer with me.
I invite you into every place of my heart. God, I thank you for having a plan for my life. I ask that you help me to walk without fear. Help me to be content with who you've called me to be. Lord, refine me to be more and more like you. Help me to remember that you are enough to fill every void. I love you Lord and I look to you for my identity. Lord, let my life be one of worship. May you remove the hardened areas of my heart and show me your will for me. Speak Lord, I'm listening. In Jesus name, Amen.
For more on living a life of complete Victory, I invite you to purchase my latest book, The Victory Walk: A 21 Day Devotional by clicking here.