Be Who You Are…On Purpose


I was scanning through work e-mails one Monday afternoon when my eyes landed at the very top of an e-mail reply. I groaned out of sheer disbelief as I read:

Monday, April 9, 2012 2:52 p.m.
“Jennifer, as you know…”

Jennifer? Really?

Odd as it may seem, my first name, Jessica, often gets replaced by Jennifer. In person. On the phone. In e-mail.

A lot.

It began in high school when an adult volunteer in my parish mistakenly referred to me as Jenny, even though I’d been active at my home church my entire life and my letterman’s jacket prominently displayed my first name.

Every week he’d casually ask, “How’s your week going, Jenny?” And every week I’d stand wearing my letterman’s jacket, smile at his mistake and answer without correcting him. If that’s what he wants me to be called, I thought, then he can go right ahead.

This mistaken identity has followed me intermittently through college and into the working world, as this recent e-mail reminded me. Even beyond this misnomer, I’ve learned that sometimes it’s easier  to let misconceptions pass by without correction.

Sitting in the chair at a salon, I almost always claim to be an only child when a new stylist snips at my strands and strikes up casual conversation about my family. In that hour, I’d rather be an only child than to explain to a perfect stranger that I’m a sister to a boy in heaven.

When topics like birth control and gay marriage find themselves in casual conversation with my peers, it’s easier to keep my Catholic views to myself and nod in agreement with the collective views of the group, despite my core beliefs.

I’m a strong, independent woman but when faced with a difficult situation, my “Minnesota nice” personality comes out in full force, as I’d rather gloss over a piece of my being to avoid conflict.

How is it that we can inadvertently deny who we are so many times as we move through life? In the dating world, especially, we come face-to-face with people of all backgrounds, values and beliefs, and our true self is tested. Many singles are tempted to hide part of themselves for the sake of perceived compatibility or for fear of rejection. And we’ve all witnessed friends lose themselves in someone else.

No matter what others assume or expect of us, God calls us to be our true self, the very person He created us to be. There are no mistaken identities with God. He knows every hair on our head, down to our very core. He calls us to be authentic followers, strong and proud of who we are and our faith, no matter what others assume or expect of us.

Stand strong in your identity as a Catholic single. Be the man or woman God created you to be in this very moment. He’s been intentional in your life, so be intentional in your life for Him.

And if someone gets your name wrong, correct them the first time. Take Jenny’s advice.



  1. Stacey-101742 July 27, 2012 Reply

    So many good and sincere answers and i would agree . I believe when we meet others , go to church , go to work , we should be prepared to be our best , not someone else’s best . But we are made with gifts and weaknesses and hopefully they will compliment the right person and visa versa . Our society tells us different , and it causes so much confusion and its really misleading . We are unique . Very good article and good comments , God bless to all

  2. Andrew-290721 July 15, 2012 Reply

    I like this article. So often, on web sites such as this, the advice seems to be that one must be someone else in order to be attractive and possibly find a spouse. If I have to be someone else in order to marry, I would rather stay single. God created me the way I am for a reason, and the love of my life will find me attractive as I am, not hope that I’m a “fixer-upper” that can be renovated into someone else.

  3. Anne-620073 July 11, 2012 Reply

    Love ur short article!! That is so true how a lot of us feel we have to “hide” something. Sometimes it is our particular Catholic beliefs or our view on contraception. My particular views i sometimes hide is that I can be very liberal is some controversial topics- such as immigration, interracial relationships , people that identify themselves as gay r lesbian, people living in poverty -among other things. I grew up and live in a small south Louisiana town- one that had separate proms for blacks and white people. That should give u a good picture. This really formed many of my views. I am devout catholic, but my views on the above topics often differ from my family who are more conservative on their views. My life is a Reflection of my views just like I’m sure everybody’s is. I am a social worker for one. The other – I am Caucasian and my ex husband is Black. (He never claimed the more acceptable term of African – American). We have 3 beautiful children that are biracial. We actually grew up about 10 minutes from each other. And yes we remained in our small area while raising our kids. I am very proud of my kids and all of my views. But i don’t doubt there were times I’ve kept silent instead of speaking up about my views in order to placate other people. Thanks for your article!! God made us individual for a reason!! To be unique!!

  4. Carlos-876737 July 11, 2012 Reply

    I would like to add something, and that goes for all my other threads. I prefer to meet a woman at her worst, for that way I can picture myself if I really can be with her, and if I would be willing to take the burden with her. People might say: “hey first impressions count!” and that’s precisely the reason. I want a valkyrie in my life, a woman who can stand the tide, and no time better than in her worst. And if she can keep being herself and not be a “prozac drone” the better. Don’t know if it makes sense.

  5. Carlos-876737 July 11, 2012 Reply

    Very true. I have to give my full support here :0) I’m speechless.

  6. Jessica-556183 July 9, 2012 Reply

    I have a sister named Jennifer. So, it happens to me all the time.

  7. Tara-539245 July 8, 2012 Reply

    That’s crazy! I definitely know way more Jennifer’s than Jessica’s. My sister is Jessica, but I don’t know many others. However, I can count a handful of Jennifer’s in a second and could definitely come up with more if I really thought about it. Maybe you just LOOK like a Jessica. 😉

  8. Jenny-872030 July 6, 2012 Reply

    Haha…my name is Jennifer, and I get called Jessica all the time. Too funny!

  9. Iveth-708220 July 6, 2012 Reply

    Thanks for sharing!!!! True words Jessica .

  10. Rica-868957 July 6, 2012 Reply

    Just believe and have faith. Has a lesson.

  11. Marita-847688 July 6, 2012 Reply

    Very true. I love the last sentence, too.

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