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Being Brave in Our Own Skin: Finding Belonging and Acceptance in God

By Prasanta Verma

Brave Women Series - Prasanta's Story


Being brave means standing firm in my identity and who I am and who God made me to be.

 

It’s brave to say “I belong here” when she said, “Go back to where you came from.

It’s brave to say “I’m from here” when he asked, “So, what are you?

 

But I wasn’t always brave.

 

I grew up in a small southern town with no one else that looked like me (except my family). I wanted to fit in, to be like everyone else, and honoring and respecting my heritage—or even learning about it—wasn’t something I was willing to entertain. Assimilating was work enough. Fitting in at school was hard enough. My immigrant parents worked hard to assimilate, and that is what I did, too.

 

So I ignored the questions of my ethnicity, the calls to go back to where I came from. I tried to push away the microaggressions, the times I was blatantly left out. I stuffed away those memories of some people at church who spoke racist things to me, or ignored me, and buried them deep away.


 

"I tried to push away the microaggressions, the times I was blatantly left out. I stuffed away those memories of some people at church who spoke racist things to me, or ignored me, and buried them deep away."

 

 

But during those years, I felt a nagging sense I was missing something. I missed having a friend who looked like me, or someone who could at least commiserate with about my experience of being the only brown person around me, someone who would “know” what it felt like to walk in these shoes with brown skin.

 

It was lonely at times. I wondered what it would feel like to live or be somewhere where I looked like everyone else, except the opposite, where my brown face stood out, conspicuous?

 

As I got older and more mature, I grasped for that piece that was missing. I began learning more about my background. I had to heal from the lie that I was somehow inferior. Instead, I grasped for another truth: the truth that all people are created and loved by God.


 

"I had to heal from the lie that I was somehow inferior. Instead, I grasped for another truth: the truth that all people are created and loved by God."

 

I began to fully appreciate who I was and how I was made—and it was good. My heritage, my culture, background, physical appearance—it was all good. It wasn’t a mistake or something I should wish away. It’s something to be valued. Celebrated. Appreciated.

 

The day I became brave was when I decided to not only be myself but truly love myself as I was—just as God loved me, unconditionally and for always. It was saying yes to God, accepting my ethnic and cultural identity, instead of wondering or asking why.


 

"I decided to not only be myself but truly love myself as I was—just as God loved me, unconditionally and for always. It was saying yes to God, accepting my ethnic and cultural identity, instead of wondering or asking why."

 

It’s brave to be yourself in your own skin—and to come to the point where you like yourself in that skin, and not wish for something different.

 

Being brave is showing up as myself. Being brave is saying “Yes, I belong.

 


 

"Being brave is showing up as myself. Being brave is saying “Yes, I belong.”


 

It didn’t happen overnight.

 

Transformation is a process, like the seasons, like the phases of becoming a butterfly. There is a long dormant phase of waiting, but it’s not really a dead phase. Life is incubating, waiting to emerge in due time. Life emerges more beautiful in the acceptance, as opposed to fighting something that cannot be changed. I spent years in that phase of waiting, still pulled by lies that I was somehow inferior because of my appearance or skin color. The lie of “less than” is one I had absorbed into my bones.


 

"I spent years in that phase of waiting, still pulled by lies that I was somehow inferior because of my appearance or skin color. The lie of “less than” is one I had absorbed into my bones."

 

It’s not about giving in and saying, “I can’t change my skin color, so I might well accept it.” No, it’s not like that. It’s not a resignation. And it’s more than simply acceptance.

 

It’s acceptance with joy.

It’s acceptance with love.

It’s acceptance with faith.

 

It’s truly believing that you are made perfectly, that you are the apple of God’s eye and part of a plan you cannot fully see—and knowing it’s good.


 

"It’s truly believing that you are made perfectly, that you are the apple of God’s eye and part of a plan you cannot fully see—and knowing it’s good."

 

Being brave is saying I belong.

 

But it’s even more than that. It’s extending that belonging to others. It’s extending that belonging to you. It’s reminding others that they also belong and that they are enough in God.

 

For anyone who feels on the outside, feels different, or on the margins, the truth is that you do belong. The God of all creation has created you to be part of creation, and is singing and rejoicing over you, whispering in your ear, “You are wanted, needed, loved, and you belong.”

 

 

"The God of all creation has created you to be part of creation, and is singing and rejoicing over you, whispering in your ear, “You are wanted, needed, loved, and you belong.”

 

"The Lord your God is with you,   

 the Mighty Warrior who saves.

He will take great delight in you;   

in his love he will no longer rebuke you,   

but will rejoice over you with singing."

(Zephaniah 3:17)

 

Brave Woman Manifesto



Make sure to check back next week as another courageous Sister shares her story. And by the way...


You are Brave!


No matter what you are facing, God has made you in His image, which means He equips you with His courage, strength, and power. I would love to connect more and give you a FREE gift - the BRAVE WOMAN MANIFESTO: Five Things to Tell Yourself When Life Gets Hard. Click HERE to sign up for my monthly newsletter and you’ll receive the FREE Manifesto, as well as recent blog posts, updated resources and personal details delivered only to my empowered email tribe.


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About Prasanta


Prasanta Verma was born under an Asian sun, raised in the Appalachian foothills, and resides in the upper Midwest. She is a writer, poet, and public health professional and her writing has been published in numerous places in print and online. When she’s not working, she can be found drinking chai, walking, or reading. Prasanta’s first book titled Beyond Ethnic Loneliness releases in April 2024.


Access Prasanta's newsletters at prasantaverma.substack.com and check out her website at prasantaverma.com. You can also connect with her through Instagram, LinkedIn, and Threads.





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