Part 2: Playing Happy

[This is part 2 of a blog series on identity written for the students at the online high school where I teach. I hope it blesses you! To read part 1, click here.]

ImageWhen I hung up the phone, sitting in the practice room, my world froze for a split second. For two days I hung suspended in the eye of the storm, the calm before the hurricane. I didn’t think any man would love me again, but for the moment I was alive. I could breathe. I knew the right decision had been made.

And then lightning split the air and I was hurled into the tempest. Pain ripped through me, the kind of pain I never knew existed, the kind that takes your breath away in its fury.

I wanted nothing to do with God. I no longer had any idea who He was, and I didn’t think I wanted to know. All I wanted was to be loved.

So I ran.

Transferring last minute to a small Christian school four hours away seemed to offer an escape — an escape from the memories that haunted me at every turn.

Bleach blonde hair with tanned skin and a pastel pink wardrobe was only part of my new persona. Shoving myself into a size two box, I tried to become the girl I thought was wanted: someone with no ambitions or dreams, someone who wasn’t smart, someone who was bubbling happiness all the time. That was all I let people see. They never got beneath the surface. They never saw me.

As long as I stayed busy “playing happy,” I could almost forget the turmoil inside. But the instant I had a moment to rest, the second I came back to my empty dorm room, I couldn’t hide any longer. The emptiness inside overtook me, suffocated me. I would slide down against my mini-fridge (planted beneath a wall covered in wedding magazine photos) and curl up in the fetal position. I couldn’t cry; the hurt was far too deep for physical tears, but my heart sobbed all the tears my eyes couldn’t form.

Curled up against the fridge, I would pray, “God, I don’t know who you are. I don’t know if I want to know you. But I need your help. I can’t do this. Please change something. Please send me someone to love me.”

At first it didn’t seem like He answered. No soul mate or instant best friend magically appeared at my doorstep. Instead He began to say:

I love you. I see you. I am enough for you.” the core of my being, I expected rejection. I didn’t think anyone would love me unless I was good enough, which, of course, I never was. I couldn’t have received deep love from a person because I didn’t think I deserved it.

But my Father began speaking those words over me: I love you. I see you. I am enough for you.

He was my answer. His love would change everything.

As summer turned to autumn with its softly falling leaves, His love surrounded me. The song of birds flying south became a symphony He orchestrated for me. The sunlight sparkling like diamonds in puddles became an extravagant display of grace. The breeze dancing with my hair became His touch. It all sang and laughed, “I love you, Tiffany, I love you.”

As time slid past, I couldn’t help but smile back, “I love you too, Lord.”

Zephaniah 3:16-17, “In that day it shall be said to Jerusalem: ‘Do not fear; Zion, let not your hands be weak. The Lord your God in your midst, The Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.”

[Read Part 3 here: “Good Enough.”]

Tiffany Dawn teaches “Intro to Songwriting” and “Music Careers” at The Potter’s School. Author of The Insatiable Quest for Beauty, Miss Robison resides in upstate New York when she is not traveling on book and speaking tours. She has a love affair with long walks, raspberry chai, and everything CIA. (


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