I’m sitting here avoiding eye-contact with the blank page as I stare unfocused at the keyboard while my fingers tap-tap-tap and make no words.
We’re off to a good start. It’s been a while y’all. No fear, I certainly haven’t forgotten. Every day for the last week I have thought about blogging. Two weeks ago I even mentioned to a friend that I need to blog soon, and what it might be about. Hah. Yeah, sorry about that. Maybe those posts will never come.
Part of my not-blogging has been honest. I had a lot of art commissions come up, as well as a short children’s book idea that I had that I have set about illustrating. Or at least, learning to illustrate. We’ll see what it will become.
All that ^ + being a mom to a non-stop 16-month-old + being in one of the busiest/strangest periods of our lives so far = no blogging.
But there might be another factor in that equation, one I hope will surface as I type this out. I hope any of my faithful blog readers have become endeared to my raw “style” of writing (or at least have grown accustomed to it) because this likely will be very unpolished. You’re along for the ride with me on this one. (If you don’t like messy, self-doubting, possibly God-doubting, swirling mind-storms, you might want to jump off now.)
Now, if you’ve stayed… I love you, thanks for not leaving me alone in this, Invisible Reader. You’re the best.
I’m noticing a pattern in my life, one I just wrote down in my journal about 10 minutes ago. It goes like this:
Step 1. I’m fine. Enjoying life, going with the flow, taking each day as it comes, not standing outside of myself but really being in the moment. Sweet.
Step 2. Realize I’m doing all of the above.
Step 3. Wonder if I really am fine.
Step 4. Wonder if I should be fine, or if being fine is actually a cover up for some deep, dark not-fine-ness that I’m lying to myself about for some reason.
Step 5. Get all anxious about it and go digging deep in the caves to look for something wrong; suspecting everything light might actually be darkness.
Step 6. Genuinely believe something must be wrong, and now all of the sudden
I’m not fine.
Step 7. After living a couple days in the depression of Step 6, wonder why I’m not fine anymore, when I found no legitimate reason to not be fine.
Step 8. Feel absolutely crazy for feeling so not-fine when I have no reason to be.
Step 9. Somehow, all of the sudden, be fine again. Enjoy it quickly while it lasts before you realize you’re fine and it starts over again.
That, my friends, sounds absolutely insane written down. Bail now if you want to, I would if I could.
Oh, you stayed? Wow, now I really feel loved. Or maybe you’re just curious how this will end. (pst, me too.)
Thinking in psychology terms, that seems like a type of self-sabotage, or a means of keeping oneself in a role or situation that may not be healthy, but is comfortable because it’s what they have known. It wasn’t until writing it down the list that I recognized a piece of where it came from.
Being in the church culture as one-on-one discipleship started in the area, it was common for me to meet with several people a week, sometimes multiple a day. Many of those people are now my dearest
friends family who genuinely love me and I love them more than I can say. God works through everything to make Himself known and help us find Him… and in Him, find each other.
But some of these meetings felt more like giving a report or an account on if you’ve been living a good enough life in the last week. Now, the realization that the word “fine” was overused had already spread through our groups, so we didn’t have to pretend we were okay and had everything in order when we went to these meetings. In fact, the unspoken rules encouraged you to be not-okay. It seemed like better growth, deeper maturity, to say that you weren’t fine; that you had realized a deep-dark heart issue that you were taking to the Lord and letting Him fix. These unspoken rules set up a strange environment where if you said you were fine, or even good *gasp* you weren’t actually being genuine. I had friends in these meetings raise their eyebrows at me and wait… thinking maybe I’ll say ‘but’ and spill my guts, the actual genuine part of me. [<sarcasm>] Because being okay can’t possibly be genuine. No one is actually okay. Like, what? Jesus came so we can be more than conquerors and be filled with joy and life abundant as we walk with Him? Nah bro. [</sarcasm>] When I didn’t do that, and turned the floor over for them to share they would say, “That’s nice. I’m having a really hard week..” etc. And I’m not demeaning that may certainly have had a hard week. I’m not saying they shouldn’t have shared that, or that I wasn’t happy to walk with them through the hardships. We grow so much in the valleys of life, and I love the hard times because I love who God makes me in the hard times. Hard times are good. Not being okay is good.
But what I’m saying is that being okay is good too. Being fine is good. And I’m realizing that the way I’ve started to treat myself is the same way the friend with the skeptical eyebrow looked at my okay-ness.
I’ve said this for a while now, but just not on here yet: We as Christians still have full range of emotion. (like “full-range of motion,” get it?) Christ did not come so that we would be happy all the time. He also did not come so we would be glum and burdened down all the time. He did not come so that we would never be angry, but He did come so that in our anger we would have the freedom and ability to not sin. Christ came to be with us. God with us. Immanuel. With us in our grief and in our joy, in our sickness and our health, in our fine-ness and our not-fine-ness. There are no wrong emotions or feelings. In fact, maybe the only wrong idea of feelings is that there are wrong ones. I know I have been so tied up in doubt and confusion and anger about my emotions, trying to sort through which ones are “real” or “valid”. What if they’re all real and what if they’re all valid? What if I was completely anxious and depressed starting this post, and now I’m relieved and determined at the end? Both of those are good. They’re waves on this sea of life. If I’m fighting each one, trying to only ride the “correct” ones, then I will go no where, and I certainly won’t enjoy the ride. I won’t get to see the beautiful sunrise or the way the clouds are reflecting off the water, or how the light comes through a wave as it crests.
You may not come from the same background as me, looking for wrong where things were right. You may not be fine, and you might think that it’s wrong to be so; that you’re supposed to be happy all the time, always at peace and rest. You’re not. You’re supposed to struggle and wrestle, dance and rejoice. You’re supposed to be you. Made to feel and love and live like you do. You were made to cast that specific shadow on this world and love it because you are Loved. You. The fearfully and wonderfully made one reading these words right now. You aren’t supposed to be anything else than what you are right now, because what you are right now is loved. Loved by an Almighty God who sees everything about you and loves you there.
Come friends, let us be loved.
“We the Church, the beloveds of God.”