I am afraid.
If there is one thing that I have learned about myself these past few years (and certainly not admitted before now) it is that I have bluffed my way through most of my life. You heard me. Bluffed.
I have spent the past 33 years and 2 months (not that I am counting) trying to ascend out of the mess I felt left in by my parents' divorce countered by a deeply-rooted knowledge that whatever I accomplished (from my personal salvation to a college degree to a promotion) I was deeply unworthy of and therefore at risk that at any given moment I would be found out a fraud and sent back to the fringe of poverty with which I came...I say fringe now because once you see Haiti, you wonder if food stamps is really a sign of poverty because you still have well....FOOD. Plus, I am never going to be one to complain about cheese...in any form...especially that free cheese we got as kids...which I must confess...was DELICOUS.
So, I am sitting here in shock and awe having spent five hours reading straight through Jen Hatmaker's Interrupted, and I am not quite sure of anything anymore except for the fact that I have, not to oversimplify, gotten it completely WRONG for the past 33 years and 2 months because I should have not looked at my driven quest for ascension (that surely started at age 9) or all of the fears that came with it as anything other than a race from fear...which made me a very angry person....which I did a pretty bang-up job of stuffing down (most...okay...some of the time)....because when you feel forced to ascend because of fear and then unworthy once you get there, also because of fear, and then terrified to lose it (yup! fear again). Well, you either get angry or cuckoo (to which I am not fully denying in this moment either), and I am not justifying it...but I am pretty blessed to not have lost my mind somewhere along the twisted path that is my family dynamic wrapped up in the enigma that was my childhood. Tied with the red bow that is "don't let everyone know you come from crazy because they might just think you are crazy" everything is OKAY. My life has been exhausting. I am taking full responsibility for that in this very moment. Whatever mistakes my parents and extended family made and make...they didn't make me respond with I am going to be "hell on wheels" whether it is church, work, school, or play. I mean. Have opinion; know how to use it. That's me.
As I am sitting here confessing this...it strikes me that I am already feeling nervous about my confession because I don't want to be misunderstood as some angry, middle-aged woman. Well, I am...in fact....angry...most of the time (though less and less through this season of life I am in...restoration in Jesus is good that way), and I am in fact middle-aged. And well...a Woman. I have never been angry 100% of the time at any point in my life, but I have in fact try to stuff down a good deal of anger...most of the time.
I am also not saying anger, in all senses, is bad. It is not. Jesus got angry. It happens.
I am simply saying that when our lives are motivated by what scares us instead of what we love...it brews into a concoction of anger...no one needs or wants in their lives. No. One. Especially when they feel it is unsafe to talk about...with anyone. I do mean ANY. ONE.
I have been in, and of, the church since I was in the womb. YET only when I had to openly (read that publicly humiliated) justify (and subsequently could not) my deeply held religious beliefs (read that as rules (aka legalism))...did I (read that as God made me) go on a quest for more (read that as MORE).
As a result, the past two and half years have been some of the more jaw-dropping of my life. I have lost friends, but I have gained a tribe. I have had to grapple with my own selfishness and pride. I have failed...on many levels, at many things, and I have (often tragically) owned it. There have been some not pretty days over the past 30 months. Not. Pretty.
I really thought going to Haiti last year was somehow the culmination of the drudgery of work God had been putting me through...What. An. Idiot. I. Am.
So...you come through the wilderness...feeling battered, bruised, but joyful...you have conquered the dragon. You are winning...Winning. Then, you have a culmination of events (read as challenging days and weeks in every.single.facet.of.your.life.) that lands you in the audience of a two-day Jen Hatmaker conference that you follow-up with by reading the book (you ironically ordered weeks ago...to read...oh, someday) that is still in the box...in five hours the day after the conference wraps because you can't get her words (and all of the ugly crying you did) out of your head...and as you read (and talk out loud to yourself...alone....in your living room) you realize that the past 30 months may in fact have been leading you to something very different and you drop the book, 80 pages in, like it is on fire. Read that as ON. FIRE.
After another cup of coffee, a blueberry muffin (with real butter), you bravely dive back in...and when you finish...When. You. Finish....You have to go for a walk because only immersing yourself in nature, God's nature, will soothe you...and then it doesn't. You walk to the office, to work, because that is what you know...that is what you are good at...and somehow this all starts coming out.
What the What the...
Jen Hatmaker says, and writes, that when it (read the book to see what your "it" is) hit her and Brandon, they didn't talk about it for two days. Two days. I don't want to talk about it EVER...don't think I can...and who the hay-who am I going to tell this to?? Then I remember my tribe...and the anger dissipates...I am not the only one out here alone without a partner to get wrecked with...and all of us need a voice, a tribe, and the thoughts are forming, and I am too scared to keep writing. It. Is. Just. Too. Terrifying.
I leave for Haiti again in two weeks. This trip will be different (for a number of reasons).
I am not ready, and I don't mean just for Haiti. I am not ready for all of this. My voice is not ready.
...and therein lies the point.
I have spent my whole life trying to be ready....to be right...to be together....to be respected.
I should have spent that time marinating in the messy, happy to be wrong, unglued, and worrying about the respect (read as love) of only one.
I thought learning to be radically obedient was my Achilles Heel. Who knew that was only a precursor to the deeper issue...I am pissed at God....and as a result at me/myself/I.
Isaiah 58 just popped in my head...I went in search of it. My face went crimson red reading it...I was going to pick out a section, but why?! The entire chapter is just...breathtaking....and I know I was not meant to dice it up...
I know some of you who read this blog are like...confused. Some of you are probably saying...it is about time. Others still are wondering where is she going with all of this?
All fair points.
Where I am is open to whatever is next. I feel like I have come so far personally and professionally and spiritually the past few years, but clearly (Duh!) I have many miles to go before I sleep...
I am simply no longer satisfied with the life that this world tells me I should have...that I should want...that I should need.
I am done.
While my life, in many ways, looks very different today than even 16 months ago...there are more changes to come. I know that. I feel that.
I am terrified and clearly ill-equipped.
I am learning...that is okay. I don't need to be perfect (I never really was very good at trying to be anyway). I think I like me better here in this world of uncertainty, unhinged, and unwound. My truth is here. Grace is here. Love is here.
If you want to get off this ride of reading these crazy posts of mine...I understand. Now would be a good time. It will only get "crazier" (by somebody's standards) from here. I also have NO idea what I just wrote means...it just typed itself. I did pause for a moment, but I am going to leave it in....just like the rest of this unwound post...because my truth is blissfully here in all of its messy-goodness.
I once was a girl looking to build up a life. Protective walls, security, and all.
I don't even know that girl anymore.
Living from your heart is terrifying, but true strength lies...There.
The Stand (Live) by Hillsong United (The I Heart Revolution)
Sunshine Dreams to You ~ Today and Every Day! :)