The other day I told my  teenaged daughter “Don’t give up being who you are to be with someone else – too much of that and you’ll never get yourself back again.”  As soon as it was out of my mouth I realized that is exactly what I had done…over 18 years ago.

I haven’t felt like I’ve had the privacy to write my heart in a long time.  Over the years I’ve changed – I’ve gone from devout to questioning, from anti to tolerant, from steadfast to wishing…  Who knew the choices we make when we are young could change one’s entire life so completely?  Not the young, the young never know and they don’t listen to anyone who isn’t young.  Stupid that.

Most of the time I feel like I don’t know who I am anymore, or even who I could be.  Oh, I know who I “should” be, I know who I was raised to be.  Wise and gentle, godly and kind, sweet and pure, loving…I should be so very loving.  But I fall short of everything I was told I should be by my mother and by the church.

Yes, I was raised in church from the day I was born.  My parents attended many different pentecostal, charismatic, christian churches throughout my childhood.  We spoke in tongues, raised our hands during the worship service, closed our eyes and some churches we attended even danced during worship.  As a child, church was my favorite place to be.  I loved the worship services and even paid attention to the sermons, many of them changed my life in different ways.  The highlight of my junior high years was Wednesday night youth group and getting to be with all the other “good” kids at church.  It helped me get through my struggles for seven more days until the next Wednesday.

A major theme of many sermons and lessons I’ve learned in church over the years is “Stop trying to do things in your own strength.  You can’t and the very fact that you’re trying to do it on your own probably means it isn’t God’s will for you to be doing it in the first place.”  And yet sitting on the couch, watching television and “waiting for God to do something with me” is equally frowned upon.  Where’s the line?  I am, even this very second, exactly who God created me to be.  He allowed me to go through the circumstances and situations of life that molded and shaped me the way I am.  How do I stop being those things and let God be through me?  I think my current church (of the last 6 years) has put too much emphasis on the doing and the being and not enough on the becoming.  Too much focus on how I act and the way I dress and not enough acceptance of who I am right now, at this very moment because right now, in spite of my warts and damaged heart, I am still God’s creation, God’s child, someone who He loves.

One of the most precious gifts God has given us is free will.  He won’t make anyone love or obey Him, we have to choose to do those things for ourselves.  I’ve made some bad choices and I’ve made some good choices in my life.  Once made, every choice is hard to unmake and life still goes on.  Trying to unmake a past choice usually means making big changes to your present and has the potential to destroy your future.  I am here, right now because God can use me here, right now.  My giftings may come and go according to His choosing, it is by grace I exist.

Funny how we spend 18 years trying to “grow up” as quick as we can but we never really understand the furthest reaching consequences of our actions until much later.  I am just now beginning to realize that some long and hard journeys are chosen simply because the beginning of the trail wound around a rose garden with an enchanting fountain while the paths with the brightest futures are often ignored because they begin by camping in a tent in the middle of a briar patch.

Here I am, on a narrow ledge better suited for a mountain goat than for myself, looking up the trail, looking down the trail, looking over the edge…  There is no future in the past and there is no life over the edge so my only choice is to press onward in hopes that the path will soon widen and I can stop to catch my breath.

Learning which dreams to give up and which dreams to keep have been a painful lesson.  Some dreams are only possible when there are two dreamers who are dreaming the same dream.  A single dreamer cannot complete the work they were called to when they are not walking hand in hand with another like-minded dreamer.  Large works require that many dreamers unite towards building the dream.

More painful, by far, is the awakening of the dreamer who has linked dreams with another only to find that you and your soul-mate aren’t dreaming in the same direction.  To see your dreams slip from your hands because you chose someone who has an entirely different dream – or sometimes – someone who has no dreams at all is quite devastating when your eyes are finally opened to realize the full effects of your choice.

My solution, my “cure” for loneliness has been a success in fact only.  I am not “alone”.  But what no one ever told me is that the greatest depths of loneliness hide inside relationships, not outside of them.  You can be with someone and yet still feel completely and utterly alone.  It is a wounding that takes your breath away and leaves you gasping for your very life, like a drowning man clawing at the surface of the water.  I rushed into marriage believing it was my one and only chance at having a precious gift and I have spent the remainder of my life questioning that choice.

So now the question begs to be asked – not just who am I but have I ever known who I am?  Or have I always been just a compilation of words and actions, attitudes and behaviors that were expected from me by my parents, my church and my schools with no real input of my own?  Have I ever truly had my own opinions or have I always just parrotted the opinions of the “important” people around me?  Things that make you go Hmmm…  I wish I had an answer for that but right now I just don’t know.

I think that I’ve lost myself, that I’m broken and need help.  There are a few things that I’ve been doing because I enjoy doing them just for me:

Painting/Drawing
Writing/Singing/Playing/Listening to Music
Baking
Growing Plants
Helping People
Writing/Blogging/Poetry

These are a good place to start with identifying who I am today.

This is a good place to stop and think some more.

Goodnight.

Advertisements