Thursday, October 17, 2013

when I get to guest post for Preston Yancey

Earlier this year, I was chosen to be one of 12 for a guest post series author Preston Yancey was doing while he finished his book this summer, Tables in the Wilderness, with Zondervan. After some extenuating circumstances, it is now on his website, but part of a different guest post series than planned. I am humbled to have been chosen by him, as his words are beautiful and real. He said he finds my words the same. What?!? Craziness.

You can read it here: so i had to bake a peach pie

Monday, October 14, 2013

in repair

You may have noticed something different around here.

I’ve always, for the last several years of blogging, tried my best to be honest in my writing. Part of it is exposing what is inside of me to the outside world, and figuring out just how I feel can only be done by writing it out. (Mostly.)

There has been of shift of late, particularly in the last several months. I’m making more time to write like I used to, but I am shifting into something that may not seem like a big deal to you, but oh… it is to me.
Remember my word for 2013? Anything? I had something else in mind entirely when that word presented itself to me, which sort of defeats the point. But I am reminded that I did pray that word to God, promising him that whatever he would be up to, I would do it if he asked. God has been whispering some big truths to me, since about March of this year, that I now seem to find everywhere. In things I read, classes I teach, sermons I listen to, books I finish and bible studies I work on. I’m still working on processing these truths, so it is too soon to reveal them to you right now, although many of them have been expressed here over the years because they are a deep part of who I am. I am just now connecting them to my emotions. Big stuff here.

But this shift is intentional. It is part of the hard heart stuff that a child of God must work through, especially one like me, that often lives as an orphan. The shift: I am trying to write more courageously.

This goes beyond being honest and authentic, I believe. I can be those things and still not be 100% transparent. I can write in that way but not reveal the tough feelings that may bring a reader down. (And me, when I writing them.) But I’m trying to remember that this kind of courage is less about who sees this and reads this, which makes me feel vulnerable and scared.

This is about admitting these things to myself.

And feelings are always far more real when you tell others. Far more real when you allow the words to tumble out of your heart, through your fingers tips, onto a keyboard and appear on a computer screen. This kind of writing is forcing me to examine all that is inside and lay it all out there so I can look at it and say to myself, “There. This is truth. It’s messy. It’s sad. It’s got some self-pity, some love… It’s painful. So. What are you going to do with it now?”

When I first started writing in this format, I remember that the name for this blog didn’t take any time at all to settle on. (I just wish blogspot would delete comewhatmay, which has been inactive for many years, so that I can have it.) I guess that title really isn't all that different from “anything” now that I think about it. But I am trying to take it a step further… by being more honest and transparent about the darkness in my heart so that Christ may shine a light through it in some way.

“I am in repair – I’m not together, but I’m getting there.”

Saturday, October 12, 2013

being tethered

…and so it begins.

This is the time of year I start to feel homesick. 2 years ago it hit me very hard around this time, so last year I went home in September to stave off these emotions. This year, I went home in the summer because hadn’t seen the corn grow and I wanted to see the stocks tall and bending in the summer wind. But now, the holidays are coming. Harvest is happening right now. I can picture my brother out in the field, my family making meals for all the guys to take out there late at night. I want to smell the cool crisp air of autumn, see the beauty of orange and red leaves and cloudy skies. And I’m longing to dress myself in head-to-toe red and go to a Husker game.

But instead, I go outside to dust storms, skies with no clouds, and brown. Everywhere.

I’m certain that God decided to have a good laugh when he created this introvert with the love language of quality time, because once again, these opposite sides of myself are at war and all I want to do is be with people who love me. (And then go take a nap, because they make me so tired.)

I desperately long for a “replacement” family here in the desert. One that will take me to their own family events, no matter how menial to me they think it seems. One that will invite me to family meals on Sundays after church – something I miss so much about my own family.  I want to find a family that won’t mind if I show up at their house just so I can hang out in their backyard with a glass of iced tea and a book. I want to find a dad or a brother with a pick-up truck who will take me along to a drive out to the farm and just talk crops to me. Even though I doubt I will understand what they are saying.

They say homesickness is a real thing; that it happens in people who have little experience being away from home (not me) unsupportive parenting (also not me) and in those not finding close friends in whom they can confide (the kicker for me.) I have some friends like this who don’t live near me, so that really doesn’t work. For me, it’s that no one around here has their family far away. Most of the people I am close to here have family within driving distance. They don’t have the emotions I experience on their radar. They simply forget that I can’t just see my family by taking a short drive. They can’t see into the emotion I want them to, which is completely unfair of me. But there it is.

I know that for many people, being with family is a stressful experience. And mine can be sometimes, too. But mostly there is just ease and love. They ease the pain I often have being a ministry leader, an INFJ (who feels life far too strongly) and simply being me. Their grace to me is unequivocally and spectacularly generous and of course, undeserved. Perhaps it is simply that place where grace resides is where I long to be. But it is also in the place of family ties, which ground me. I am tethered to them during this season of my life where floating aimless seems to be the norm.

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

tight corners, feelings and self-talk

It’s always been a little been hard for me to be truly authentic with people when I feel hurt by them.
Much of this is part of my own story, going back years and years of being taught that I was too sensitive and therefore, my feelings about things were not only “over the top” and “dramatic”, but also not relevant and necessary to have.

So I shut down.

When someone hurts me, I bottle up every emotion experienced and tuck them away into the smallest and tightest corner of my soul. For years, I assumed this was the best way to operate in order to be a functioning citizen of this world.

What this told me, inadvertently, was “don’t bother anyone with who you are… just get out of the way.” This has led to much heartbreak and relationship deficiency. I’m truly sorry to all the people who have chosen to stick it out with me and be a friend. It cannot be easy. Many of the great have tried and fallen in the process.

This has also led me to, throughout my day, talking to myself in strange ways. When a car comes up behind me because they are driving faster than me, my self-talk goes something like this: “I’m driving the speed limit. They can’t be upset at me for going too slow.”

Or when I stop to look at the selection of vegetables in a grocery isle and someone is coming from the opposite direction, I move my cart toward me as far as possible and say to myself, “They can’t be angry with me that I've slowed up their passing through; I moved out of their way.”

I've not written about my self-talk at all here, and it’s partly because I’m still processing and paying attention to how it works in my life. My therapist in seminary gave me the assignment of playing close attention to how I talk to myself, and all I remember was talking in lists of things I had to do. But, then, at that time I had three jobs and was going to school full-time.

But since then I still occasionally work on listening to my self-talk. And what I shared above is by far the most common kind. It sounds so ridiculous to write it out, but it’s never felt ridiculous for me to say it… to me. Because all I've ever understood in this world is that my presence in it is a bother to others and that I should do what I can to justify my existence here.

yeah.  so… there’s that.

All the things in life that hurt me and pain me (and so much of which is the result of my motivational gift of mercy) have, for so long, been feelings I've turned numb toward. I've not dealt with them, and kept them back in that tight corner. And now that I am trying so hard to come out of this, in an effort to be more emotionally and spiritually healthy individual, I find myself “feeling” my emotions in a strange way. (If that makes any kind of sense.) Today, after a few days of some trying and difficult ministry work, I was feeling panic. Not it an overly dramatic in-the-moment kind of way (which rarely happens to me, but does sometimes. I’m pretty even-keeled.) but in a pit of the stomach, “I don’t know what to do with my feelings right now” kind of way. Some wise and thoughtful friends talked it out with me on the phone and I was able to organize my thoughts. I can honestly say that I've never processed my emotions like that before.  Ever. I hope and pray this is a victory for my healing process, because taking my feelings to others is a step toward acknowledging that they matter. After years of being taught they don’t.

Wrecked by the ravages of the Fall. But searching to find hope in Jesus’ redemption of me.