Something that I never thought to do when I was younger was take some time to get out there and figure out who I was. The reason why I never thought to do it is because I was so busy trying to be someone I thought I had to be; and that was an image of perfection that did not allow me the freedom to take time to make mistakes, explore different avenues, and decide which worldview I actually identified with. I think because it had been impressed in me that there was only one right way, and if I did not go that way, then I was wrong. Now, I am not blaming anyone for this. I just was not exposed to the idea that it’s a lot better to find yourself before you go out chasing things: like relationships, in particular.
Like many others I have met, I was the type of person that had to fill my life up with so much stuff to do that I really did not have time to truly process many things that I really needed to deal with. Now I know that was a defense that I had to protect myself from things that I thought were too painful to process. I feel like a lot of other people out there very innocently felt, as I did, that if something bothers you or you don’t like it, you should avoid it. I was a shy child and I did not get involved in lots of activities that involved social opportunities, for example, and I was not encouraged to step outside of my comfort zone so I could grow in this area. I really regret not choosing more opportunities like this before my brain pruned all those pathways.
So, I just kept going and going and going continually filling all my waking hours with stuff and things to do. I kept up this frantic pace for over 20 years, all the while not letting others in who perhaps wanted to help me, and basically feeling like I had to be in control of every aspect of my life. This approach was taking its toll, all the while I was in complete denial that it was going on. I had no idea how I looked to other people. Then one day at work, a co-worker came up to me and said “I know you are going to think this is really weird, but God told me to give you this book.” The book was a book about the Life of Mother Teresa.
Now, I knew who Mother Teresa was, kinda. But I didn’t really know much about her or why someone would be giving me a book. I took it home and looked at it and discovered that she was someone with a whole different way of looking at people than I had really ever experienced. She said simple things that were somehow very profound. Things like:
“The hunger for love is much more difficult to remove than the hunger for bread”
“If you can’t feed a hundred people, than feed just one.”
“Not all of us can do great things, but we can do small things with great love”
She also talked about simple things like faith and trust. Mind you prior to receiving this book, I had not exactly been on a path looking for salvation. I suppose I felt like I believed in God and that was enough, even though the life I was living really did not reflect any of that. After my son was diagnosed with Autism I really felt like God must be punishing me or that I wasnt worthy, and that was the last straw for me pursuing my faith.
I’d like to say I got the book from my coworker and then “Ahhhhh” I saw the light and my life moved in a new direction. Basically it spoke to me that I must look pretty pathetic for someone I barely knew at the time to walk up to me and do that. Actually, it took over 2 more years of this same coworker constantly walking beside me and feeding into me before things really started to sink in. What can I say, I am hard-headed! I warmed up to the idea that there might be something to this whole Love thing Mother Teresa talked about but I was still trying to do it my way.
Then one day I walked in to work and we all discovered we were getting laid off. It was if God was saying “Oh, you don’t want to be still? Well here, I am going to give you that opportunity”. And just like that I suddenly had time. The next 3 years, even though I was pursuing my Masters in Counseling, I had considerably more time to think and just be. I examined myself from angles Id never even considered before, and re-evaluated who I am, where I’m going and how my behavior affects others.
The result is so striking its like I am not even the same person anymore. Its like I stepped into a clearing and suddenly things are crystal clear. I listen to songs that used to speak to me and I just think “Wow, I can cross that one off the soundtrack of my life now”! Kind of surreal, really, like I should be singing this song :I can see clearly now – Johnny Nash
Here’s what I discovered. I needed time to discover who I am. I spent over 20 years trying to fit myself into a mold that either did not fit, or denying the truth or things about me that made me who I am, because I either thought they were inferior or because I was in denial that they defined me. I was totally freaked out when I lost all control of the ability to keep that charade going. I found PEACE when I decided to let go and do the necessary work involved to become authentic. The peace I found involved me surrendering my role of playing God in my own life and required me to trust that I was incapable of doing many things myself but with God I can do anything.
I will definitely strive to teach my children to do this much earlier in life than I did! As they say, Then you will know the truth and the truth will set you free (John 8:32). The back story of this blog is all about TRUTH! Read about it here: tRUTHful Inspiration