Friday Ramble: Authenticity

This is probably going to be a true ramble because these thoughts haven’t completely solidified in my head, but there is an edge to them that I can’t get rid of.

So why not just share it with you anyway.

Authenticity

I’ve talked about authenticity and living honestly on this blog.  I don’t think I’m changing my mind about what I’ve said before, but I’ve seen a danger in using this terminology without balance.

Here’s what I’m talking about.

I caught myself the other day talking about “living my truth.”  And for some reason, when the words came out of my mouth that time (because they have come out of my mouth before), they felt wrong, disturbing, like something was off.

And I realized that there is a danger in pursuing an authentic life.  The danger is that I can be focused so much on living my truth that I forget I’m supposed to be living THE truth, that is in Jesus Christ.  I can center my life so much inward that I never look upward and lose all my energy to live outward.

 

But no matter how inward I will go, I will never understand myself or know myself the way God knows me.  He knew me ever since I was knitted together in my mother’s womb.  He knows what will make me smile, what will make me belly laugh, what will make me cry, and what makes me scared.  He wraps his arms around me the second before the heartbreak.  And he doesn’t let go until the panic washes through me.

And God is proud of his creation.  He roots for us.  He’s the father in the stands demanding the coach put his kid in because he believes in us.  We can do it, not because of some secret we have figured out on our own, but because His strength is pulsing through our spirit.  We got this, even if we have no control over whatever this is, because ultimately, He’s got this.

I can’t continually try to get to know myself, to perfect myself, before going out in the world.  It doesn’t work that way.  I thought I had to live perfectly, to know perfectly, to speak perfectly, to engage perfectly before going out and making a difference in the name of Jesus.  I thought it would make it easier.  But I’ve learned that life is way more complicated and messy, and self-perfection isn’t sustainable, engageable, or even effective.  It’s going to take a mess of a person to reach into the nooks and crannies of the world to reflect a light of Jesus in the darkest corners.

And every time I obsessively try to find out who I am, my truth, my way, my light, I forget that there is only One Truth, One Way, and One Light that is Jesus.  I can’t forget that.  He knows the way through this life.  He said it was gonna be hard.  He said we would suffer.  But the only way I will feel complete and whole is through Him.

Again, there is nothing wrong with living an authentic life, a good life, a life lived in truth and honesty and transparency.  I’m all for that.  And I even think that Jesus wants us to live authentically, honestly, truthfully, transparently.  But I also think He calls us to live holy and righteous lives, led by the Spirit (not our own), with our feet firmly planted in His Truth.

What do you think?

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This Father’s Day

I’m taking a little break from Ephesians, which I will pick back up next week.

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Michael came home one day this week, I forget which one, and talked to me about staying home this Sunday, like we did on Mother’s Day.  He was saying it more for me than for him because I’ve just been extra sensitive lately, what with Mother’s Day just last month and my birthday this week, and he thought it might not be good for me to be exposed to the public on this particular day.

And I wasn’t sure I totally agreed with him until I went shopping for a Father’s Day card for him.  He got me the most amazing heartfelt card for Mother’s Day, and I wanted to do the same for him.  But it was hard.  Picking up card after card that talked about how good that dad was with the kids, knowing that Michael hasn’t had that chance yet.  I finally found a card that centered more around family than fatherhood, as well as a card from the dogs (thank you for whoever decided to start making those).

I was at dinner with Michael last night for my birthday (since my birthday falls in the week and not the weekend), and I took the opportunity to thank him.  He has been so supportive and open to understanding what I am going through.  I know that the loss of our daughters affected him differently than it affected me, but he has sat with me every time I cried.  He walks with me through the uncomfortable moments.  And it means the most to me when he just gets it, not because he understands personally, but that he strives to learn by listening.

And that just frustrates me more that his daughters aren’t here to celebrate him tomorrow.  He is an amazing father and will be an amazing father to any other kids that enter into our lives.

Father’s Day has always been special to me.  I was born on a Father’s Day.  I have an incredible dad.  I have a great father-in-law (who is loving and kind even though he has dementia).  I have had several mentors in my life who have been father-like to me.  I’m thankful for all of them.  And of course, I’m thankful for my Heavenly Father who is with me daily.

I look forward to the day when my husband can be celebrated by his children as well. But until then, we will continue leaning on each other and leaning on our Heavenly Father who walks with us.

A Ramble for my Birthday

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Next week, I will turn another year older.

When I entered my 30s, I was excited.  I felt like I was leaving so much of the pressure to perform, to meet the expectations of society as a 20-something.  And I did.  But now that I’m well into my 30s, I realize that I merely swapped those expectations for new ones.  However, I’m definitely more sure of myself than I was in my 20s.  And I know what I like and I don’t like, and I’m not afraid to try something new without having that need to do it perfectly the first time.  I’m learning how to switch off the people pleasing filter in my brain when making decisions.  It doesn’t work every time, but I am learning and I am okay that I’m learning.

A couple of weeks ago, it dawned on me that next week, I will be ten years older than my mom when she had me.  Now, to be fair, when I was ten years younger than I am now, I was engaged to be married, and I would only be married for six months, and I’m really glad that I didn’t get pregnant that first year of marriage because I had way too much growing up to do.

But the idea is not lost on me that time is slowly ticking away.  I will soon reach the “every pregnancy is a high-risk pregnancy” age.  Though to be fair, considering my history, every pregnancy already is a high-risk one, but there are just so many statistics out there that get scary.  On the other hand, I haven’t really been living up to the regular statistics anyway, so who is to say I’m going to start doing that anytime soon?

And even though I feel more in tune with myself, I have acquired more of a hesitation and filter on the things I want to say.  Partially, because in the moment, my brain is usually just jumbled with an incoherent word knot that only unravels as I leave a situation.  Partially, because I realize that motivations and intentions of others are always more complicated than I thought they were.  Things have become grayer to me.  I am slower to judge a situation or a person because I know I will never have all of the facts.

And even though these first years of my 30s have been wrought with pain and loss, there is so much I’m grateful for.  I am grateful for the friendships that have developed here in Dallas, and here in the blogosphere.  I am grateful that I have a husband who has become the breadwinner so that I can heal and hopefully someday get pregnant again.  I am thankful for the tasks God has given me – with the Alzheimer Walk, the SPCA, Hope Mommies.  I am thankful that he turned my sorrow and grief into a ministry, a place I can shine His love and joy into the dark nooks and crannies of infertility and pregnancy loss.

And it’s not perfect, and never will be this side of eternity.  I’m learning to lean on God when I feel isolated and alone.  I am learning that I don’t have to be the best or have all the attention or be first to have value.  I am learning that I don’t have to have a lot of feedback in order to make a difference in someone’s life.   I’m learning to embrace my limitations and live within boundaries, and that neither one of these things makes me less than anyone else.  And even if someone wants to think of me as lower than them, I am learning not to feed that comparative attitude within myself.

I have no idea what this next year will bring me.  I’ll be honest, I’m not as excited as I was when I turned thirty.  But I know that God is here, present in my life.  So whatever this year brings – heartache or overwhelming joy, or both…

Bring it on.

Spring Cleaning Part Three – Learning to Let Go

I realize that last week, I was quite vague with my challenge for this past week.  Basically, I was doing some emotional soul searching to clear out the cobwebs and look at where I am and where I want to be.  I know that I’m a people pleaser to the extent that disappointment can devastate me, especially from certain people, but I wanted to dig deeper in the parts of me I want to address. Continue reading

My Job’s History

I mentioned in a Sunday post that I had a hard adjustment from college to real world, even though I didn’t move out of my college town.  You see, that last semester of college, I had it all together.  I finally was in a healthy relationship.  I was the president of my social club (kind of a Christian sorority for private Christian colleges).  I was balancing a scholarship position at the college news station as a producer with an internship with the local ABC affiliate for the state, plus a job raising money for the college. Continue reading