anxiety, authenticity, Christianity, conflict, depression, failure, freedom, healing, inner conflict, lessons, Meditation, peace, personal, personal freedom, purpose, religion, restoration, self improvement, self-awareness, self-discovery, spirituality, transformation, truth, wellness
Ever-changing, constantly evolving: that’s what I aspire to be. And it’s not a hard thing to achieve, it’s just a hard process.
All of the things in our lives can shape us, if we’ll let them. The key is to be willing and open to those changes. How much we fight against them determines a lot about our own personal stress levels.
I was reading a devotion/meditation this morning that talked about how unique we all are and how we are not so much growingfrom as growing into, as in growing into, or becoming, our true selves.
I found these words very comforting as I sat with them for a while and as I’ve been reflecting on them throughout the morning.
There is so much pressure on human beings, especially in western culture, to attain. To make and meet goals. To acquire. To succeed. I have spent the last 20 or so years of my life pursuing the “right” lifestyle. The “right” career. The “right” physical appearance. The “right” kind of relationships. Most of the time, not even conscious of the fact that I was, in fact, pursuing someone else’s ideas of “right”.
When I finally realized that the only “right” was what was right for me.
I don’t think truth is subjective, but I do think we have a responsibility to ourselves and the One that created us to know ourselves and be as authentic as possible. And when we do that, what is right for me, may not always look like what is “right” for you.
Part of my struggle was the theology I heard growing up, that I needed to be “in God’s will”, seeking “God’s will” for my life. Praying fervently over every decision and not making one until I was sure I was in “God’s will”. But what if God really doesn’t make mistakes? And what if He created me to just be me? And what if, by trying to live my life in the image of Christ, I was already doing all I really needed to do to ensure that I was “in God’s will”?
I think our protestant theology is very damaging to young kids in teaching them some of the things I was taught. I’ve seen the same kind of struggle and anxiety evolve in other people that were raised in that mentality within the church.
All I can say with certainty at this point in my life is that I spent so much time fretting about what “God’s will” for my life was, that I didn’t just live the life He gave me and tried to, flawed as I am, be as much like Jesus as possible. THAT, after 30 years, is all I know for certain about what God’s will looks like. For anyone who calls themselves a Christian. It looks like Jesus.
I think, somewhere along the way, things got very, very complicated for me. And I felt like if I wasn’t feeling illuminated about every single decision, then I was making a bad one. I think we forget that, even if we make irresponsible choices, if we really believe God is big enough to do the things we think He can, then He’s also able and willing to get us to any destination that He wants to get to. That He can make even horrible choices pour out in blessings. I mean, have you even read the Bible?
I don’t think those stories about Jonah and David and Abraham and Moses and Peter and Paul are all there for nothing. Obviously we should try and refrain from making bad decisions. Live in the light. I think the aforementioned stories are God’s way of reminding us that He knows we stray. And some of these moments are necessary in order for us to become the people that we are supposed to be. Each one a unique creation from the Potter’s wheel.
Maybe it’s been the depression, forcing me to take hard looks at some things. Maybe it was something else. Whatever it is, I’ve been in search mode, and I’m finally feeling like I have at least a few simple answers, in addition to finally being at peace with some of the flawed theology from my past.
First, I’m leaning on my heart a little more. My intuition. Which isn’t as easy as you might think.
My impressions of people have been very wrong at times. My heart crippled by trusting those that ended up hurting me very badly. After working through some of that in therapy and just on my own, I feel like I can trust myself and my gut more and more. I’ve finally learned how to trust myself deeply for what I know I need, and to be cautiously trusting of others, getting to know them slowly.
This leads to the business of setting real boundaries, something I’ve not done in my life very well. But I’m getting better and better at it all the time. It has taken some drastic measures, and will continue to require some, but I’m already feeling the effects of peace from marking some very clear lines in the sand.
The beauty of setting boundaries is that the action alone tends to do a lot of the hard work for you in ridding toxic people from your life, but then there is the business of tending those fences, as it were. Not easy, but definitely easier than trying to be all things to all people.
Trusting myself also means taking some risks. Not anything necessarily meaningful to anyone else, but full of meaning to me. Just like my recent road trip. Taking on the challenge of driving that far away from familiarity, alone – was just something I needed to do. And it won’t be the last time.
With every mile I drove, I felt like I was, as my meditation suggested this morning, growing into myself. And with every decision I’m making right now, I feel like I’m becoming more of who I was meant to be.