Wow, blogs sure can be a terrific source of guilt! Yes, it's been awhile and no I don't have any really good excuses and you can bet that it sure will happen again! :) But while the blogging has paused, the growth continues and I'm excited to share with those of you who happen upon this little corner of cyberspace.
I was talking with my husband the other night while driving home from Halifax (wow, was it good to be in a "real" mall again, even though we will forever be spoiled, mall-wise, from living so close to West Edmonton Mall for so many years...) and amid our many topics of conversation, I had a breakthrough! I realized that all my life, I've actually set myself up for failure. As I think back over the choices I've made, they've all been based on what was easiest, what would involve the least amount of hard work and obstacles to overcome, the path of least resistance. In other words, almost every choice I've made, big or small, has been based on fear. Fear of failure, fear of rejection, fear of judgement, fear of caring, of making an effort and failing anyway... I had a really strong tendency, growing up, to only do that which I was naturally good at, and to quit at the first sign of looming obstacle or of possible failure. The most poignant example of this is my choice of college major. From as far back as I can remember, I was interested in psychology. I loved counselling, and did a lot of it in Jr. High and High School. But as university approached, I heard rumors that a certain required class - Statistics - was hard. That, and only that, was the reason I didn't major in psych. Instead I majored in English, one of the few "disciplines" that is almost entirely subjective! I didn't care about it, I didn't have any plans as to what I would do with it, no calling or lofty ambitions... I chose English because it was easy for me, writing good papers came quite naturally, I liked to read (not that I actually read many of the "required" texts), and there was NO MATH! As I'm writing this, I'm just shaking my head. What was I thinking?! (Just a note: no disrespect meant to the many English majors out there - I admire you tremendously for your passion and creativity!)
It's the same in relationships - I've almost always surrounded myself with people who are easy to be around, likable, friendly, accepting, emotionally stable (more or less)... I would run screaming (silently) from any relationship that might pose a threat, ie. that would require effort and/or authenticity. And I wouldn't even consider entering into a friendship with anyone who might be different in any major way from myself. And that worked just great for awhile. I had lots of good friends while growing up, in school and college. I was as close as was comfortable for me (though I realize now that there were some who wanted/needed to go deeper that I deliberately kept a distance - I sincerely apologize; I get it now!) But where does that leave me now? With no really close friendships, nobody to hang out with, nobody to call, nobody to pray for/with, nobody to go deeper with...(I exclude my husband and family here; this blog is just about me!) I'm not writing this to illicit your sympathy or pity, but to tell it like it is, to warn you about the dangers of living by fear and not faith, to encourage you (and me!) to live authentically, to love without fear, to let people know the real you.
So when I say I've been setting myself up for failure, I guess I mean ultimate failure. In the short term, only pursuing that at which you naturally excel produces much perceived success. But it's not the abundant life I'm looking for. I'm not sure what to do with this new insight into myself, but I want it to be a turning point, a catalyst for change. But I'm still fearful. What if people don't like the real me? What if I pursue what I really care about and end up a dismal failure? "But God did not give us a spirit of fear, but of power and love and self-discipline!" (2 Tim. 1:7, NIV + KJV) I don't want to live in fear! There's a Newsboys song the chorus of which I've kind of taken as my new motto:
"Dance like no one is looking;
Sing like no one will hear;
Love like you've never hurt before
Live like there's nothing to fear!"
If any of this strikes a chord with you, please let me know! I've appreciated so much all the feedback I've received from so many on similar journeys, and I've been so encouraged! Let's get real, People! Let's be the real people of God who live life in community and find hope and courage and healing together, and who reach out to a world that needs exactly that! May you know real joy today!