I have very seldom, if ever, written here about myself, personally. And the reason is that the purpose of this blog has been to record my family's lives, stuff we do, not necessarily my personal thoughts. Any photos that I take I like to write about about so we don't forget them. However, I don't usually take photos when my kids are fighting, when I snap at them or when I'm stressed out, feeling lonely or bitter. Those things happen a lot but they don't make it into the blog. I mostly take photos of happy things and I think that's how most people are. You don't take a photo of a fight.
Recently, however, I have felt convicted about something very important to me: Honesty.
I very much value honesty, sincerity, frankness, truthfulness, openness and straightforwardness. I don't know if it's a part of my DNA, if it's been crafted into me through my upbringing and experiences or a combination of the two. I am a very honest and transparent person. Very much like Candor in the Divergent series (3 books I recently consumed), if people could be more vulnerable with each other, every one would be better off. How many interpersonal problems could be solved by honesty: "You hurt my feelings when you said that. Oh I did? I'm so sorry! Please forgive me." Bam, done. Honesty is one of my core values and something I genuinely like about myself. Terry likes this about me too. I like to think my friends like that about me but I don't know. I have a hard time with friends.
The thing is, I think I have been holding back lately. Factors involved in that could be primarily insecurity, having a baby and being more stay at home, homeschooling and therefore being more stay at home, and again, insecurity.
I like to think that I'm not insecure. But if I really look deeper at any problem or unpleasant emotion that I have, insecurity has a lot to do with it. And that seems odd to me because I also like to think that I don't care what people think. I had a very bad experience right before I went into high school where all of my friends ditched me and said very awful, appalling, horrible things to me. Did you read where I said when this happened? Yeah, I went into high school with no friends. I had to start over. And this sort of thing (bullying) is regrettably, pretty normal anymore, but it doesn't make it any less devastating. So right there, when that happened to me, I made some promises to myself.
#1 I wasn't going to care what anyone thought about me anymore. That had been part of my problem. I changed who I was to fit in. Turned out it didn't work and I was becoming a genuinely terrible person. Therefore, I thank God for taking me out of that group.
#2 Another thing I wanted was to be even more honest, though I think I still had been up until that point (my family just doesn't beat around the bush about things). I was going to be who I honestly was and not try to be like who others thought I should be. I like that.
#3 One other thing I changed about myself, unknowingly, was that I was going to trust people less. And that change was bad. I thought that I didn't need anyone if that's how they treated you. I am still working on this one. It's difficult.
So, I still value not caring who people think I should be and honesty, but to be honest (tired of that word yet?), I have been failing a little. In my own mind I have begun to care about what people think of me. I'm always thinking I "should be" this or that. Or I "should be" like her or them. Or that I "shouldn't be" like how I am. And some of those things are true, but most of them are not. Most of them are lies. And I have been swallowing those lies. I am an absolute sucker for some of those lies. And then for good measure, I project those lies onto other people and then all of the sudden, they are the ones telling me who I should be. And then I'm angry with them for having unrealistic expectations of me, all without them saying a word. Works good right?
If I could just be honest it would be a lot easier. So that's what I'm doing here. All over again in my life, I'm going to try not to care about who I think I should be and who you think I should be. If I have let you down, I am genuinely very sorry indeed. I never want to hurt anyone. But I am who I am and I will let people down unknowingly. Paul was all things to all men, but I have a hard time with that.
So who am I?
I am shy! I am an introvert. I would prefer most of the time to be alone. When I'm around too many people or have too much going on, I get really stressed out.
Going to youth group every week is very difficult for me. The wall of sound hits me and I want to turn right back around and go stand in a corner and observe. But I don't. I push myself all the time (if you think I don't, I do). I go stand in a group of people and try to think of something to say or ask. Terry makes it look so easy. He tells me all of these questions I could ask. It's not that easy for me. Literally, when I'm standing in front of you not saying anything, it's because there is absolutely nothing in my mind to say. I'm completely blank. Seriously. I have thoughts flying through my head all the day long but somehow when I have to talk to someone I don't know well (which is anyone I'm not married to) I have nothing to say.
I don't like being too busy.
If I don't have an appropriate amount of downtime, I am a mess. I get more emotional and needy with Terry and cranky with the kids and all around unpleasant. I need alone time. I am totally not a party planning or party attending or large groups kind of person at all. I am not the life of the party. I am not all fun all the time. I am probably not even all that friendly, but I do try. If you knew how hard all of this people stuff was for me, you would know how hard I do try. My husband is a youth pastor forgoodnesssakes! I'm supposed to be "friendly" and "loving" and "giving" and "nice" and "outgoing" and all that kind of stuff. Well, if you didn't already notice, I'm not very good at any of it.
I am who I am and I don't need to be like someone else. I'm doing the best I can and am attempting to trust and obey God where I'm at. God loves me right where I'm at but He doesn't leave me there. He works on me every day. I'm not the same person day in and day out, whether or not you or I see the change. His grace is sufficient and He is transforming me. He is faithful to accomplish His will in me. I am not the one that has to change me. HE changes me. He is the one who made me an introvert in the first place. Will He now turn around and say, "That's not good enough. You have to be an extrovert so everyone, including me, will love you." NO! And yet, those are the lies I believe.
So that's why I'm writing this post. I want to say sorry for letting people down and ask for their forgiveness and grace. I have not arrived and will never arrive until the day I die and can finally go to that city. I cannot wait. I hate all these lies and expectations and unspoken thoughts and feelings. Why can't we all just be honest? If I hurt you, tell me. If you hurt me, I'll try to be brave and tell you.