Finding Identity

Do you ever lie in bed ready to go? Unable to stay there, sleep, because you know there’s one thing to do in that moment, one thing driving your soul? One thing to “dangle from…limp wherever it takes you”? That was me at 1:30 pm on Saturday, November 9th.

Unable to fall asleep for my craved afternoon nap, I lie tired under my white-white sheets under white-white quilt under white-white down comforter under white-yellow lines of sun shining through white-gray mini-blinds.

Shades of white

I brainstormed for my blog. I want a new design, my own domain. I want a title. Choosing them comes down to this: my identity. In the sun-bed, I realized this: I’ve claimed myself more than ever in the past 12 months. And I knew that I had to write.

So, I transplanted myself, laptop on lap, to my oversized chair under white-white slip cover under white-yellow lines of sun shining through white-gray mini-blinds.

I’ve stifled identity – to make friends, to keep friends, to impress teachers, to please bosses. I forget to be real.

But this year, I’ve claimed the following:

  • I am a writer. I write to create beauty and share love. And I will be joyful.
  • Building relationships is my life mission. And I will be joyful.
  • Objectification will play no part in my self-image or the way I view women. And I will be joyful.
  • I am God’s child. I’m inherently beautiful. And I will be joyful.
  • I’m given gifts designed for my personality, past, sense of humor, petty desires, every day. And I will be joyful.

Joy does not come naturally to me. I often forget that real joy comes from clinging to the mission so tightly that you have to let the rest of it go. Do you ever want to spend an hour complaining, a day in bed,  a weekend without socializing? Introvert time is necessary, but I know I’m hiding from my purpose, my identity, when I use my words and time selfishly.

Surrounded by these shades of white, though, I am pure.

I will claim my faults, desires, strengths, and this blog. I will write because it empowers my identity, and hopefully yours.

If you want to join me on this identity pursuit, this missional life, let’s do it together. What keeps you awake when you could be taking a nap? Who are you?

“We could, you know. We can live any way we want. People take vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience—even of silence—by choice. The thing is to stalk your calling in a certain skilled and supple way, to locate the most tender and live spot and plug into that pulse. This is yielding, not fighting. A weasel doesn’t “attack” anything; a weasel lives as he’s meant to, yielding at every moment to the perfect freedom of single necessity.

I think it would be well, and proper, and obedient, and pure, to grasp your one necessity and not let it go, to dangle from it limp wherever it takes you. Then even death, where you’re going no matter how you live, cannot you part. Seize it and let it seize you up aloft even, till your eyes burn out and drop; let your musky flesh fall off in shreds, and let your very bones unhinge and scatter, loosened over fields, over fields and woods, lightly, thoughtless, from any height at all, from as high as eagles.”

– Annie Dillard, Living Like Weasels

Are you hungry?

I’ve been binging on sweet stuff for a few weeks. The stuff my mind can’t stop thinking about once I see it, the stuff I don’t want to resist, the stuff I’m willing to have for breakfast even though it’s so so sweet.

I haven’t been hungry for days. I’ve filled myself with knowledge and selfishness and pride.

Pride – how can we claim it for such messiness? Because it breeds messiness.

What I give myself is bad. It’s too sweet, too much and too early.

I need to purge. I need to be hungry again. It’s time to give:

  • Love
  • Worship
  • Time
  • Knowledge
  • Sacrifice

In the Deep

You know that feeling when you push yourself underwater in the deep end and let your air out and sink until your feet loosely hit the cement 12 feet down?

Sky pressure

You blow a few extra bubbles out of your nose so you can tilt your head back and see the aqua-white sun shine through the lapping water. Your arms lift bent at your sides, and you finally can’t hear all of the sounds that come with water.

The noise, light, treading limbs are muffled. The pressure is closer than ever.

I crave that feeling.

For some reason, I don’t panic down there. Why does it quiet me instead of overwhelm me?

I have a theory. It’s because to get down there, I have to give up. I have to let go of my breath, my sight, my hearing, my ability to be heard. And go down there alone with that so-powerful pressure.

I can kick up to the surface if I want to, but I don’t. I need to let go of my power, succumb myself to what’s greater than this body. I need to just be down there.

I can’t do that with the usual distractions. I choose to prioritize comfort, fun, acceptance, money, over my real purpose. But when I place myself under that pressure-power, I realize it’s where I’m meant to thrive.

We live on the surface, though, in the chaos. It’s easy to slip down for some peace, and come up to the powerless pressure when we need air, forgetting that real power. But I don’t have to forget it – that it defines my core, tells me why I’m here. Let’s live the peaceful, real pressure. Acknowledge it always.

The Lump

I have this feeling in my body.

Yeah?

I feel this lump inside me.

Yeah?

It’s a lump of emotion.

Yeah?

You hold an imaginary lump to the left of your belly button. It’s fist-sized and at your core.

It’s like all of that sin is right there and it’s about to come out.

It’s vulnerability, you realize.

Mmmm.

It’s like there are cracks in my heart and all the rocks are going to come out and it hurts but it hurts so good.

I giggle at your rare and specific description of feelings – and you’re speaking in metaphor! You’re beautiful.

Shaker sunset

So I’ve been thinking about these lumps. They’re dense. They form slowly. They’re uncomfortable. They don’t belong.

I admire you. If it were me, I’d feel that lump right away and keep it there as long as possible, unwilling to let it go. As much as it discomforts, I’m a lazy lady. I dread change.

But you. While you don’t notice the lump forming there for months, once you identify it, you’re ready to let it out. Teach me your conviction? Your dedication and humility? Your ever-trying heart? Your love.

I’m Sorry

I have an aversion to problems.

I see someone’s struggle and say, “Stay away from me,” instead of, “Let me love you.”

Like most of my aversions, it’s because I’m scared. I fear that problems are contagious. No. I fear that their stigma is. I dread being associated with bad behavior, obvious selfishness. And how selfish of me!

That stigma…

Where does it come from? I know it. I live it. I join the collective movement to decide what’s good. Then we tell other people the rules and tear down those who don’t follow them – the ones who don’t admit that they’re struggling through life but who obviously are. Like me.

Except somewhere it becomes individual instead of collective. Each of us has our own interpretation of this supposed collective judgment. So each of us is fighting to appear to follow different rules. The rules break down – they aren’t universal and they aren’t even right. And most of all, no one wins.

We want control and security and self-assurance. We think the only way is to measure everyone else and elevate ourselves, however undeservingly. Then we will be safe. But we’re alone and vulnerable and more scared.

So I’m sorry. I’m sorry for avoiding the attention-seekers and love-wanters. I’m sorry for judging the controllers and the fearful ones. I am all of you. And we need each other.

Don’t we know that problems, struggles aren’t even problems? They’re merely an indication of our needs. And what we need most of all is relationship.

Despite our desire to separate right from wrong, we must become magnets, traveling to draw each of us together, bond each of us closely. Hope and love are the remedy to our fear, and hope and love can only happen in relationship. Let’s stop this isolation, this façade-life, this outlook of masked dissension. Let’s lift each other up to redemption.