::From Earlier in 2012, unfinished, it’s just time to push the publish button. do with it what you’d like.::
I know, I haven’t been blogging much. Truth be told, I’ve been THINKing blogs a lot. I do that. I think in narrative. A writer in thought, if not in action. But I just can’t seem to sit down in front of the computer long enough to get any of those thoughts fleshed out. I think one reason is that I’m in a period of doubting the value of my words. I’m realizing that I am particularly interested in one subject above most: relationships. Most specifically, interpersonal relationships, but I like to talk about people’s relationships with their hair or clothes or dog or the environment as well.
And though it’s only a Master’s program (I don’t know what that means: “only.”), I am learning to be a helping professional, what some refer to as a relationship expert. I’ve heard lots of stories of bad counselors and they are sufficiently scary to keep me from opening my mouth, or typing out my words flippantly, but I am being really well trained. My classes and readings are stimulating and my classmates engaging. For me, noticing, discussing, and facilitating the healing of relationships isn’t just something I like to do or God allows me to do from time-to-time, it’s a lifestyle. It permeates most of what I say and do and think.
And somehow, in that, I’ve lost my boldness. I fear growing proud and strutting like a peacock. “Oh, look at me. I can tell by your expression that you’re thinking more. I can mentally terrorize you and pick out your feelings. I think I know so much better and I look down on all you simpletons with your inability to talk about feelings.”
I fear being wrong. Asserting something as truth because I am old enough to know that I’m too young to know much, other than what the Lord has graced me with.
And I fear something deeper, more wild. I fear stepping forward. I fear embracing, out loud, the role I see and feel and hear and know God is shaping me into. She’s more refined, this woman He is calling me to be. Sometimes subtle, sometimes startling, I see the changes he’s weaving through me to make me more like Him and more like I’m meant to be. Putting off of the old self and putting on righteousness. I don’t want to admit how much of my past is something to be “put off” because, sinfully, I don’t want to let admit I was wrong. (Even though I know life can easily be boiled down to a series of realizations of how wrong I am, summarized by Luther in his eloquent “All of life is repentance.”) And I’m afraid because it was FUN to be the person I’ve been for so long. It was not easy, but it was fun. And it’s not that this new call, this new step in life, these new ways He’s calling me aren’t good and worth it and valuable, it’s just that truth-be-told, part of the putting off of the old self means maturing and maturing means responsibility and responsibility can be scary, y’all!
Yes, I am a 26 year old woman who has been “on her own” for 10 years and I am just now realizing that responsibility can be scary. Because now, I’m not just in charge of myself and leaving an impression with which I expect others to do what they please. Now, (I believe) my position, my title, my education, things the Lord has graciously given me, mean that I have a higher responsibility.
My roommate policy for the last while has been as follows: if there is something errant in me or my roommates, we had dang well better find out about it from each other first. We have such a better lens into each other’s lives (in general, my last roommate got engaged and then her fiance saw her much more than I did (reasonable)) than others. So if Joe-shmoe on the street pulls me aside and tells me I have a nasty attitude, I’m gonna go to those closest to me and say, “Hey, you saw this sin. You saw it because you seem the most and the most intimately. So why, if you love me, didn’t you tell me?”
Perhaps a more relatable example would be of another helping profession. Say your best friend is a nurse (one of mine is but that’s not why I use that example). She notices you are displaying all of the symptoms of some terribly disease. Something that, if treatable, has much better results the earlier you catch it. Something that you probably don’t notice because of all the other “things” in life, but she notices because this is what she does. She studies, reads, thinks, works, and basically breathes this stuff. But she never tells you. Then later, when your symptoms persist to the breaking point, when you end up in the ER or crumpled on your floor, and you find out what is wrong with you, you’d certainly wonder: why didn’t my friend tell me? Why didn’t she point out that, while she couldn’t be sure, she had reason to wonder. Why didn’t she take the chance so that you could at least look into the issue, make an informed decision. You might feel cheated. You might feel betrayed. And I think you’d be right to feel that way. Because sometimes love means saying things you may not want to say. Things like, “Hey, I’ve noticed you talking about general lethargy and aches in your head. Along with those other things you just mentioned, I see a pattern that might point to a brain tumor. I want you to get it checked out. I want you to look further into this. Because I don’t want it to cause you harm.”
Well, that’s where I am with counseling. For years now my “unique” perspective from growing up feral (joke.mostly.) has given me a lens to question where others might not. Then the Holy Spirit chose to start working in that, to help me gain insight into the worlds of others. And now, with a couple of years of grad school under my belt, I’ve learned techniques to hone those gifts.
So now I see the cancer symptoms.
I see how someone’s pattern of self-deprecation might be keeping them from connecting with God, because deep down, they don’t believe they are worth connecting with.
I see how years of a certain struggle has turned into a lifestyle, and how this lifestyle look like it is silently, because they don’t see it as anything other than “the way things are,” poisoning the relationships all around them.
I see how a shaking in someone’s faith, a new base level of confusion in life, might be coloring their view of EVERYTHING, causing them to doubt things they don’t even realize.
I say “might” and “looks like” because, hey, I’m not God, I’m just someone who sees patterns and forms hypotheses, and it’s up to those people to really evaluate and figure out the truth.
BUT IT IS UP TO ME TO SAY SOMETHING. It is a call on my life to help them see. It is the call of everyone to whom much is given to do much with it. It is obedience to my God to share my knowledge and insight, humbly (which is one of the most diaphanous adverbs to attain. like grasping at the wind) and kindly, in love, speak the truth of what I see.