Let Them Play

I’m reading the book, Scary Close by Donald Miller and it is jarring loose major parts of my life and thinking.

He tells a story of one of his breakthroughs that occurred while in therapy: speaking to his 9 year old self, who’d he had given the burden/responsibility of gaining attention and validation from others. His 9 year old self had the mindset that he had to be bigger and better in order to gain love from others. Also, this 9 year old represented his outer self; the persona he projected for others. There was also his inner self that existed, his true self, whom the author decided was about 35 years old. His inner self was at peace and okay with being alone most of the time, meanwhile the outer self was stressed and fearful.

The therapist told him to sit in a chair across from his 9 year old self and talk to him. Donald Miller said, “I also want to say I’m sorry. I’m sorry for pushing you out there in the world so you could impress people for us and fight for us and make money for us while I sat in here and read books”.

I paused after reading this and begin to cry. Looking across my bedroom, I stared at the wall and imagined the age/image of my inner self. She is 14 years old; bangs covering up her quiet, wise eyes, but sitting up straight for fear that others are watching. She wears baggy clothing so that her shape doesn’t show too much, and she’s picking at the sides of her jeans to help keep her from running off to her room; her place of refuge.

She sees me staring at her, so she straightens her back even more, and waits for me to speak.

“I bet you’re exhausted, huh? I’m sorry I let them put so much pressure on you. You’re not even close to being done being a kid, but you’re preoccupied with so many burdens right now. Here, let me take those from you. I know just what to do with them. Please, go off and play. You’re far from done playing.”

Those last two sentences resounded deeply inside of my heart.

Children find both expression and freedom when engaged in play. Imagine, the whole world is filled with turmoil and pain, but our children (the brightest and purest of us) actively seek Play. I had not reached the age where I no longer needed play to express my joys and frustrations. In fact, I needed play at 14 more than ever. It was stripped from me, and I was given adult burdens in its place.

A child who is unable to play is a traumatized child. They see the world with a different set of eyes, and without an adult to protect them, they are left to both understand and defend against this new world on their own.

This was a profound truth to realize because it made me understand why I interact with others the way I do. Why I still throw up a wall when I have conflict in my marriage. And why I still struggle with trusting spiritual authority.

I’m so thankful that God sees me as His child, no matter my age. And that He still encourages me to have liberty and joy in Him. I can cast all burdens to Him and truly be “as a child”. I still believe my days of play are far from over.

Additionally, my struggle fueled my purpose, which is to work with children. Provide them with an atmosphere where they can play freely, without judgement, and encourage their sense of joy and abandon. There are many children who do not have anyone to defend their right to play. Some who have placed adult burdens on to their shoulders and emphasize correct behavior over exploration and the process of becoming an individual. My heart of hearts is to “let children play”.

Their…our…lives depend on it.

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Excuses, Excuses

I have way too many excuses & not nearly enough courage.

Apparently, so do most people. A well-known guy in the Bible named Moses was chatting with God about emancipating his people out of slavery. When told to go, here’s what he said:

Exodus 3:11;4:10
“But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?”

“Then Moses said to the LORD, “Please, Lord, I have never been eloquent, neither recently nor in time past, nor since You have spoken to Your servant; for I am slow of speech and slow of tongue.”

Ha. Of all things, Moses brought up his lack of charisma and charm, or that the fact that he might not be able to be very convincing to the ruler of Egypt. Honestly, I was here for Moses on this one. If I were chilling in the desert, enjoying my comfortable existence with friends and loved ones, I wouldn’t want to leave all that and go save a bunch of people I didn’t know anyway…

…but that’s God’s M.O.
Saving folk. Right?

WHO AM I, God? The call is always overwhelming. Too big. Too difficult.
Larger than my hands can hold.
Moses couldn’t wrap his logic around it.

…and neither can I.

I have hobbies. Things that I enjoy doing to pass the time. They are not only enjoyable, but easy.
Then I have talents. Things that I am both good at and enjoy doing. The work that goes into it is enjoyable.
Then…
I have passions. They are overwhelming and taxing at times. Especially when they push me (or pull me, sometimes kicking and screaming) towards my purpose.
Now, Purpose is NOTHING like your hobby or your talent. They can be connected, but they are rarely identical.
Your Purpose is divine and God-breathed. It’s like a distinct birthmark or a mole: it’s unique to you. It’s what identifies you in the Kingdom of God. It’s like your fingerprint, not because no one else will have that purpose, but no one else will carry it out EXACTLY like you.

Imagine this: God made you unique because He needed you to be exactly who you are, so that you can take your place (one picked out JUST FOR YOU) in the Kingdom of God.

So, when I/you make excuses, we are leaving our places unoccupied. And we all suffer because of it.

It’s hard enough DISCOVERING that purpose. Moses had to leave his cushy existence as Pharaoh’s son in order to find it. But the delay caused by excuses are on us. IT’s time to edge them further out of our lives & trade them for a little more courage.

Sleep Deprevivation

This post is about letting go. 

Releasing a tight grip from the wall of certainty where I clung in order to feel sure about my place and role in life.

It is about feeling emotions, and being okay with every second they take up residence in your heart. Letting it be okay that there is little logic found in their range, depth, severity, and speed that you experience each emotion, even as they fluidly stream from one into another.This post is even about not having nearly enough sleep needed to support the elation and joy I should have at the moment.

My mind is without a concrete form, but only because my daughter — yes this little, 7 lb angel — has taken it to mold it into what she needs. And strangely enough, that mind has become so instinctual. Basic. Almost primitive.

And this mind I am left with, who used to have quite intelligent conversations with my heart — on topics like priorities, passions, and what I am to pursue — speaks in sentences with no more than half a dozen words each. Sometimes, their dialogue is in the form of grunts and groans. Tears and laughter. And they understand each other. Perhaps better than they ever have.

Remove sleep and add a tiny person, and you are left with a profound amount of clarity found in child-like terms. I can see falsehood in my own heart (and sometimes in others closest to me) vividly. Many personal principles that I once held high and with such dignity, I’ve surrendered to a dusty alter before God. I’ve never had to give and give up so much of myself for anyone else before her. And I’ve never been so glad that she requires nothing less.

I am so tired…

…and yet, so awake.

 

Do It Bigger.

I’m comfortable with confined spaces. 

I have a cozy, high ceiling loft that is a hallway short of being a studio layout. The only seating room my office has is the couch for my clients, my swivel desk chair, and a quaint little rocking chair that I sit in during sessions. I have a compact VW with a tiny backseat that could probably fit two people and a small infant… 

There’s a comfort in it. Small stages with rusted microphones, watched by chill open mic patrons, with faint music in the background that barely carry out into the surrounding streets. For the longest time, that felt like my lane. And whenever I felt my passions sound off above a dull roar, I hushed them. I never asked myself if there would ever be a larger stage for me. A crisper sound system that could hear my every breath, gasp, & crack in my voice.  I never considered whether it’d be my turn to do things bigger than I’d gotten used to.

…boy oh boy…

There are certain things I can feel or see peering over the horizon concerning my future. Opportunities and projects that leave me at a loss. I’m not afraid. Just stumped. Because I’ve always gone through life taking on exactly what I felt I could handle. Sure, I’ve overcome challenges. God has unfolded many miracles in, around, and through me. But even they have, in some way, made sense. It was only in hindsight that I reflect back on my life and think, “Good Lord. How in the world did I get through that?”

Now. That question is coming up a lot earlier: “Good Lord. How in the world am I going to get through…..that?”

Of course, the answer will always be the same. 

And I’ll still laugh nervously. Take a deep breath and clear my head of any automatic trains of thought that seem to stall my stride. 

The end of transitions tend to unfold in this manner. Like the beginning of a roller coaster’s drop: Your stomach and your brain start to wish you’d stay back on the ride’s platform. But…at some point, you lift up your hands, squeeze your eyes shut, and give yourself completely to the experience. 

Completely to faith. And to Giver of the Ride.  

Green Grass.

Today is Valentine’s Day.

Since this is my first Feb. 14th as a married lady, I initially wanted to revolt against this day. Backwards, I know. But I felt a tinge of anxiety because I felt a growing obligation to either:

a)Brag about how awesome my new hubby treated me today.

b)Avoid offending unmarried/single people who may feel apprehensive about this pagan holiday…

 Somewhere around 9:37 pm last night, I decided to do neither of those things. I’ll simply state a few things, instead…

1. I’m 27. I waited and endured my own personal hell/inadequacies while single, and now that I’m not single, I am going to enjoy it. Why shush  my own desire to celebrate my husband because you may feel a tad envious?

2. Many singles LOVE being single. After a rough season, I enjoyed it also. 

3. Valentine’s Day isn’t just for couples. 

4. God is Love. And He loves all of us. Based on that fact alone, He monopolizes this whole holiday. 

5. Singles who are annoyed with this day should really check their hearts. 

6. (And most importantly) We are such discontented people. Instead of being content with where we are, and make the most of the current season, we’d rather focus our energies on desiring the next stage. I remember crying about not being engaged to my then-boyfriend…I felt it was time. I saw little evidence that it wasn’t time because I wanted what I wanted. I couldn’t see that there are alot more important factors involved besides my own happiness. 

And that’s where the “the grass isn’t always greener” analogy comes in…Image

It’s all a myth. There is no greener grass. No other side. Just a wide open field with a man-created boundary. And God never created it to have a boundary. Simply for you to travel this life following His lead. Enjoying every step. Enduring every hardship. 

Because, as I’ve seen in almost 9 months in a new season, with a new relationship status:

With each new season, there are tougher  challenges. And I thank God that He didn’t allow me to move into a new season with old mindsets & resources. 

 

Feel all caught up now?

It’s been over 7 months since I last blogged. Naturally, my words have built up inside of me like a dammed body of water; raging and intentional. And it is not concerning one genre of topic; not spiritual, relational, or vocational. But it is a great, big conglomeration of thoughts that have been stewing inside of me since last summer. I intend to begin blogging regularly again…both here and at my poetry blog (The link is at the top of the page, in case you’re interested.).

I need an[other] outlet, mainly. I have friends, my prayer life, and a husband who adores me. My mother is but a phone call away and I can vent to my supervisor. But some thoughts are viral. Confusing. Heated and vengeful. Some are too simple for a conversation or text message…at times, my thoughts do not need to be prayed for or mulled over.

They just need an out. Someplace where there is no judgement, despite how public it is. I guess a part of me doesnt mind if anyone reads it. I remember writing private blogs, like an online diary…its password-protected nature serving as a lock. But, there’s no need for that anymore.

…not so much, anyway.

My life is no longer a drama that it once was. Not completely. Not on the outside. The only tumultuous experience known to me is inside my head/heart. And besides, I’m feeling a bit too grown to hide behind metaphors and anonymity. Once 28 hits me dead between the eyes in a few months, I have a feeling that I will become less afraid of my thoughts getting misconstrued by misunderstanding.

So, write I must. It’s good to see you all again…