Tuesday, August 26, 2008

To Thine Own Self Be True- Part Two

So the conversation I had really has had many tangent effects for me and today I want to chat a bit about why knowing oneself makes all the difference. I want to start by making the disclaimer that I am a person who has really struggled to feel comfortable being in my own skin. I was not able to develop a strong sense of self until just recently. I often hid from myself and also from others and I do not feel I lived within all that I was created to be. So with that... here we go.

It is really difficult to grow into a deep knowledge of self. It seems selfish, or egotistical, or even a waste of time. Our culture likes us not being present... because when are absent from life, we are more likely to buy too much stuff, use too much stuff, and follow blindly after someone with charisma. (or the *right* set of beliefs)

My marriage counselor, (yes dh and I are in marriage counseling... oh how I wished we had given ourselves this gift years ago. Really, if you’ve never been in marriage counseling... I highly recommend it.) recently talked with us about how there are really two ways in which we interact in the world and with other people. We are driven either by fear or by love. When we are living the life of shoulds, we are in fear based living, and we will often sell our true self out for the “benefits” of doing things the way things ought to be done. Then later we are angry and we behave in ways that are unhelpful in relationship and unhelpful in the world. When we stop and notice how we are feeling and we honor that, only then can we respond out of a place of love...and that sometimes will look pretty messy. When we can hold onto ourselves and speak truth in our lives and relationships, we can be a more true reflection of God.

So how does all of this fit into my conversation they other day? Well, I was amazingly humbled listening to my parents and their friend. When I was in leadership during that time I was living totally out of a place a fear of myself and most everything else too. I wanted so much to see change in the church, but I totally missed the being the change that I want to see in the world, and I was my missed opportunity.

Now I have spent tons of time knowing the depths of me, and those that I hold most dear, and I have come down off my high horse. Most of my closest friends these days are agnostic, atheist, or pantheist. And that is much more comfortable for me. I am still a christian, but I know myself well and I can really listen to others with new ears. And here is what I have learned, unilaterally about people. What engages me, and those I am in relationship with, is story. All of the great truth in the world is best digested through a great story. When I sit down in a church chair, I need to here a really good story. One that is way bigger than me and allows me to sit in the mystery of life and the mystery of god. That’s really all I need.

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