Friday, April 25, 2008

Anyway -- Hope Chronicles 37

A few weeks ago at Lisa Whittle's site, she encouraged us to share a "get real" moment. Those are the moments where we share what is really going on in our hearts and minds and souls. I thought I would share some of what I shared there and maybe elaborate a little.

My get real moment is "pretending it doesn't matter." I do this in a variety of ways. One of the quickest things to come out of my mouth is to say "I know that's stupid or silly" about something I have said or done or thought. I don't judge others this way. It never crosses my mind to do so. But with myself, it is second nature. I'm trying to watch it and not do it so often (or someday at all), but you may need to call me on it. The reason behind saying it at all is that if I say it first it might hurt less if you say it.

I don't know that I hear others say those words about themselves to the extent that I do. However, I also think that women (and probably men too) are great pretenders. We play the game of It Doesn't Matter Anyway.

In elementary school, we are not asked to play and we say, "It doesn't matter, I didn't want to jump rope anyway."

I went to exactly one dance in junior high and high school. It was in junior high and even though I didn't have friends to go and hang with, I bought the line from the teachers that it was for everyone and anyone could come and it wasn't a date kind of thing. I still remember the cafeteria being emptied of tables and chairs and the beat of the music. I think I lingered in there watching everyone dance for about an hour. I was too shy to just join in what even seemed like a group dance. I spent the next two hours sitting on the curb outside in a patch of darkness waiting for my mom to come pick me up. Though I told her I'd had loads of fun, my mantra in my head those two hours was "It doesn't matter anyway. I didn't want to dance anyway. I don't like dancing anyway." Since I had never really danced, this was pure presumption on my part.

By the time high school rolled around with "Homecoming Dances" and later the prom, I had made myself so busy running a thriving babysitting business that I could easily say, "It doesn't matter anyway that I wasn't invited. I couldn't have gone anyway. I've been booked 3 months out to sit for so and so."

It mattered to my mom that I didn't go to the prom. Even though the arrangement my parents had worked out with me was that I got a certain amount each month that I budgeted for lunches or clothes or school supplies or gas or whatever, she offered to spring for a dress for the prom my senior year. I was actually mildly amused by how seriously she took it because I was so versed in it doesn't matter anyway that going was never an option in my mind. She could take care of the dress, but it would have been a dress that hung in my closet. No group of girlfriends and certainly no boy was planning on including me. So, I told myself, "It doesn't matter anyway . . . ."

I was in chorus my sophomore year. There was a special singing group for juniors and seniors. I sang second soprano. Even though it felt like a risk, I tried out. And when I didn't make it, it confirmed the belief that I couldn't sing and that it was silly to try out and what had I been thinking and I didn't want in it anyway because it would take away from my studies and I wanted to get into a good school. I didn't want it anyway.

As an adult I have the same mantra about various things, "It doesn't matter anyway, I didn't want the house with a white picket fence and the kids would ruin the carpet anyway and a husband would drive me nuts. It doesn't matter GOD because I didn't really want all that anyway."

Or it doesn't matter anyway about that job. It doesn't matter anyway that a friend is moving because we weren't that close anyway. It doesn't matter anyway . . . .


Or sometimes I say, "Okay, I wanted all that but God, you are enough anyway" and that is a pretend too. I say it because it sounds more Christian and accepting.

But when I pretend in whatever way, I wall off bits of my heart. While I shouldn't wallow in things, when I pretend -- or perhaps lie -- to God and others that it doesn't matter anyway, I squash hope. I forget to let myself dream. I close myself off to possibilities. I refuse any comfort because who needs comforting when it doesn't matter anyway? Squashing hope and dreams is spirit deadening because it limits life to what is immediately before you and it forgoes any real communication with God about what is really going on.

God would rather hear me say, "I want it all -- the kids, the husband, the dog, the in laws everyone complains about, the very best friend I can call at 2:00 AM. And God I know you are suppose to be ENOUGH, but sometimes I want it so and it doesn't feel like you are enough." When I'm honest to say that, He invites me on his lap and tells me He knows and reminds me that He is enough but it is okay to have those feelings. They are longings He built in me. And He invites me to wait a little longer to see what He will do -- not a promise that all those things will come the way I think they will but how He might use hands, my life, my heart and meet me in a way I can never imagine.

It is best not to pretend those things don't matter anyway because when I pretend like that, I wall off my heart and do not let Him comfort me. And I risk falling into the pit of doubt that says He is holding out on me, keeping back the best. But God doesn't do that. He knows it all matters. He wants to hold all the things of my heart. But He needs to be free to meet all those dreams in anyway He chooses. I need to trust that any which way life goes, God has my best interest at heart.


1 comment:

Julie Stiles Mills said...

Now THAT was brave. Thank you for not pretending.