Saturday, March 10, 2012

On Clinging to My Rights With Tight Fists

Today I had a breakdown on the phone with my mother.

It began by me telling her that I started googling YWAM DTS, and the peace corps this morning. It ended with me telling her that I was going to be 40 and never have done anything in life that I wanted to do. It was my fear of failure and of being alone all rolled into hysterics. I told her I always did the responsible thing.

I chose the gas efficient, cheap to maintain car.

I didn't go on a DTS between high school and college.

I didn't study abroad.

I didn't go teach abroad when I graduated college in 2009 so that I could pay off my loans.

I didn't apply for grad school in a new town, but instead applied to UNCG so I could (responsibly) work and go to school at the same time.

I am 25, not dating anyone and there are no prospects so I will never have a husband and a family like I had always dreamed.

Here's my list of things to do before I die:

Things I want to do before I die:

Have foster children
Have my own children
Teach in another country
Write a book
Go back to Mexico
Learn another language
Lead someone to Christ
Make straight As for a semester [done]
Memorize a book of the Bible
Fall in love and learn to live it out for 70 some years
Learn to be not easily angered, full of love in every manner
Go backpacking
Go on a road trip through the Western part of the country
Grow a tree
Be in a play
Go to Africa and work with orphans [done]
See NYC skyline
Go to graduate school

This morning I became terrified of being trapped. That some day I would be 50 and I would still be waking up every Saturday morning, making eggs and watching Dr. Quinn while doing laundry. I panicked and it all resulted in babbling and blubbering.

Then Mom told me that I chose a profession in which I made very little money. A profession that I love and do gladly. I need some perspective. I normally am very level-headed...and responsible.

I had a similar moment on Wednesday evening, at a birthday party. I was talking to a friend about how Emily (my roommate) was going to Uganda for the summer. I am overwhelmed with jealousy and simultaneously with sadness over the fact that my friend is leaving me for the summer and as I was sharing these feelings, my friend said, "Well, it's not like you own her." And I snapped. "That's the problem! I have no one to call my own." My ugly fears surfaced and I saw that I was letting my emotions of feeling left behind and being unaccomplished sneak in.

I confess to giving into my weaknesses. I was reading this morning and I came upon this:

"Something that keeps us from falling to the ground like a seed is the fact that there are so many things we believe we are entitled to. We hold a fistful of hopes and dreams and desires and wants. I don't mean material things, although it is certainly possible. But those things are easier to recognize. Rather, it is the things we believe we are owed to us.

Brokenness is evident when you no longer react to with your previous flesh patterns when the following rights are challenged:
Your right to a good reputation.
Your right to have acceptance.
Your right to be successful.
Your right to have pleasant circumstances.
Your right to beauty or strength.
Your right to have friends.
Your right to be heard.
Your right to take offense.
Your right to avoid reaping what you sow.
Your right to be right.
Your right to see results.
Your right to be loved by others.

These rights are the breeding ground for my masks. They are like seeds planted in the soil of my soul. If I continue to care for them and feed them and give them time to grow, then their roots travel deep..."

When I cling with a tight fist to these things I become emotional, jealous, and frustrated.

Oh Lord, let me be like Jesus-- who had every right to claim his rights, yet humbled himself even to death. Let me listen to you well so I can follow you closely and not get distracted with where I think I should be or what I think I should be doing. Let me be and do what you would have me.


Emily said...

Your right to be heard.
Your right to take offense.
Your right to be right.

Those hit home, sistah!
Every time I start clinging to those (and other) "rights" I have to go re-read Philippians 2!

You are a wonderful, beautiful, smart, passionate, tender-hearted woman, who IS doing amazing things! And whether you continue in your current job, or in GSO, or if you go off and do something "adventurous" (as I sense you're labeling anything OTHER than teaching highschool... but it seems to me to be quite an adventure, not for the faint of heart!) -- you will continue to be an example for so many of us, and I will continue to be happy to have you as a friend!

Dayna said...

Thanks for this, Emily. It sounds like we're in similar places. It's comforting to know I'm not alone in it.

MarySuz said...

don't forget that there is grace upon grace when we give into our fears and weaknesses. He is there through all the doubting, holding your... fist. :) love you, emms. God's got big plans for you and they will unfold.