Ahhhhh…. I woke up this morning feeling soooo much better after my little rant yesterday.
I was brought up to keep my feelings to myself. Self-expression was for people who went to see “quacks” (the term my family used to describe psychiatrists). I’m sure it was unintentional, being made to think that my feelings weren’t valid, but it happened anyway.
I wouldn’t call my family unfeeling. A better term would be the word stoic. Here’s the definiton:
long-suffering, uncomplaining, patient, forbearing, accepting, tolerant, resigned, phlegmatic, philosophical.
We just kinda played the hand that was dealt us, never pausing for a moment to question what we thought or how we felt about it. And nobody in my family turned into a mass murderer or anything, so I guess they were OK with living like that.
It has taken me a lonnnng time, though, to feel comfortable saying what’s on my mind. For a long time, I would gauge whether or not such-and-such would approve before I shared anything. The problem with that is there are so many such-and-suches in my life that it would be impossible to please them all. Someone would inevitably get their feelings hurt. Someone would get their feathers ruffled. Or, heaven forbid, someone might actually disagree with me. And then what would I do? Fret? Beat myself up? Second-guess? The list of things I could do to mentally harm myself is endless.
Once I started expressing myself and stopped caring what everyone except God thinks of me, I have been so much more at peace than I ever have been.
What I feel is valid.
What I have to say is valuable.
What I think is worth sharing.
After all, God created me for His purposes. He infused me with personality and ability and intellect and emotion. None of those things are meant to be downplayed. We were all made uniquely to BE unique.
It has been a process, but I am (still) learning to accept all the parts of me that make me who I am, even if they differ from my friends and loved ones. Thankfully, I’ve never been overly concerned with what strangers think of me.
I am Me. And God knows me better than I know myself. If I have a question, I consult the Owner’s Manual. In it, He tells me this:
For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
— Ephesians 2:10 (NIV)
His purposes were laid out for me before I was born. He created me with those purposes in mind. He made me exactly the way I am in order to serve Him.
It is an awesome (and at times, overwhelming) prospect. Yet, it doesn’t scare me. It doesn’t deter me when people disagree with me. I trust my God to work all things together for my good because I love Him. Romans 8:28 is precious to me and worth clinging to in times of despair.
He has me in this (literal) hellhole called Texas for a reason. I know that. I trust that. I am not questioning that.
What I am doing, with my writing especially, is getting my thoughts out. The good, the bad, and the ugly.
This blog was created as an outlet for me to express myself, but I would be lying if I said I don’t also feel blessed by everyone who reads it. I am thankful for the private e-mails, the Facebook comments, the tweets, and of course, the comments left here.
The feeling of kinship I’ve found in the blogosphere is worth pursuing. And celebrating. And sharing.
Thanks for reading. And accepting me, warts and all.