I Can’t Think of a Clever Title

Gentle Reader,

I’ve missed you. Legitimate things have gotten in the way of my writing regularly. Seminary requires just about all the brain power I possess. But there have also been illegitimate things, things that I should never have given as much attention and time to as I did. And so I find myself coming to you today from a place of mental and emotional exhaustion.

Without realizing it, I’ve been wondering whether or not to continue publishing in this little space because of the toxicity of much internet culture these days, and of social media in particular, and the fact that I don’t always phrase things in a way that others perceive as loving enough or gentle enough, and stranger’s questions surrounding the validity of blogging.

Well, screw all of that.

There I go again, not phrasing things in a gentle and loving enough way.

I loathe that word, “enough.” What even is “enough?” Who gets to define “enough?”

It hit me the other day that I have some real codependent tendencies. Codependency is about control, but not in a way that most of us understand control. I tend to take on responsibilities that aren’t mine to bear in the hope of managing other’s emotions and expectations, because I am afraid of everyone, everywhere, all the time. I want to control other people’s responses to me, so that I avoid getting slammed. Typing that out makes me feel ridiculous, but it’s a real struggle. Some of this is ingrained in my brain chemistry; all those misfiring neurons and broken synapses. But a lot of this is learned. There are many examples that I can point to throughout my life when I’ve chosen to be open, vulnerable, and just not perfect (i.e., not what someone expected me to be, meaning, a flawed human being) and I have been ruthlessly rejected and smeared. Not just a conflict over a difference of opinion. Not just “that thing you said/did hurt my feelings and we need to work it out because we care about each other.” Legitimately (but metaphorically) pounded into the ground for stepping outside of the zone someone else had constructed for me, almost always confusingly hinted at but never fully revealed to me until making the “mistake.”

And I’m mad.

I’m also tired.

So me putting this out there today is an act of defiance against a broken system. No pointing fingers or vaguely throwing shade at any specific person. This is me recognizing bad habits and patterns that I continually fall into. This is me saying, “Hey. Wait a minute. I don’t expect anyone to be or do or feel or think exactly the same way that I do. Why do I have to fit the mold that others create for me? That’s the definition of unfair. And it never works. This cannot be what God wants for me. I truly just want to be able to be myself.”

Perhaps strangely to your eyes, I thank God for the place that I’m in today. I can see the broken system, and I can see my place in that system. I don’t want to participate in it any longer. If I am going to be a person who preaches the Good News of freedom in Christ, then I sure as heck am going to be a person who lives in and out of that freedom – whether anyone else likes it or not.

GRACE AND PEACE ALONG THE WAY,
MARIE