We are two days into 2016. And I want to warn you, it’s a messy post tonight. It’s not some great inspiration for the year ahead, in fact it’s more like the ramblings of someone who felt like she “should be writing.”
I figured something out about myself today… I protect myself far too much and far too often.
I became acutely aware of it when the girl who lives here every second week, sat down next to me and asked “Can you please write this for me, because my writing’s crap.”
I did – not terribly well – but I wrote the quote she had found, she was very happy and went back to her project. Some days she is happy, others not so much – she’s a teenager and she has a few other complications in her life as well. But she is very happy today – her room has had a bit of a make-over. I then went off on my merry way and I was a little shocked by how I felt. I was happy, my kind of weird/dark-ish mood of several days had lifted.
I’m going to let you in on a little blended family secret. There are days that I dread – days like today when we have two kids, but my boy is away. It feels as though there is a piece missing – I guess the truth is that there is. Sometimes, on these days, I feel like I don’t fit or belong in my own home. Today I realised that this prison I, on occasion, find myself sitting in, is largely a self-imposed prison. Every week or so I shut parts of me off from the people who live here. Just little bits, I don’t think that they even notice — but I do — and to tell you the truth, it makes me miserable. I get a little resentful every time that I close a little of my heart off. I know I do it – sometimes I even do it consciously. But you have to be very brave to let yourself love people who can hurt you. And I’m no where near as brave as people think I am.
I had my epiphany today as I went to get dinner – I don’t want to bond too closely with people I know are going to leave. I was instantly challenged because there are two people in our home every second week who stay for seven days and then leave. The truth is, I think I approach the majority of relationships in the same way.
I think some of us are very much aware of the idea that nothing on our earth is permanent, even the best things we experience here are temporary – our best and closest relationships will one day end. I think it’s something that I’ve always felt when it comes to loved ones. Sometimes I look at these loved ones and the thought in my head is; at some point in time either I’m going to be without you, or you are going to be without me. Thoughts like these might be one of those personality quirks that maybe only other INFJs will understand. It’s quite a melancholy thought to have repeatedly, and I don’t think every one has these thoughts flitting in and out of their minds.
But thoughts like these if dwelt on, have the potential to lead you down one of a number of directions –
1. You might decide to hold a bit of yourself back – so that the hurt isn’t too bad,
2. You might decide to avoid loving people at all because eventually it will end.
3. You might decide that what CS Lewis and his wife Joy said is true, “The pain I feel now is the happiness I had before. That’s the deal.”
4. You might perhaps grasp the importance of having Something more – something Other than this life – Someone more than here and now. You might then realise that having this other relationship, this bigger than here and now, is what frees you to love now – it’s what frees you to give more of yourself than you thought you could.
So the challenge this year, this my 40th year (eeeeekkkkk!!) is to have the courage to live the life I’m in now and to love those who are in it – without fearing the loss of them, or pain caused by them.
What I feel I’ve been convicted of in the past few hours, is that in my self preserving actions I’ve limited the power of the Holy Spirit who works in me. What I’ve done is I’ve told God, who has poured His love into me, that I’d rather only let it out in little trickles to those who I believe will deserve it and reciprocate appropriately. What I’ve failed to do, is realise a life well-lived is a life that is spent – love that is stored up and saved for the worthy is wasted and does not resemble the love of God at all. To live and love as my Saviour did is; to love the unlovely, to reach out to those who not only hurt but may also hurt you, to embrace and accept the rejected, to woo the forgotten, to be a companion to the lonely and to proclaim liberty to the captives.
So I’m thinking that 2016, for me, is about having the courage to live and love the life I’m in, rather than waiting impatiently yet, passively for better to begin.
The challenge is to find the courage to live and love now, and stop waiting, perfectionist, for everything to be “right”.