Never has a truer statement been tweeted. Being ridiculously introspective, I know myself better than most. I can easily list my strengths and my weaknesses – providing multiple examples to illustrate each point. I am obsessively self aware. I always have been.
While many people need a bit of probing to start examining their lives, I need a ton of discipline to step away from the self analysis for even a few minutes. This week’s leg of the 7th Year e-journey included plotting out what we thought of ourselves at various stages of our life. Since I mentally have a running tally of these things, it was relatively painless to jot down my perspectives on paper.
Yes, I am kinda strange like that, and I fully recognize that this shouldn’t be the norm. For most people, revisiting their perceptions of themselves will be a difficult, but oddly rewarding experience. For me, it’s an every day consideration. It’s just how my brain functions.
Wanted: actress to play complex character.
Since you don’t have the pleasure of being inside of my head, I’ll attempt to describe how a casting call director might explain my character to an actress trying out for the role:
”You’re twenty three years old, going on forty-five, but with an inner-child around the age of twelve. You carry yourself with strength and self assurance- but enough insecurity to be noticeably reluctant. You stand with a bit of a slouch, likely with your hands in your pocket. Unless you are speaking. If you are discussing anything, you should perk up with animated hand motions and strange facial expressions. Your voice is either super serious, obviously sarcastic, or extremely expressive depending on how passionate your are about the subject at hand.
And, you are passionate. About a lot of things. Your interests are eclectic – so prepare to go from seemingly indifferent to convincingly enthusiastic in 2.2 seconds. You’re quirky, witty, awkward like that. You love people, but not in the gushy sort of way. You value them. You see their potential, and become frustrated when they compromise for anything less. Despite popular belief, you secretly cherish proximity to your friends. You remember all their stories, and think about them even in their absence.
You hate arbitrariness, and love the pursuit of knowledge, wisdom, and transformation. You’re a bit of a rebellious spirit, but not for the sake of rebellion. You go against the grain for the sake of victory, for the sake of progress. You want to excel, but you are afraid of stepping out. Afraid of stepping on someone’s toes, or offending those you love.
You’re confident in who you are, and your abilities. Yet, you sometimes wonder if you are crazy. You have a lot of healing wounds, and struggle to trust things at face value. Consequently, you are always questioning your perception of reality. And, you are never satisfied with the status quo. You hate being labeled and misunderstood. People have described you “as an onion with explosives inside”- meaning you are incredibly complex, always surprising, and deeper than most people know.
Oh yeah, and the only thing holding you together most days is a deep connect with God. You try to live your life as if you were having an active conversation with Jesus at every moment. You fail occasionally, but you’re resilient. So keep your head high, and always aim to move forward. Got it? Okay, go.”
I would actually be a horrible casting director. If my story ever becomes a screenplay, remind me to hire a team of people who understand my character and can articulate how to be me, succinctly. ha!
Letting go of my character …
After seeing a screening of Blue Like Jazz this week (review coming soon), I began contemplating how difficult it would be to make my life into a movie. I don’t know about you, but I am pretty attached to my character. I like being the one to define my identity. I’m not sure that I would be willing to turn my life over to a team of directors and filmmakers. I know who I am, so I should be the one to decide how I portrayed, right?
Too bad life doesn’t work like that. I don’t have the liberty to hold anything- not even my own story or character- with a clenched fist.
“A clenched fist displays the delusion of ownership. An open hand reveals the realities of stewardship.”- Alicia Britt Chole, The 7th Year, Week 4.
It’s not my story to tell. It’s His. I don’t have ownership over anything, not even my own life. I’m simply a steward of the gifts, experiences, personality, and passions that God has so graciously given me.
For me, this means letting go of even my sense of self awareness. I continually need to remind myself that I don’t even know myself as well as God knows me. After all, He created me. He’s guiding me. He’s transforming me. How can my self knowledge even compare to His knowledge of my character?
Time to simply be the clay.
“And yet, O LORD, you are our Father.
We are the clay, and you are the potter.
We all are formed by your hand.” – Isaiah 68:4 (NLT)
Over the last year, God has been teaching me to allow him to be both my creator and my defender. It is the Lord that forms my character, and it is the Lord who will defend it. It’s God who defines me. He cast me for this role, He formed my character, and He is writing my story. I need to loosen my grip on my life, and allow God to do His thing…
And, quite frankly, I need to become less concerned with my awareness of myself, and become more concerned with my awareness of His presence my life.
This post is a part of a weekly series reflecting upon by experience with the 7th Year e-journey. Check back every Weds — eh, mostly Weds unless I’m super sick like this week — for a new post. Check out this post for more information.