What did Brendan tell me? Oh yeah: “Kim, I feel like you’re searching”

*Just a quick note: I wrote this from my cell phone late at night (or, early in the morning) before this past Wednesday. I spent the day with this awesome German I know all day yesterday, so I did not get a chance to type it and post it. But, here it is, unedited and in honesty.  

Brendan texted me tonight, from Waynesburg. Told me about a book he feels I should read. He said, “Kim, I feel like you’re searching.”

  
I feel like I am, too. 

So here is how it is. Here is how I come to be typing– texting, really– forming a blog entry from my phone because I was dumb enough to leave my macbook upstairs, and it’s past midnight: my entire family’s sleeping.

Here is how it is: how I am sitting here sniffling and experiencing mild heartburn, feeling like a complete fool with a temperature.

Here is how it is. How I have come to abruptly halting my reading process and doing this, setting down (temporarily) Don Miller’s Searching for God Knows What.

Miller writes: “…I felt something missing inside myself, some bit of something that made me feel special or important or valued. This thing missing inside me… is something God would go to great length to explain in His Bible. …By trying to find an identity…

Don Miller also wrote Blue Like Jazz, also a good read

I was displaying some of the very ideas God would speak of in Scripture, some of the ideas about being separated from a relationship that gave me meaning, and now looking for a kind of endorsement from a jury of my peers” (Miller 42).

Isn’t that exactly what I have been doing since June, scrabbling frantically around to improve myself, to impress others or receive their attention, simply to feel accepted? To find an identity.

Here I was so worried about making the right impression at Eastman or at work or even on my adventure/excursion that I was completely and totally blind to the fact that I’m obsessed with my image or what people think. Haven’t I trusted God before and never had to worry about it at all? Hadn’t I felt a sense of peace, finally, and an invasive, infectious happiness, a sunshine?

I’ve been trying to find God again, and I think my dip into Spiritualist Central helped concrete my own beliefs and outlooks. It didn’t shake them as much as it could have.

It served to remind me that, without God once again as a fully recognized presence and driving force in my life, my worst and most horrifying fears will be realized and I will fail. God has been with me every step of the way thus far. I know He won’t “leave” me, but I am scared of the consequences. Scared of the thought of evangelism, of losing sight of things, and dumbly, of knowing God’s love as it was meant to be felt. But mostly I’m just ashamed.

I know as a Christian (is that what I am?) I would feel the need to reach others– and to be honest I feel as though that impulse has been with me my whole life. But I’m not good enough to do it, I’ve tried before, when my faith was really strong. Or I thought it was. Now I fall back under the excuse, I’m too flawed, even though I know that’s stupid. But time and again I’ve kind of tried and definitely failed to serve God because I didn’t want to give it everything and fall short, again.

I think I’d want to share news of God’s love. Of an nonjudgmental, unconditional, unrelenting love. I just doubt I’d be a decent spokesperson. Plus it doesn’t help that it feels like, as soon as you tag “Christianity,” all anyone ever seems to see is piety, when (at least in my case) they couldn’t be farther from the truth.

So… how do I go from being “in control” of my own actions to handing myself over to God?

The search is far from over, but I’ve found something at least. Here is how it is.

Pathetic, brimming with shame, and flawed, I figure it’s about time I stop moping around scared and wimpy and be an instrument for God to use. Or, I guess it’s more fitting… a voice for his love.

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Worrying away: the nonverbal power struggle between me, myself, and God

Self v. self. God's just chillin' somewhere waiting for me to figure it out, I guess

I’m a scaredy-cat. This is just how it is. I’m scared to admit my faith, scared to admit that I might (le gasp) not really be in charge of my existence, scared to think that the control I come to rely on so heavily might be merely a perception. Not real.

Basically I’m scared to admit that I’m a flawed human being that’s not in charge of my life.

This is the biggest thing for me to admit. It’s taken me quite a while to arrive at the admission, too: I’m a control freak. Not because I have a compulsion to lead the way: not at all. On the contrary, I simply don’t want to be seen as weak. I’ve grown up in an atmosphere of strong, confident, vital women. The core people in my life are primarily female, and are all incontrovertably strong in their own way.

I’ve been told, however, that I take after my grandmother, my mother’s mother. We both have the blond hair, love of food (she reins hers in, I don’t), and deeply seated need for peace. She suffered through two divorces and raised three children single-handedly while working full time in order to obtain her calm, her center of balance. So as much as she hated it, she stood her ground for her children. She refused to be run over by others. Now she’s happy.

Me? I’d just as soon give up than fight, but in addition to that Libra-esque desire for balance, I seem to have inherited the moral compass and backbone from my mother. A ruthless sense of justice and equality was bred into my blood; so I’m torn in two. While one half of my heart wants to lay down the sword (or whatever) and stop fighting, the other half will claim fairness. Will demand it, if it’s not given right away.

What to do when two warring halves of myself collide with the idea that I should give my life to God? My selfless and giving nature says, go for it. Just do it, and see where he will take you. You’ve already gotten so far, imagine how much you could grow with a little spoonful of faith. Or more.

The demanding and aggressive section of my brain would like to know what happens when God leaves me again. When he decides to test me again– which I’m positive will happen– and I’m left alone in the mental and emotional darkness that seems to fall on me whenever the glow near my heart fades and takes God’s presence with it. What then? Am I left to resume control until he takes charge again? Or should I lay down arms and be stampeded by whatever until God chooses to remember me once more?

The warrior and the peacemaker in me can’t decide.

Simple peace

I sit in the woods right now. By the time I copy and paste this online I won’t be anymore, but as of this very second, 7:24 pm, I am sitting on Faerie Rock in the woods and writing.

I’ve wanted to do this for such a long time. Have a laptop and go into my favorite place to write.

When I’ve thought of doing that, I’d always picture myself typing out some novel, putting some spectacular story into motion. Instead I sit slouched here pondering my own sad story and craving to know how the forest always holds what I need.

A few years ago, I needed a playplace to live out my imagination. I needed a fantasyland for a warrior, a setting for a wandering heroine, or a hideout from pirates. A few months ago, a good friend and I needed winding beauty and distractions to keep us from making a silly mistake that we made anyway. A few weeks ago, I stood just over there and needed silence, smothering silence to blight the sounds of breathless, passionless, horribly chemistry-less kisses. This land has given me all that.

And if lore and conscience hold I shouldn’t blame the earth for the mistakes of her children. (But between you and me, I frigging hope she disowned this particular child. I’m not the clingy sort, I’m just sad.) So I’ll forego the blame, skip over the empty betrayed emotion that surfaces whenever I consider that night, the night the forest blissfully forgot for me. Instead, I remember that she gives me all I need, even when I don’t know what that is.

Apparently today, I just need solace. I need forgiveness for misusing this stunning place of my childhood. Just because this place is so, so special won’t mean that any boy I bring to see it is or ever will be. I need the trees to come alive in Tolkien fashion and tell me themselves that they don’t hate me for misunderstanding.

This raw undiluted place knows my beginnings. I feel as if it know of my darkest mistakes and half-feigned innocence but chooses to love the innocence more. Allows me for just a little while to become part of the world humanity once belonged to.

That little while is enough to hold me until the next time I come. The vivid greens, the ripe mud and leaves and debris, pounded into one thick ground. The soft trickle of the stream you can hear tinkling at you if you just listen hard enough. The constant vocal constructions of the birds and wildlife that are too real to be called music. Yeah. The little grey squirrel that’s coming to check me out as we speak. It’s enough to tide me over until I see it again. I can pull it up in my mind crystal-clear but it doesn’t compare.

It really does let you become part of it for a while, too. The little rock-grey rodent that just leapt from tree to tree on my right was totally chill with me being here: or at least she didn’t really give a crap enough to be subtle about her traveling plans to the bank-side. It’s a kind of acceptance that you have to just sit and be still for; a kind of peace that hits you quietly but keeps you quiet, and feeling as if you’re part of something. It’s something I’ll never willingly give up. It doesn’t matter how long it takes me to come visit this place, it always seems to be just as pleased to have me, bumbling about or writing away.

Anyway, the mosquitoes are out in full force now and there is some stench that makes me feel that something’s died nearby. Oh, hey, new scent: some skunk doesn’t accept me as much as that squirrel seemed to. Cute.

So I’m off, out of the forest. Off my rock I’d christened Faerie Rock when I was probably no older than three, wandering in here with my dad or grandpa. Twelve or fifty bug bites later, and I’m out of the woods and into the real world yet again. I wouldn’t pass up this haven for anything.