Archive for April, 2011

April 25, 2011

Normalizing Normal

‘Normalize those awkward feelings that are about normal things’   That’s what I’ve been told to do. You must know by now that I am a little bit feisty and somewhat argumentative. And holy cow there is a lot of (really great!) stuff going on. But well, I’m not used to really great. And as a matter of fact, I am not used to normal. And so, there is some wrestling going on over here as I try to calm my nerves and be at peace with normal. Also going on over here, these 3 stories on replay:

A few months ago, I had a little conversation with Nancy that went something like this:
Nancy: I love you.
Me: Why?
Nancy: Because you’re special.
Me: Aww, I bet you say that to all the girls you take to the ER
Nancy: You’re especially special. He told me so.
And for some reason I just stopped arguing and received it.  She’s pretty convincing I guess, so that’s good.

Also a few months ago at the end of Kairos, I was standing at the back amidst a crowd of peeps waiting to talk to Bob Hamp, after a minute or so I decided to give up and head out. And then. He grabbed my arm right above the elbow and said “Hold on. Don’t move.” And. I. Froze. And internally all kinds of alarms went off. Because, you guys- Nothing good has ever happened when a guy grabbed me and said don’t move. But this time. He just looked me in the eye, all tall and Gandalf-y and said nice, encouraging things. And I breathed a giant sigh of relief that flipped a little switch in me. And now, I freak out a little bit less when men talk to me. Well, I don’t run at least. So that’s good.

Annnd, a few weeks ago, I did a photo session with One of My Favorite Families.
And an extremely large and very threatening, maybe even malicious butterfly flew at me. And I kinda freaked out. I mean, I ducked and maybe squealed. At a butterfly.

And that’s what I feel like I’m doing now. There is actually nothing threatening or malicious. This (really great!) stuff is like a butterfly.

And so I’m working on receiving Love, and not being terrified of men, or butterflies.

::deep breath big sigh::

To be continued…

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April 15, 2011

Writing Anyway

This writing thing, much like photography has become a have-to for me.  Some days words are my air and writing is my breath.  And so I write.  And then I struggle because I feel so absolutely and completely unqualified to be writing.  Something in me says “Put it out there. Contribute.  Share.” And then something, someone, says “Haha.”

Perfectionism is a sneaky devil, a brand new enemy for me.  I’ve only recently encountered the extreme displeasure of worrying about measuring up to my own expectations.  “This piece is not half as good as the last thing you wrote.” Oh and “Why even put more junk out on the internet when there are so many people, wiser, braver, more articulate, more mature, more educated, more spiritual than you.” And “Nothing you’re saying is new.  Your words are of no consequence; you’re wasting your time and everyone else’s”.  I wrestle against these thoughts, worry about calling them lies for fear that they might be true.

And I think maybe it is even more sneaky and evil than I originally thought.  It’s not just a ploy to make me question myself and feel like crap.  It’s a scheme against a gift that God has given me that could be used to help people understand more about His Love.  Because the thing is, God has been surrounding me with all kinds of amazing people.  He has connected me with some incredible new friends and some outstanding teachers.  And I think maybe in doing this He is pushing me to grow, stretching me.  Sure, stretching can be uncomfortable.  But this sneaky liar keeps telling me that the discomfort I feel is my not-good-enough-ness.  What a jerk right?  Indeed.

I was asking Jesus about this the other day, and as He does, He answered my question with a question.  I asked, “Is this you?  Should I just let go of this writing thing until I’m done with school, know more scripture, until I’m more mature and insightful and qualified?  Am I a fool for even trying to contribute?”  He replied “Do any of those words sound like mine?  Have I ever mocked you?  Would I scold you for stretching and growing in a gift I gave you?  Does that sound like me?”  Oh, um, well, no, I guess not.

Certainly, I want to grow in this gift.  And sure, stretching hurts a little sometimes.  And yes, there are plenty of other voices out there that are more creative, enlightened, and knowledgeable.  But that is no excuse for me to quit.  So I keep putting this stuff out there and wrestling with the jerk that tells me my viewpoint is not unique, my grammar is not perfect, my words carry no insight and my story is of no value.  And now, some days I don’t even wrestle with him, I just tell him to go away.  I string these letters together and toss them out into the world, catch my breath and laugh right back.

And a little note to all the kind souls who been have so graciously encouraging me~ It means more than I can say that you would take the time to read my words and give me some of your own.  My heart is happier and my spirit brighter for the Love you’ve shown me in big and small ways.  It’s not even just the words you’ve given me, (though no doubt, I do love words the most), it’s the time, the smiles, pats on the back and the glimmers of affirmation I catch in your eyes.  In all kinds of ways, you’ve given me peace, joy and strength and I am ever so grateful.    

Love, love.

April 12, 2011

Not Making it Ok

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I am seriously going to do my best not to spew exclamation points all over this page, but. You Guys!!!!!!  Guess what. Free-er.  Because I just noticed something, I have tototally stopped saying “it’s ok” when I’m talking to people about my story and they look at me with little bits of sadness and sympathy and say “I’m sorry”.  I just noticed last night.  I had this sweet conversation with a new friend, she shared some of her story, I shared some of mine and when she said “I’m sorry” and I just said "thanks" and we moved on.  And it. Was. So. Cool. 

This little (big? neverending?) process I’m in feels so good.  This leaning and trusting feels so good.  This allowing myself some space and grace feels… amazing (!!!!!!!!)

Fancy Nancy told a little story at Pink Impact (!!!!!!) about sitting in her counselors office and telling him it was ok when he cried through stories of her childhood.  And, ha, that is exactly what I did with her, well with lots of people really.  Ask me about my childhood, my marriage, my divorce and I will give you a straight up answer.  I will be honest and real with you about how rough it was.  And then I will try to make it ok.  Well I used to.  But I’m done with that, which kind of feels awesome (!!!!!!!)

I got the privilege of getting to serve at a Freedom training a couple of weeks ago and getting to hear Alan Smith teach.  And then we did a little (big? awesome?) exercise.  And you guys- I cried.  It was super.  I’m terrible at crying.  Really, it’s not my thing.  It’s reeeeally hard for me to do.  But this cry did not swallow me up or crush me.  It was a releasing kind of cry, a feeling hurt and letting it go kind of cry.  And it wasn’t even awful, it was kind of nice actually, helpful for sure. 

Finding grace for me is most probably the hardest thing for me to do.  I am a “get over it and move on” kinda girl.  I am so, so tough on me, but being tough on me is not helpful and the perfectionism that sneaks in when I let it is quite honestly so much more than annoying. 

And so, I am happy with not making things ok, for me or anyone else.  It is not my job to make my past ok.  Phew (!!!!!!!!)  I don’t even know how to explain how much weight has been lifted off (and now I’m crying again). 

Goodness.  I love grace. 

Sinking in an ocean of it,
Love, love,
Amber

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