Tuesday, April 19, 2011

internal processing: complete... for today

I've been chewing on the words of a friend for quite some time now.  We had a really nice few hours together about a month ago and in the midst of relaying a story to me I had one of those "aaa-ha" moments.  I had to think on it more, though, before I could fully know how I felt about it.

That's just the way I process... internally.  I have another friend who processes out loud, and it often freaks me out!  I was trying to apologize for my "what the heck is coming out of your mouth face" that I often give when she starts one of her rants, but ended up with a confused look in response.  I told her I rarely start a conversation of importance without having already finished it in my head.  I don't like to sound like I don't know what I'm talking about, so I don't often chime in on new topics.  I have to have a fairly well formulated opinion that holds some weight before I begin.  I also don't want to offer advice that isn't somewhat sound.  I know I will stick my foot in my mouth and say dumb things from time to time, but I try to minimize those encounters as much as possible; thus, it may take me awhile sometimes to interject.  In order not to seem lofty on this point I realize this type of thinking may often cause other problems such as arrogance on my part and frustration from others who desires a timely response.  I often sit still and process which may seem like I'm daydreaming or uninterested. I also doodle to keep focuses which also feeds the problem, I suppose.

Back to my friend...

She was telling me about a really rough year of her life where one of her best friends underwent treatment for cancer.  She went on to share the heart as a friend who "stepped up to the plate" and took on so much of her friend's daily routine for gal's family.  She was so worn out from all that it took to care for her own family and the friends that she needed to recover and deal with the pain and stress she shared with that friend.  We talked more about the people we do life with who could step into our shoes at a moments notice.

But then the conversation took a turn when she told me of another friend who called her on the way to the hospital for "more testing" as they thought she could have cancer.  She told me how she set the phone down and wondered if she could do it again...

The waterworks started at that point because I saw myself as that person going from crisis to crisis and wondering about those around me who are asking themselves if they can take anymore for me?

After another email from that same friend about a week later and a whole lot more thought on my part this is what I got...

I don't live 24-7 in crisis.  There are seasons; albeit more than most, there still are seasons.  The first problems is that I tend to take on too much in those calm seasons to make up for my "slacking" during the crazy ones which is a whole different problem.  I'm better in crisis mode.  I may have forgotten how to live in the normal or maybe I just rally against it so I add until I've created a new crisis.  In my defense, I'm often asked to take on too much because there are certain things that living my life lends me.  One is insight into living life on one's knees,  being in a pool of my own tears knowing that if I don't hold on to the hand outstretched to me I won't get up,  life and Death,  sickness,  and living life under pressure...  Some are others expectations and some are self- induced.

The most important insight I've gleaned from that conversation came to me this morning.  I don't always feel I need to be the one who meets every need (even though my sister would disagree).  There are times when a baby is born that I don't deliver a meal or stop by the hospital, but then there are times where I feel compelled.  This desire is not limited to just a small group of people such as our "gospel group" (small group) or family, but many people who are in my life whether they are across the country or next door.  There are times that I am compelled to do something.  It's simply about hearing the voice of the Lord and acting.  It's not acting out of guilt or obligation, but being closer to the one who fills my cup.  Doing only what He calls me to  is most likely the same thing that empties and restores me at the same time.  It may be pouring out, but operating within my talents and passions energizes me at the same time.

Others are like this too.  There are times when they will be compelled to answer our need, but there will be other times when they are not.  It's not my responsibility to spread out my needs to not overwhelm, but to be honest and let God decide who and what.  Our lives will continue to change if we're where we need to be.  We will always be adding to the body and sending others out from among us.  There will be new people who step in and "old friends" who circle back around.  It's my job to not hold others to unrealistic expectations and play God with "who should be here with me."  I've recently gotten over my old ideal that we should buck up and do it alone mentality.  We've been trying to open up and be honest.  It's been painful as some have answered back in utter shock and dismay, but taking the make-up off can be scary, right girls?!!  I may not be the person they wanted me to be, but maybe they'll see the person God is making me to be instead.  I'm one step closer to putting myself out there expecting to get hurt, getting hurt and doing it all over again.  Trying to figure out what it looks like to be open and bare... vulnerable... on purpose.


  1. Again, I love your honesty. Can't wait to see what God does in your life. You sound like an introvert (internal processor) like me, so I definitely "get" the conversations in the head thing. It can be hard for an introvert putting it all out there. God bless your family.


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