Recently God has been speaking to me about sharing in a more transparent casual way with you all at Holes to Whole. He is urging me to write and publish things more often, spending less time on the finished product while immersing myself into sharing authentically and connecting with the hearts of readers. Basically enjoying and honoring the writing process rather than focusing heavily on the end result. When I read pieces like that by other authors, a fire and hunger inside me come alive creating a deep connection with God, myself and the author.
This is something that God has been showing me very clearly over the past several weeks. Now He is challenging me to practice it here with all of you. Of course it won’t be perfect and I know it’s not for everyone, nor am I saying that what is right for me is right for others. I promise you that I will not pretend to know what someone else needs to do. I barely know what is working for me these days, so believe me when I say, that what I share is my own experience, strength and hope. Nothing more. Nothing less. My pray is that it speaks to someone.
The other thing that I have realized is just how much I need all of YOU! Writing is spiritual, growing and healing for me. Writing allows me to process my experiences and keeps my honest. Writing is necessary for me to be healthy and for goodness sake, I totally need to hear and read everything that I write. So as much as I write for you all, my dear Holes to Whole Community, I also write for myself because I desperately need it.
The Actor and his Script
I don’t have any experience acting. Come to think about it, I don’t think I ever even had a speaking part in any of my elementary school’s class plays. Oh well, I can accept that as most of the arts really aren’t my thing. But if you count being part of the chorus where my monotone voice could be drowned out, then yes, I was very much involved in the productions. 🙂
Anyways, I constantly felt annoyed at the actors during rehearsals for not knowing their lines. Seriously, how hard could it be to memorize the lines and repeat them back when you were supposed to. Simple, cut and dry, right? Easy for me to say, a perfectionists who remembers things with ease and hasn’t ever had a speaking part in a production. It’s so interesting to me how I can be so critical of people for things that I have absolutely no experience with, I have no clue what they are going through.
Alas, that is my very issue. My human selfishness wants things my way and my pride and ego assure me that my way is the best way. My head takes a stroll (usually more like a sprint) down planning lane and within a short time, I believe that I have the best plan anyone could ever imagine and if things follow my script, everything would be fantastic.
But the problem with scripts is that they are generally written by one or a few people and then those people need to corral all the others into learning their parts and sticking to their roles. The script writers become the enforcers, which is exhausting and typically not a very popular position among their actors. The writers often get frustrated because the actors are slacking off and the actors get rebellious because of the control and domination they feel by the writers. It’s the perfect recipe for a storm and many empty seats in the theater.
The Pharmacist and his Script
I have always wondered what the big deal is with pharmacists and asking questions when you pick up your medication. When my doctor prescribes a med to me, she explains all about it in the office. I go to the pharmacy to pick it up and there are very specific and clear direction written in big bold letters on the medicine box or bottle. Then of course there are the handy dandy pamphlets inside the bag with much more information on the medicine that you cared to know. And still in the midst of all this I am asked if I have any questions and even made to sign off stating that I declined counseling by the pharmacist. The whole process is redundant and a bit exhausting to me!
Now please hear me, I know why all of these practices are in place and I believe they have value. Both of my parents have worked in the medical field for a long time, so I get it. My point is that the directions on prescriptions are typically very detailed, specific and to the point. It is hard to screw them up! That’s why they are so effective because there is no room for interpretation, the directions are cut and dry and you know exactly what to do.
Me and my Scripts
I am a script kind of girl. By nature, I am a rule follower and I like math because there is one correct answer. I like to read books on parenting, marriage, health, faith and recovery and follow the suggests made by the authors. I love the security of knowing that if I take my medication according to the directions, it will have the desired effect. I naturally view script writers as authorities and experts. I enjoy the safety and structure that scripts bring to my life. Everything feels like it’s laid out for me and all I have to do is follow it. I can operate on auto-pilot to some extent, which feels extremely nice as my brain doesn’t get many breaks and jumps at the chance for them. Everything is laid out for me and I just follow the path, easy!
Wrong! Scripts work in theater productions and in treating ailments because they are pretty controlled situations. Life is not! Life is fluid and changing all the time. Life is meant to be lived moment to moment, not from a predefined script that tells us what will happen and what to say and do when it does. That makes us robots or puppets instead of people. That makes us completely self-reliant with no need for faith in anyone or anything other than ourselves and our abilities. That makes life nothing more than going through the motions. That kind of life actually robs us from truly living. We will be robbed of the gifts of thought and choice that God has blessed us with. We will be shadows of who we were created to be.
Over the past few years God has felt that it is time for me to become aware of the many scripts that have run my life. The realizations have been so humbling as I continue to see the thoughts, attitudes, beliefs, lies, people, situations, motives and fears that have ruled my life for quite some time, often without me even knowing it. I was told a long time ago that Denial is not just a river in Egypt 🙂 OK, comic relief is over.
You see, it worked for me to live my life by predefined scripts until they didn’t work anymore. They served very real functions in my life and I needed them, or so I thought, to survive and thrive. What I didn’t know was that by living my life by the strings of the puppet master, I was simply a shell of who I really was. I was shackled to others and myself in a very small life, there was no thriving or freedom in this production.
The problem is that my scripts became ingrained in me and despite learning of the pain and dysfunction they have caused in my life, it is hard work to discard and replace them. They certainly don’t go down without a fight. Why? Because they were my truth for so long. It’s not easy to walk away from things that has kept you company for decades. Even though they were destructive friends, they got an “A” in the loyalty department. If I let the scripts go, how would I live, how would I know what to do? How would I make decisions if I didn’t have the lines already written in my head telling me what to do? And finally the biggest and scariest question of all, who would I become?
Even though I didn’t like who I was, I still knew how to play that part. It was familiar and I knew what I was going to get from it. I often didn’t like it, but it was predictable and there was safety in that. Now God was asking me to give that up blindly? It felt like a tall, risky order. It still does sometimes.
So what happened? When did the surrender come?
“When the pain of staying where I was became greater than the fear of what the future would hold.”
You see, my scripts are all about control, controlling myself, controlling others, controlling situations. Why control? Because I am scared. Life scares me silly and control was an early tool that I learned to make this life a little less frightening. I was born ultra-sensitive and it seems that life hits me harder than the average Joe. Of course I didn’t know this when I was younger, I just knew that I often felt out of place and things that other people took in stride seemed to hit me like a ton of bricks. I used to think I was “too much”, now I know I am extra blessed. Extra blessed to feel and connect and live in this crazy wonderful excruciating world. Extra blessed to notice things that other people don’t. Extra blessed to deeply experience God, others and myself with great intimacy.
As I sit here, I mentally go through the scripts that I memorized and acted out over the years. The quiet daughter who got good grades and didn’t make too many waves. The friend who blindly followed the crowd without objection or opinion. The adapting and accepting wife who played it like everything was OK when it wasn’t. As the shows ran longer, the scripts got louder and became more a part of me until eventually their words were all I heard. I turned my back on myself. I abandoned the little girl who God created and grew into someone unrecognizable.
In the song “Let it Happen” by United Pursuit, Andrea Marie sings these beautiful words,
“Full of life now
Full of passion
That’s how He made you
Just let it happen
He calls each one of us by our names to come away
And He whispers to your heart to
Let it go
And be alive.
Take me back
Back to the beginning
When I was young
Running through the field with You.”
Today that is my battle cry. Please join me ladies. Join me in coming out of denial and challenging the scripts that we live by. Join me by gathering your courage and dismantling the garbage in our heads, hearts and lives. Join me in traveling back to our true selves, the little girls we were before we got lost. Join me by lifting up ourselves and other women in solidarity, journeying together arm in arm through this crazy wonderful excruciating life.