Saturday, August 2, 2014

Out of my Head

Yesterday, Roy met me for lunch. He parked outside in the little red pickup and sent me a text: Here. And so at 12:30, I straightened my desk, grabbed my lunch, and headed outside to the parking lot in front of 35 Woodfin where we spent the next hour together eating our sandwiches and chatting it up about our daily events.

While we talked, we checked out the people around us. They were all rather interesting characters. One guy had this beard that was split in the middle--his chin totally hair free while on both sides his beard jutted out like horns. One guy had to hold his pants up because if he didn't, they would have fallen to the ground before he turned around once, much less twice. One lady parked in the middle of the parking lot--not in a parking space--and then stood outside to talk to people that she clearly knew. They laughed and talked uproariously as though they were the only ones in the world. And the list goes on. Is anybody normal? 

But then again...what's normal?

But as I was watching them, I couldn't help thinking that if I could spend time talking to them, I would most likely like them. I would find them interesting or funny or some characteristic that would turn them into just a regular person.

Recently, Jace was complaining about himself. He's hitting that age where insecurities roar inside one's head and sometimes he struggles with just simply liking himself. Oh the woes of being a teenager. But in the midst of our conversation, we talked about how there is only one Jace and so, even though he is no different than anybody else and therefore needs to respect others simply because they are on this planet, too, he can also know that he is one of a kind. He has a gift that nobody else has--a unique perspective to share his gift with the world.

I find that fascinating.

My mom is a health nut. She eats and breathes and talks and studies and writes...about health. And that's a beautiful thing--really. She knows a lot. It's her passion. But the thing is, we all have passion about something. We all are born into this world with a gift, a passion, if you will--that will shed light on who God is in a way that nobody else can.

Sometimes, I think, we struggle to find our passion. We struggle to find the good in ourselves, seeing only our dark sides. But just like we all have weaknesses? We all have strengths. We all have qualities that are bright and shining.

Way back in the day when I was in high school, I became good friends with this guy who is as goofy as can be--still is--but he and I connected and started a friendship that lasts to this day. We still talk on occasion but our lives are busy, of course, and so months, and sometimes years, go between our talks. But when we do manage to catch up, our conversations are long and range from the facts of our lives to real talk. Anyway, we touched base about a week ago, and during that conversation he shared with me how he is riddled with insecurities. He struggles with trust issues, with feeling worthy, with liking himself.

And I find that so tragic. Because when I see my friend, I only see the good things. I see how he has created a successful business, starting it from the ground up; I see how he gave another classmate of ours his lucky break by buying him the equipment he needed to start his own filming company; I see how he has singlehandedly sponsored my girls for mission trips; I see how he has taken in his grandkids and is raising them as his own. He loves with his arms open wide. It's his gift.

And yet...he is consumed with self-ridicule.

Sometimes? I think we need to get out of our heads. We need to start by loving ourselves...and then we can share that kindness with those around us.

Loving ourselves doesn't look selfish or even self-centered. It just means we're nice to ourselves inside of our heads. It means that, rather than berating ourselves for being fat, we say things like I'm going to make healthier choices. Rather than thinking Why did I do that? I am so stupid! We say We all make mistakes. I'll be smarter next time around. Rather than thinking I am so awkward. Nobody likes me,  we replace those thoughts with I am okay. I too have gifts to share with the world.

And then, as we replace all of that anxiety with positive affirmations, we find ourselves settling in. We find peace instead of moment at a time. But those moments? They grow until they, at last, become a way of being.

And so, the next time you find yourself sitting in a little red pickup in the parking lot of a county building, you will look around you at all of these weird people walking by. And you will realize that they, too, have gifts. They may look a little strange; in fact, they may be a little strange. But underneath those baggy pants and that double-edged beard is a gift, a passion...that has something to share with us that nobody else can.

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