I am currently hyper aware of my surroundings as I am writing this seemingly personal post in a very public environment. But then again, blogging is hyper public. So here I am, writing something that typically has been saved for the middle pages of my journal, the inner workings of my heart and mind, and just something that I had been grappling with for a few weeks now.
I consider myself to be many things: a writer, a musician, a foodie, some kind of whiz in the kitchen, somewhat intellectual and knowledgeable about certain things. Those are typically things that I reserve for my Twitter bio. I save the “professional” stuff for my “professional self”. This is the stuff that I used to sell myself on.
I don’t usually sell myself on the fact that I am sensitive. That I am a romantic but also in some ways a realist, that I have a wild range of emotions and that I seem to feel things on a whole other level. That I fall in love with ideas and not so much people, and when I fall in love with people, the ideas start to get in the way.
Society would look at a person like me and call me ‘unstable’, ‘too emotionally invested’, and ‘overly sensitive’ — all phrases that have been used at some point by some person to describe me. While I used to take offense to it (hence the ‘overly sensitive’), I have since come to the realization that this is just who I am. And there is no point hiding it.
I have begun to see relationships – romantic or otherwise – in a completely new way than I had before. As mentioned above, I have always been fascinated with the ideas of relationships – perfect friendships, perfect romances, and how I was supposed to look in those situations.
I had invested myself very heavily into the idea that everything was up to me. That I had to be held entirely responsible for every aspect of a relationship, which included its failure. And for years I had held myself to that high standard of ‘if this falls apart, then it’s because you are a bad friend/bad girlfriend’. I have always been hard on myself, but in retrospect, I don’t know if I can say that I have ever been this hard on myself.
This, I feel, goes hand in hand with being ‘too emotionally invested’. I have constantly had this feeling of attachment and ensuring that I stay relevant in that attachment. But it wasn’t until two nights ago, when I was unable to sleep the entire night, that I had this realization that I had been seeking all the wrong things.
The other night was horrible in two ways. The first of which is that my back was physically preventing me from sleeping and even lying down. I had resorted to pacing and stretching in hopes that I would eventually exhaust myself, but to no avail. This probably led to the second thing, which was that I was just depressed that entire night. I wondered if I could cry myself to sleep the way I had done for many nights through my life, but that wasn’t working either. I felt like I did exhaust myself to some degree, but not enough to the point where I was able to close my eyes and just let go.
However, the night wasn’t as horrible as I thought. During this physical and mental weariness, I had become so fascinated with this idea of attachment and the seeking of something – or someone – greater.
Of the romantic relationships that I have had in the past, I always considered myself to be seeking the right things – someone who knows Christ in some way. And admittedly I had experienced a continuum of this, from very Catholic to very Atheist. I thought that once I was with someone of the faith, that all of my worries would be no more and that we would just be that vision of perfection that I had so desperately wanted for myself.
There was just one problem: God wasn’t at the center, He was just on the sidelines. He was a nice to have. He was a plus or bonus.
It was here that I realized my journey’s focus was misguided. For me to encounter Christ in others, I needed to first encounter Christ for myself and on my own. Before that happens for me, I will be running in circles, not really understanding what I was trying to succeed in.
I’m not saying that prior to this that I had looked at everyone and ignored their image in Christ. But I didn’t truly engage with that part of any person that I had become acquainted with, and to be even more honest, I didn’t believe that such a thing existed for a while.
I come before you today to note that I still don’t have this thing covered, but I’m getting there. It has recently affected the way that I begin to relate to people and pursue them.
So how does this relate to all the things that I don’t sell myself on from before? I also come before you today to shamelessly admit that I will always be like that, and this in turn affects how I perceive relationships. And whether you identify or not, remember that your pursuit should always be of something greater. Because you deserve greatness. Above all else, God’s love for each of us is one of the greatest gifts that anyone has ever given.
As Lent has begun, I have been constantly reflecting on the Passion of Christ and how such an incredible act was done for so many people who didn’t exist yet. And yet, He chose to suffer as a human so that He too could feel the pain that we suffer from day-to-day. He calls on us to cast our anxiety on Him, because He cares for us (1 Peter 5:7).
Your life is a gift. YOU are a gift. Christ paid the ultimate sacrifice for us so that we could enjoy these gifts. Pursue the things that are great and that are of Him, and I promise that He will not let you down.