Monthly Archives: October 2011

Cold Front

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It snowed today in Denver.  

This is not the first time I’ve been in Denver when it is snowing. But it is the first time I have lived in Denver when it is snowing. It is also the first time I’ve walked to the grocery store in the snow or walked to the coffee shop in the snow or watched snow swirl between high rises from inside my office.

I have always had a love affair with snow. I almost died once playing in the snow with my family and in the magical moment that I wasn’t hurt I learned (a) that the Holy Spirit can speak salvation into place and (b) the beauty of taking your next breath and having it be clean cold snow-filled air. Today I walked and breathed in more cold fresh snowy air.

At the same time I feel like I’m breathing fresh clean air at work. Sure there are politics and sure there are troubles here and there. But I have found my footing. I believe I am well-liked and well-respected. I have been given a bigger project to work on and am often sought out by my co-workers for my opinion and help. To top it all off these guys are melting my cold heart. I’d blocked my heart off pretty well after my days at the Company-Who-Shall-Remain-Nameless (aka VoldeSYS) and had become pretty non-affectionate and blunt. These guys bring out a side of me that I thought was long-lost to me at work. I laugh a lot. I get hugged and give hugs. I have “inside” jokes and just generally enjoy their company. 

So just as the cold front moved into my new city…the spring thaw came to my heart.

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Unacceptable

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Last night I did some wrestling with God. We argued.

Okay…I argued. God listened.

Come to think of it I’m not sure that is what you call an argument.

The basics of the discussion were me going back and forth between asking God to take the gifts I have and give me more traditionally acceptable ones and then my wavering and saying that in no way would traditional women’s gifting be sufficient for me now that I’ve experienced my own reality of gifts. I didn’t really think God would honor my request but I felt it was worth throwing out there that I was tired of being constantly unacceptable.

I am unacceptable to my parents. I am unacceptable to my siblings. I am unacceptable to some of my former friends. I am unacceptable to the church of my youth and the one of my adulthood. I have been unacceptable to some men. I find lately that I’m unacceptable to a particular breed of Christian and that it isn’t even acceptable to them for me to claim to be a Christian.

Unacceptability is exhausting.

But do you know where I’ve been acceptable? For the most part in my career. So when people accuse me of being a workaholic or trying to hard to gain the acceptance of the people I work with…yeah…your damn right I do that. Because THAT my friend is where I’m acceptable. I’m better, faster, and more successful at a lot of what I do than those around me and I tend to swim in the compliments of the people I work with. (Of course this means that a mistake or disapproval hits me 4 times harder than it does my co-workers.)

As I wrestled with God over that last night it occurred to me that I have also been an acceptable sacrifice or victim to a few disgusting men in my life. I was an acceptable child to manipulate and harm. I have been an acceptable adult to treat with invisibility and without remorse by these same perpetrators..

And with that thought the wrestling took on a whole new intensity. God asking “Is this true? Do you think I really gave you the wrong gifts? Did I make a mistake for which I should repent when it came to your creation?” And me responding “Yeah…maybe so.” (Yup…I’m brave, stupid, and honest in my relationship with God.)

Fortunately God waited me out with kindness until I’d cried all the tears I needed to cry. And when my soul was finally quiet the being that created everything, including me said “I didn’t make a mistake. You are not unacceptable. You are exceedingly acceptable. Those who do not understand you, fear you. Those who do not grasp your gifting as blessed by me, are terrified of your strength. And those who see your fragility wish to take advantage. But I AM…and I AM not flawed. I did not make an error. You are gifted in the way I need you to be to do what I need you to do. I will not take that back and I will not repent.”

Suddenly finding a church (when the idea makes me cringe), making friends (while trying to shift through riffraff), ensuring my calling (when it is so blended into both my professional and creative life), and wishing for something more (meaning, romance, friendship, love, hope)  can all fall away. I find myself to be worthy of acceptance. I accept myself. I take me as I am.

God–I rescind my prayer for the removal of my gifting.

I’ll keep what makes me acceptable to both You and me.

I’ll cry when I hurt and smile the rest of the time. And that will be an acceptable existence to me.

Fragile Courage (originally from a different blog)

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Fragile
adjective–easily broken, shattered, or damaged; delicate; brittle; or frail

Courage
noun–the quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger, pain, etc., without fear, bravery

This week I own my own fragile courage. Normally a word like fragile makes me balk because it implies weakness or damage. And as a survivor and a person who eschews any characterization that even hints at being a victim, words like that make my skin crawl. But not this week…this week I embrace both my fragility and my courage. 

I have no doubt that I have courage. I have survive great loss, deep hurt, and bitter betrayal. And yet it is a rare day that I don’t laugh or smile. I have withstood shame and failure and have retained lightness of heart and the ability to show compassion. 

But I have struggled with my own fragility. I have been on my own for most of my life…even when by definition I was not “alone”…I was truly ALONE. My independence is very hard to marry with my fragility or the ease with which I could be broken. It feels like something I have no control over..because I don’t. 

I’ve noticed that while I have the courage to begin to make friends…I am fragile enough that one person’s hateful statement about something important to me widens one of the cracks in the fragile vessel that carries my heart. 

I can receive accolades and praise one day and then be crushed by feeling discarded the next.

For every attempt I make at building friendships, I am paralyzed by the fear of being rejected. 

Brave….Delicate…Fragile Courage

But I keep learning. I keep listening to those who love me, to the Sophia of God, and to my own intuition. And what I hear is a strong and necessary message. 

Courage without fragility would make me a bully of epic proportions. 

Fragility without courage would make me a terrified, timid, fear-driven mouse who never took a single change and was still shattered.

Instead I am fragility courageous. I am a blend of weak and strong. I am human and divine. I am terrified and unintimidated. I am independent and need reassurance. 

I am Leah.