I’m working on a project right now; by working I mean questioning every single outline and index card wondering what on earth I was thinking. Being normal sounds less exhausting and sometimes I wish my calling looked like punching a clock and measuring growth on charts. But, I work with people and every single invisible chart changes on a daily basis. Being human we take large strides forward and larger steps backwards, most of the time in a direction that seems counterproductive. Yesterday I was convinced that everything I’ve ever typed was the written equivalent of dung. We do that, don’t we, second-guess everything?
Last week I bled in a vulnerable blog post and talked about outsmarting abuse. I wrote about how I learned to be pleasing from an early age because of fear. But it wasn’t being “pleasing” it was being invisible. I eventually had to learn to be the visible version of myself. The safer I felt the more I knew I could act up on occasion and be real. Love would let me be an utter mess. I really was a sweet natured kid, but I had just enough sass in me to be entertaining.
In many ways I was a mask-wearing woman in the making wondering how to make peace with the broken things inside of me. I wanted what we all want: to be loved just because. I knew God wanted to use me, but I thought it would be when I got my junk together. But, He started using me way before then. Maybe you feel like your past disqualifies you or that your present, everyday life is too much of a mess to make you useful, but it’s the furthest thing from the truth. We want to highlight the pretty stories of our life, not display the train-wreck moments that we would rather forget.
Even as a writer struggling to find my voice at the beginning of this wild ride I was trying to break free and make peace with my constantly changing roles as a woman. Reading through a poorly written novel that I wrote years ago I found this introduction about a girl trying to find herself:
“It comes to me gently like rain tapping on a widow pane, this thought that I harbored deep inside couldn’t just be mere coincidence. It was my truth, one that I would wrestle with only to lose. Repeatedly. My identity was taken from many things, most of which had nothing to do with me really. I was whoever the person in front of me needed me to be, a puppet on a string. A prisoner. I was a silver spoon polished to the point where someone could see their reflection in my eyes, but never really see me. Lost in an era where I didn’t fit in, I flailed until I found the girl I wanted to be. A becoming of sorts, my sporadic starts and stops, but eventually my fists relaxed and my heart followed suit. Even a caged bird still sings. Perhaps it’s like two sides of a coin, like day and night. You blend the two and find the mixture creates your story, the one that you want to tell and the one that you don’t. I swallow hard because I want to tell you both.
Liza said I was “arm candy” and nothing else. Her words stung as I tried not to believe her. I found it odd that someone so pretty could say such ugly things. Hair as blonde as it could be, green eyes, and long legs, everyone hated her or wanted to be her. But if her words matched her face, she would be painful to look at.”
Maybe my personal freedom happened on paper first. It doesn’t matter really which happened first, all that matters is that I am walking in freedom on a daily basis instead of jumping through hoops like a show dog. Doing all the hard work to be free is worth it. Taking hurtful words and refusing to believe them, that is what freedom looks like. Freedom looks like telling both sides of the story, the pretty version and the jacked up one. The harder you seek after the God of freedom the more you find a power strong enough to break invisible chains and puppet strings.