POD #16: Beyond ‘the provisional life’
As I look at the list of “organizations” I’m involved with I do think there are times that I am just “doing duty.” It is never a constant feeling in any place, just a passing moment as my expectations are left unmet in a given moment. I usually find fulfillment in the relationships and activities that I am involved with regularly.
I am a pretty open person who says what I think, and if I feel misunderstood will advocate to be understood, except when I’m not. I recently engaged in counseling for a short time as I came upon the anniversary of my mother’s death. As I shared with my counselor, he asked the question “But who takes care of you? Who do you unload things on?” My response was honest and simple, “That’s why I’m here in counseling. I just needed to unload.” I realized in that moment, that despite the fact that I have many people in my life I can go to, I don’t. However, I know it is my choice.
I often feel like the fullness of my whole self, would be overwhelming to most. I am pretty vocal, but I have learned through the years that sometimes what I say and what I mean are misconstrued and people get hurt by my bluntness. I remember a certain coworker telling me that I needed to take “tact classes.” I laughed, but I also realize there was some truth to that statement. So I stopped bringing the fullness of me. I temper myself, and play up other characteristics of my personality when I am with most people. Still me, just more reserved.
I do not relate openly to others – I believe it is me, not the others I am in relationship with – and it is something I am working to change. I often feel like I am in this alternate world where no one gets me. Part of it is the wonderful world of confidentiality. Most people talk about their jobs – I have not been able to talk about what I do for over fifteen years. It is my choice of career, my calling and I love it – but it is an off-limits topic for the most part. Some people talk about their families – living in a small town, I learned not to do that in my line of work. Everyone knew everyone, and that circle was pretty small in our community. I don’t even have to say my kids names, and people know they are mine and connect the dots. Living in a small town, I also didn’t want to invite the people I met to my church – I had zero problem connecting them with a church – I just didn’t want there to be no separation because some people really have trouble with boundaries. I didn’t grow up in the community, so I was an outsider. When I moved back home, enough time had passed these were engrained habits and I was no longer connected to the long timers in the community as I had been before.
I do feel like I am currently walking in my true calling. It doesn’t look like I thought it would, and I’m sure that it is not completely fulfilled, but I am walking in that path. I see the dream that has been inside of me since 1999, and each year I see new pieces of it coming together. I had never looked at what I was doing in light of my calling until about a year ago when my pastor said something, and I thought “you’re right, I am walking in it. It just hasn’t taken the form yet of what I think it should be like.”
I am a natural leader, but I don’t lead as I want to because I let a failure in my past leadership hold me back. That personality thing, I am a Choleric – and I wasn’t remotely tempered at the time. I have looked back on that time, and yes there are changes that I could have made, should have done differently – but it doesn’t change that most of what was said was completely untrue and that personality types played a large factor in what was said. But I find myself skittish to step back out and put myself in authority – real or perceived – over others. I don’t want to, and at the same time I love leading.
I think if I was to walk in the fullness of who God made me to be, with all the personality characteristics freely, yet appropriately expressed that I would be a better person. I think it would take some time for people to get use to, but I don’t think there is a single system that would reject that person. I think it would take more vulnerability on my part, it is just something that I have to “get over” and do. I have to step out of the comfortable to step into truly living.