I’ve been helping out with youth ministry the last few months and our pastor has been sharing a video series on issues that we need to get real about. Anger, guilt, that kind of thing. He said something that stuck out to me, that our true self comes out with our reaction to a stubbed toe.
Well, I handle a stubbed toe pretty well. I whine like a girl, but I don’t curse or get angry.
But that doesn’t mean I should be wearing a halo.
My true self comes out when my goals are blocked. When I’m sleep deprived, and hungry.
I’m not from the south, so I’m not going to respond with a “Bless your heart.” I’m going to most likely get overly dramatic, complete with sighs, talk to walls because no one with a sound mind wants to be near me. Negative? I invented emo. I could probably enter the Oscar consideration pool if it were theatrical.
It’s just me being my true self.
My true self hates when things don’t go my way. I have a list, written or in my mind, I need to check stuff off that list or I lose it. I don’t enjoy having three dogs that at times need me just when I’m getting stuff done. A spill that comes not long after I’ve cleaned everything, something that takes me away from writing and marketing. I often resent the homework I know I need to check on because I know this work is smarter than I am and the way they want the answers is pure bunk. (I’m looking at you, Common Core.) I don’t get giddy when a child needs a ride with little notice because again, I’m a planner. I’ve come absolutely undone when I’m making a meal and realize I’m out of a key ingredient.
My true self has spewed some pretty ugly things from sarcasm with the intent to bite to discouraging words that Jesus girls shouldn’t be repeating. It’s been happening a lot lately, and I’m a thinker. It started at an event where I didn’t plan on anything that went down that night happening. I didn’t plan on it being busy. I didn’t think I’d have a rough go of it on many levels. I didn’t put on my list that I would stew about it. I didn’t pencil in the added time needed to prepare two kids for two plays. A child struggling and needing extra help. A child having a setback in health and losing days of peace, sleep and sanity in a fight to get her back on track.
The anger that this child had to suffer in the first place.
And on and on I could go.
My true self was screaming at the dogs for getting tangled around my legs in a trip to the their bathroom that shouldn’t be so complicated. I was threatening to send them away and yelling for them to hurry up. Slamming doors when they wanted out again and again and again.
My true self at the core is selfish and mean. Angry. Tired. Burned out. Dependent on lists and toddler insistent that I do it my way, myself.
It’s not pretty to admit this, but I know there’s someone else out there beating themselves up for reacting to anything from a stubbed toe to a sick child. Thing is, it’s not just you, although that accusatory voice hissing in your ear would like you to believe that. And you don’t have to stay in that pit. Yep, we were born sinful, but we don’t have to stay that way. I’m visual and thanks to Christ’s work on the cross and my friendship with Him, I picture every day as a new slate. Whatever happened even an hour ago, I can confess it and the slate is clean. It’s not my license to act like an idiot, that’s not a fruitful life. But who I am, truly am in Christ can come back and live free.
I’m still tired and I’m fighting the bah humbug of the season. A late Thanksgiving is too much pressure for a list maker like me, so I need to be intentional about enjoying it all. I need to say no to things, as good as they are, to make sure I get rest. To push away the emails and get back in Bible study. I can’t coast without these things for long. Trust me, you don’t want me to.
So, that’s my confession. I’ve felt dead inside most of this year and my true self is pretty horrid.
But, I’m not alone. I have hope, a future, and a promise.
And so do you.