(Our neon pool, which is a helpful metaphor for how I am right now: Having fun while swimming in muck!)
Typically, I won’t repost things that I send out via private email, but I wanted a wider audience to get a glimpse into how I’ve been lately. Plus, this allows you the chance to truly pray for my heart. And, I’ve always desired for my thoughts to be as transparent as possible…so, here’s how I am doing, March 4th edition.
P.S. Before the email bomb: I went to dinner tonight with several of my apprentice friends to share our timelines. Honestly, I wasn’t really looking forward to it (due to what you will read below!). But it was so healing to be honest with them, to share how I really am doing (I read them the contents of this email), and to not hold back in sharing my story and being known. They welcomed me with open arms and a warm spirit. I truly felt known, cared for, and lighter than I have in days….Choosing to risk and enter into friendship/community is always the question….so THANKS TO MELANIE AND COLLETTA FOR A FABULOUS EVENING! I appreciate you both..
So I’m 10 days into our first learning posture “Listening” and our schedule has really slowed down, which has afforded me time and space to sit, think and truly reflect on the fact that I’ve been out of the country now for 6 weeks(!), and in Pretoria, South Africa for five of those….
…A much more comprehensive update is coming by the end of this weekend with pictures and a recap of all that we have done and seen and experienced during Orientation and the first few weeks of the Listening posture, which I will send out to friends, family, and donors soon…
..I also am going to be blogging much more regularly now, introducing you all to the community here at Pangani, the beautiful former bed and breakfast where we all live in Pretoria North.
But I just wanted to update you a bit, and to ask for a few things in prayer.
The short story is this: I am struggling right now, and have been for probably the last week to 10 days. I’m not sure entirely what is going on, and frankly am tiring of ‘trying to figure it all out.’ But I have been in a fairly deep funk for awhile now, mostly having to do with feeling pretty lonely, alone, and isolated. I am discovering having been here in the community now just how alone and isolated I have grown these past few years, as my friends have increasingly grown into their marriages and families. I truly have amazing friends, family, and communities (multiple) in which I am truly connected and known, loved for who I am. And yet I am ‘able’ to come in and out of those communities as I wish to some degree, and have found myself increasingly able to hide and just not open up to what is going on–to the degree that at times, I have no idea what is happening to me. In an almost embarrassing sense, I kind of feel like I no longer know how to make, sustain, and grow friendships, almost like I’m bad in childhood or whatever.
At the same time I have been growing deeply in my understanding of how God has wired me, and in a consistent need that I have for solitude and silence. We have been reading “What’s Your God Language?” by Myra Perrine, which is a profound treatment of how personality, wiring, environment, and preference ‘determine’ how we relate and connect best with God. There are several tests throughout the book, and I am strongly an Ascetic (I’ll blog more on this soon), which essentially means that I NEED to remove myself from others to be filled up again, to be able to give to others, etc. This is actually a really profound thought for me, as I have always ‘felt’ the need for this and yet rarely given myself the space and permission to actually take this. And yet here’s the rub: As I’ve been pursuing this these past few weeks, there is a fine line between having enough space/time and yet falling headlong into isolation in an unhealthy sense. This happened this past weekend as I was trying to take care of myself, and was really enjoying myself–til I came into an experience of just how isolated I was–and then was in a funk that has largely lasted until now.
What is really crazy is that I came here with the expectation that this year would be a true year of growth, joy, life, and ‘goodness’ in a large sense. Not sure if I was projecting this on God, or if this is truly what He has, but I sure didn’t expect to struggle as much as I have so far. I also expected to dive deeply into further growth with God, and into confirmation and growth in what sort of mission I was to embrace in this next season of my life. I still am anticipating that this is coming, and am deeply loving NieuCommunities (and CRM) as likely partners in this next journey. But I sure didn’t expect to struggle with the community aspect of life here as much as I have. In a lot of ways, I feel like I’ve been sort of a jerk to people in our community–withdrawn, isolated, unfriendly, unapproachable. In short, I’ve been WAY different than normal, that I am sure of.
I actually am starting to wonder if God is unraveling a really really deep place within my heart that has largely remained dead and broken since my engagement fell apart so many years ago, and ‘finally’ in a sense fully healing, calling back to life, bringing into the light relational pieces of me that are still dead and non-functional. This is both my deepest fear, and greatest hope, and something that I ignore with a sense of despair most days. I STILL am just not fully sure that God will redeem the relational piece of my life–so if that is truly what He is up to here, holy crap, I am in for a ride this year that I didn’t imagine.
I’m not even sure how to ask for prayer here:
*Continued openness and honesty with God about how I truly am
*Honesty and risk with my NCSA community here about what I need, and how I am
*Opportunity to ‘start again’ in a sense with relationships here
*Love and support from friends and family at home (I need emails, facebook messages, etc, even though I am deeply behind on email and will struggle to catch up).
Trying to remain broken and hopeful with the Spirit,