Free to be you and me

01 November 2008

Lately I've been feeling like I'm losing pieces of myself.

This has been a hard week. Really, a hard month. I distinctly remember talking to a coworker/friend (more friend, than coworker) exactly one month ago and her saying, "I think you're doing great. Do you think you're doing great?" And I replied, "I think I'm on the verge of doing not-so-great."

I wrote a post awhile back about my own self-censorship. This is almost an entirely new arena for me, who so easily and happily sticks foot in month and tongue in cheek. Lately, I've been wrestling with a lot of stuff internally (in my brain, and stuff)... things which have been brewing for a long time, that I've really only shared with the husband, the sister, and occasionally with the quasi-anarchist cousin.  Now I find myself at the point where I feel an overwhelming need to express such thoughts/ideas/opinions/questions. I also find myself at a point in time where I can't share these things publicly without repercussions (even on my own, non-ministry blog, there are consequences).

Now don't get all riled up thinking the worst (Mom). Nothing fundamentally has changed inside this brain/heart (my salvation, I'm sure, remains intact). But really, the ideas are more practical in nature, more... holistic? More of an independent experiment? I'm not really sure what I'm trying to say... it's hard having to be so cryptic.

Here's the thing: I willingly signed on for this theoretical spotlight on my life. We talked a lot in prefield training about giving up our rights. Life, liberty & the pursuit of happiness (along with other unnamed and not nearly as important "rights") should be... maybe... if we can... checked at the feet of Christ if we are to be His ambassadors. Ok, sure, I can do that. No prob.

Except... I'm wondering if one of my rights that I'm expected to give up is the right to be who I fundamentally am. I guess - it could be argued - I'm just expected to give up the old, less spiritually mature me, happily assume the role of the new psuedo-Pauline me, if it lurks in there somewhere. You know, the old man/new man thing. To me, it seems I'm not only becoming the quieter, meeker Me, but also Me minus thoughts & opinions, creative license & passion. Quickly turning into the shamed Me (yes, I have felt an increasing amount of shame as the old me parts ways with the new me). Or the Me who cries a lot. 

[ick, I'm just noticing how many times I say me, me, me... perhaps that's just as telling...]

This is not necessarily a reflection of life overseas. On the contrary, my new friends here seem to really want me to be me. Rather, it may very well be just a reflection of my own self-imposed restrictions for fear of rejection and failure. Or it could be an overreaction to the awareness that I am no longer my own person. Apart from belonging to Christ (which I willingly submitted to long ago), I now belong to one country, four churches, 176 individuals/families (who I also willingly submitted to), and I speak/act on behalf of all of their opinions/desires/beliefs/politics.

In conclusion, call this Pity Party 2.0. Commence consequences.

[This is why I have my own blog and why I write. Because there ARE thoughts that must be expressed, and if they aren't, I will fade away.]


  1. you have officially been me...which i realize is how it's been for years. That being said, now more than ever, i so appreciate what you have to say and the struggle you feel in deciding whether or not to say. :)

  2. Karen, first of all, have a hug.
    Second of all, re-read Romans 6-8.
    Third of all, we'll be praying for you here at home.

    You've done a wonderful job of helping your children adapt, it's not surprising your "self" is just now catching up. Us moms often can't crash until we're sure everyone else is "okay."

    Peace be with you.

    M & M

  3. Hey, remember me? One of those people who doesn't actually knows you but feels like i should? Reading your blog is sometimes like reading about a really cool character in a book that leaves you thinking, "I love that someone just expressed what I was thinking." I love what you said about "there are thoughts that must be expressed..." I think that's so true. I can understand the struggle with wanting to be really honest and tell it like it is, but knowing you can't just say everything you want to, either. It is kind of a weirdly public life, and there are a lot of expectations (even if it is only from self) to be somebody different, to be what is needed. Just remember that God called you to where you are because he needed YOU there. All that you are. And of course with some of that nice refining by fire thrown in. So anyway, thanks for being honest even when you aren't sure what to say and not to say. It encourages people you don't even know. :)
    - Ruth

  4. Hi.
    I don't know you at all - but I like your blog and think you have cute kids and a way of expressing yourself that I like.

    Can't speak about what you're struggling with. But I understand the feeling of the fear of losing "me" in what I am asked to be.

    I don't have an answer for it. But, I know it is there, and it is not easy. Will pray for you.

    And that is the reason, I write, too - to still be a person who is allowed to express, if only here in this one anonymous place.

  5. I really enjoyed reading this post...I relate to your struggle with identity and how to be who you are and still meet certain expectations...I don't have anything really witty or wise to say at the moment, but I will say that I'm not sure that God would have us give up who He made us to be. I think He delights in our uniqueness...I guess my struggle is how do I know whether I'm being who God made me to be or if I'm acting in ways that truly need to change. Not sure if that's what you are getting at or not...but anyway. Good things to think about...

  6. Jessica - You're my sister so you have to hear me, because if you don't, I sit on you and bang your fists against the wall. Remember that? Good times... Love you.

    M - Thanks for the hug. We miss all our friends...

    Ruvin - I do remember you and love hearing from new friends in similar situations. The refining fire, I think, is becoming my new best friend.

    Ellie - Thanks for your faithful reading and commenting. I hope you keep writing, too. Also, know that I've been where you are (or where your kids, or, more accurately). Praying for you.

    Becky - I totally resonate with this statement: "how do I know whether I'm being who God made me to be or if I'm acting in ways that truly need to change." That's especially difficult for those of us who don't easily conform to the quiet, gentle spirit model of Christian womanhood...

  7. Uh, yeah, that sounds about who doesn't easily conform to the quiet, gentle spirit model of Christian womanhood...I continue to open my heart towards God and ask for wisdom and guidance to be the woman God wants me to be...

  8. Hi my name is Ginger, I found you on coffeegirlconfessions blog. I have read through a few of your blogs and I can definitely relate with all that you write about. I am so glad that you are willing to write about what you are feeling. It is not easy to share the crazy feeling we have going on inside cause we are afraid that people might look down on us. We are missionaries, we are suppose to be "stronger then other people" right? "NOT!!!" I think that we can help fellow missionary ladies when we are willing to be open and share the hard times as well as the victories. Right now on our family blog I am posting entries from missionary ladies around the world. I ask them to share with me and others about their struggles and victories during their first term on the field. Hearing their stories has helped me not feel so guilty. It has helped me to feel normal. I was glad to read about the new victory you had with your neighbors. Praise the Lord!!