Saturday, September 10, 2011

What Do You Want To Do? ch. 6 "Eat, Pray, Love" by Elizabeth Gilbert

"...I was actually feeling kind of delighted about all the compartments of time and space that were appearing in my days, during which I could ask myself the radical new question: 'What do you want to do, Liz?'  Most of the time (still so troubled from bailing out of my marriage) I didn't even dare to answer the question, but just thrilled privately to its existence.  And when I finally started to answer, I did so cautiously.  I would only allow myself to express little baby-step wants.  Like:
I want to go to Yoga class.
I want to leave this party early, so I can go home and read a novel.
I want to buy myself a new pencil box.
I want to learn how to speak Italian." - ch. 6, "Eat, Pray, Love" by Elizabeth Gilbert, pg. 23

This section of the book is very interesting to me.  Actually, I don't think that the author's "baby steps" are overly cautious at all.  I think that, after such a long time of not being in touch with what you want, it only makes sense to start with small things like what you want to do right this instant.  I like it.  I think, in some ways, I've already been doing this for the past few months (although, not as deliberately as described above).  But I have been trying to figure out what I really want...and what I just think I want because it's expected of me.

I was talking to some friends on a short road trip recently and explained to them that I feel lost and like I don't even know who I am anymore or what I want.  And, as a result, I have had to completely set aside all that I say I believe and start completely over with the basics.  Because, after some rather terrible experiences recently with the Church, I have realized that there's an awful lot of stuff I say I "believe" simply because it is either culturally acceptable in the Church or just something that is expected of "good Christians".  Well, guess what?  I'm really not a good Christian.  I've come to realize this as well.  I'm a screwed up, totally confused, completely broken, depraved and completely carnal person that is overwhelmingly thankful for the grace that God gives me and, more than that, His tremendous and unexplainable love for a wretched person like me.  And, frankly, I'm tired of pretending to have it all together just so others in the Church can look good and feel comfortable around me.

I don't think it's such a terrible thing to want to know myself for who I really am and to have a relationship with my God that is completely real and based on a deep, intimate, true relationship with Him, independent of anyone else's holier-than-thou influences or opinions.  So, I'm working on finding Me and finding Him...my way.  That's not to say I don't value and love the Church.  In fact, my local church that I've already mentioned (Red Door Church) has already been instrumental in helping me along in this process...simply by loving me where I'm at and not imposing legalistic church rules on me.  They are real people who understand what it's like to be a screwed up child of God that is searching and they are filled with grace and kindness and love for people like me.  They don't let me get away with acting like a fool, though...they certainly will correct me if it is needed, but it is with a loving attitude and not in a judgmental way...so that I feel encouraged and good about myself when they do it and not condemned.  That is exactly what I need in my life right now.  Thank God for them.

4 comments:

  1. Interesting. Leah, I have no intention of raining on your parade or trying to tell you to rethink your rethinking. No, that's not true. I guess that is what I'm about to do. By what definition are you determining a "good Christian" or that you are "depraved"? Whose basics are you going back to? Why are YOU wretched?
    Leah, I knew you 15 years ago, and so you have a lifetime's worth of experiences that have helped to continue to shape who you are today. What I can tell you is that you were, and therefore still are, an amazing person with a heart of compassion. As I read this blog, what I read was you lashing yourself with a scourge because somewhere along the last 15 years someone or a group of someones managed to convince you that you are less than you are. As a result you are beating yourself up for failing to be something you were not meant to be. Here is my idea of the basics, all God wants of us is to love one another with God's love. Everything else is a law created by men to enslave and control others. Our paths, in whatever form or direction they take, are to help us explore God's love and how we share it. If I have missed the point of your blog, I'm sorry. Unfortunately, I think I see more clearly than even you that by the judgmental language you use to describe yourself that you are still entrapped by someone else's definition of who you should be.

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  2. That is so interesting...and so true, Mike. In fact, you are correct. At the moment, one of my biggest obstacles IS letting go of someone else's definition of me. Yeah, I am definitely still entrapped and that is what I am trying to undo with this blog. It is something I can easily see and understand intellectually, but when it comes to actually feeling this freedom emotionally, it's a whole different story. There is still healing that needs to happen, bitterness I need to let go of and forgiveness that I need to be able to extend.

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  3. Leah, if it helps I remember you as enthusiastic, witty, and kind-hearted. I also recall you having a wickedly well-developed sense of humor. You were joyful...I never had anything but a great time around you. Maybe you were acting like you thought people expected you to behave even then, but if that's the case, I've never known anyone to do it so effortlessly.

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