This is week three of the discussion here, on Facebook, and emily’s blog on Grace for the Good Girl. As I finished chapters 7 through 9 I am at a denominational summer camp on staff in my role as priest. The week has been an interesting one as the old me intersects with the new me in a place that helped form me in my priestly identity. It has been good and scary and tiring and affirming in so many ways. I have found myself falling back in to old patterns, beating myself up, and then getting angry. At myself for falling backwards, at expectations (mine and others), and at those messages we teach without meaning to.
Then I am reminded of how much I am loved, how many are praying for me on this journey, and how much I love what I do. The sound of 45 middle school aged students singing to God does something to my heart. Watching the “jock” dance with a nursing home resident makes me smile. The tiara wearing girl hearing God in one who cannot speak takes my breath away. Celebrating the Eucharist in a place that helped form me brings completion in a sense.
The familiar sights, smells, and sounds of this holy mountain breathe in to that broken place in my soul and I know I am continuing to become the woman God has called me to be. And while I miss my bear and my Joshua Brayden Beast, I know that I am meant to be at this place and in this time with this group of students and staff.
The words of this book are words to learn from, to live into, and to teach to other “good girls” as they become true for me.
This week’s questions:
1. Do you teach people you have no needs and are you angry with them when they believe you?
Absolutely, often because I find myself believing it as well. I learned early and often to put the needs of others ahead of my own. Putting my own first was “selfish” and narcissistic. It is an incredibly difficult pattern to break. Sometimes even simple needs are hard to recognize (being tired), let alone needs that are not as obvious (I have been around people all day and need some quiet time).
This tendency can be complicated further by my vocation and I find when I don’t stay healthy I disconnect further from what I need. That is when it is time to crawl back into God’s lap and listen, yet hard to do.
2. I shared the story of the little girl who had to choose between the pencils or the activity book. Which would you choose? Why are you so afraid to discover what you really want?
I would choose the book and find myself angry for having picked it. I am learning to pick the pencils, but having to let go of feelings of guilt and selfishness when I do so. Something as “simple” as taking space in my house for an art studio was a huge break through. Recognizing that God has good gifts of which I am worthy is hard to remember. Each time I hear and say yes it gets easier, although I still second guess myself…baby steps…
3. In Chapter 9, we read about the story of a father and his two sons. The rebellious one gets a party when he comes home while the religious one refuses to go in. There’s a party going on – where are you standing? Inside with the celebration? Right outside with your ear pressed against the door? A mile out in the fields alone?
I want so badly to be in the midst of the celebration although the reality is I am right outside the door. When no one invites me in, I get angry and run a mile into the fields alone. Then I become even angrier about not being loved. Opening that door on my own never occurs to me. With God’s help I am slowly reaching for the door knob.
Join in the discussion here or on Emily's blog, or even better, in real life!