I mark April 21st every year, like it's my birthday...
Because in all the ways that matter, it is.
Seven years ago today, I was lying on my bed in West Texas crying for what seemed like the millionth time. I was 37, in possession of everything I said I wanted, and yet, loneliness, grief, fearsome anxiety, rage at the political and religious machine, would never let me enjoy it. To say contentment was a mystery, understates things considerably.
I didn't know then that depression, anxiety and bitterness, all prettied up in a sassy, I-got-this, know-it-all package are the nasty children of pride and fear. To get free, all of it would have to go, and I'd have to start again. That, my friends, required a dramatic demolition.
LIFE DEMOLITION REQUIRES THREE THINGS.
- HUMILITY. It's terrifying to admit your have-it-all together package actually doesn't. Most of us hide behind, what one of my teachers calls, a "preferred self"- the construct we present to the world. That's why vulnerability is so hard. Admitting to ourselves and others that our preferred self is a fake and actually sort of 2-D and lame, introduces a whole mess of other questions. It takes an odd combination of courage and despair to sit down at that table.
- TRUST. Loneliness is your enemy. Inviting others into your demolition is critical because it is going to hurt like hell. Having the right people around to listen and encourage you helps. Plus, humility and vulnerability, while painful for you, are really refreshing to other people. Not only will the right people support you in your efforts to get free, they will admire your courage in it. You might even inspire them.
- FAITH. For me, the whole question came down to this: Why is nothing ever enough and if I am capable of building a life of wholeness and meaning, why haven't I? Clearly I needed to hire a builder I could trust. I found him by reading the Bible. I excused the myriad cultural interpreters, that had so muddied my spiritual waters in the past, and read it for the first time with my brain and heart. I wanted to see for myself if the word of God was true.
On April 21, 2010 Jesus showed up with a sledgehammer and plans.
So today I'm celebrating seven years in this awake and interesting life. I tell you all this because a few weeks ago, my friend April interviewed me for her podcast, which came out yesterday. In it, I talk a lot about April 21st and what it means to me. The timing of the podcast, to me, is just God poking his head in to remind me I was smart to trust him in the first place.
I write because I want the same freedom, vibrancy and hope for you. That's the purpose of Girl Catch Fire; that you to might discover the God who created you so you can figure out what he created you for.
And then go do it.
ICYMI: Here's the link to This Journey Called Life Podcast.