I feel like I should just go ahead and say the word so as to frighten away anyone whose delicate sensibilities might be offended by the discussion of them. Because I’m going to discuss them. They’re honestly a big part of my story.
Now that that’s out of the way. I am a big fan of self-awareness. Big, huge. I have experienced the most freedom in this life by getting to know myself – second only to getting to know Jesus. I truly believe the two experiences are intrinsically combined, and also – I’m straight fascinated by it.
So, the Enneagram. Have you heard of it? I love me some Enneagram. It knows me. It knows my children. It knows my life. It’s almost creepy but not quite because it helps me out so much.
I’m a Two: The Helper. At the center of who I am, Two wins every time. Also, I have a pretty strong Three: The Performer wing because I’m like a chameleon. I can become whatever I need to be for whomever I might need to be something for – which kind of makes me a Four: The Romantic, mainly in the way that I don’t ever feel like I fit.
I’m a hot mess.
Josh and I have spent the last few years trying to discern some direction in life. Every thing we have ever done has been because we firmly believed that the Holy Spirit was directing us to do it. Very little has felt aimless. Difficult, absolutely. Terrifying, fo’ sho’. But never desultory, and I never realized what a gift that was until we stumbled back to our hometown because we just weren’t sure what to do next.
Almost two years later, and here we are, still feeling a bit like we are trying to run hard and fast toward a goal we haven’t identified, with vision impairment and no glasses.
Here’s where this gets really tricky in our marriage.
I make fast paced decisions, and I am almost equally task and people driven. I’m a communicator and a futurist (translation dreamer).
Josh makes slow paced decisions, and he is almost entirely task driven. He values responsibility and learning above almost everything else (translation sensible).
So, when I’m ready to excitedly talk a thing to death while we leap off the cliff, checking off our to-do list as we go, Josh is terrified that every decision will negatively affect our family and thus physically nails the soles of his shoes to the ground via every question anyone could ever have about any idea ever.
This means that I am always tired of hauling him forward, and he is sick and darn tired of me pulling his arm out of socket.
So, without a clear direction from God Himself, we are literally left chasing our tails. For two years, y’all. So much tail chasing (and not the good kind) that we feel like we are about to lose our minds!
This has led to me being determined to enter into a good weed pulling session with the Holy Spirit. It’s time to get into the deepest places of my heart and dig around to find out what sin patterns are literally handicapping me, preventing me from resting or growing or dreaming or achieving well. It’s time to figure out why I always run back to the same things, and how, for the love of all the land, to break that pattern!
This brings us to, boobs. You thought I’d forgotten, didn’t you? Nope.
I spent my junior high years wearing a training bra because it was too humiliating to NOT wear a bra, but I assure you I did not need one. I finished the eighth grade boobless, for the most part. It was devastating for this – wanted-to-be-a-grown-woman-for-her-whole-life-girl. So, I begged God for boobs for the entirety of my eighth grade year.
I arrived on the first day of the ninth grade rocking braces, rolled bangs, khakis, an argyle sweater vest and – yes indeed – a C cup bra that was not stuffed with anything artificial. By the time I finished my freshman year, I was wearing a DDD cup bra.
The emphasis here is not my boobs, but I really can pinpoint some pretty significant pieces of my “I don’t fit” insecurities to the boobs. Because literally, I did not fit. My boobs were enormous but my waist was small. I know, I know – all of you minimally blessed boobied women are linking arms with all you amply blessed waisted women, rolling your eyes and saying, “Girl, I will cut you if you keep complaining about this.” But for me, I just wanted to fit in. I wanted to fit in with my friends, in my clothes, in a dad-gum bathing suit (moment of silence for my mother who endured hours of tears in the Dillard’s dressing room while we tried on every grandma, big boobed bathing suit in the store), and in my own body.
I’ve written before about how I have always been aware that I am a lot. This translated into me feeling like I never quite fit. Like I was always shoving my DDD personality into a size S shirt. It’s uncomfortable and suffocating and mildly humiliating in hind site.
I remember in high school when I found out that a group of my guy friends had began to refer to me as Grand Tetons. It devastated me because, once I again, I was identified by what I viewed as my too-much-ness.
I can remember not feeling this way. I was five, six, seven-ish – up until then it never occurred to me that anything about me might be over the top. I performed a Russian jig for my first grade class for show and tell (as though I even knew what that was), sang an entire song from my church program in front of my second grade class – just because, and thought nothing of declaring that I was “Rockin’ Bay-bee” while wearing a punk rock Wal-Mart costume and plastic, click-click high heels.
Up until about five years ago, talking about that version of myself – the freest version – made me want to crawl under a rock. Somewhere around the second grade, when I had to move schools and figure out how to fit in rather than stand out, I started figuring out ways to tuck myself in. I’ve written about this before, so I’m not going to harp on it, but it does contribute to my point.
When I was a senior in college, I had a breast reduction. My boobs were the one thing I could physically remove. No more taping or smushing or baggy t-shirting them down. Nope, I just had a doctor go on in there and cut them off. I wish I could tell you I’m glad I did it. I’m glad I did it for that version of myself, sure. It boosted my confidence immediately. But the current version of myself wouldn’t even consider it. Not because I have anything in particular against boob jobs but because I’ve reached a place in my life where I want to embrace the body, the personality, the quirks, and the challenges that God has given me. I want to hold them all in my hands and ask God quasi-excitedly, “So, what do you want to do next with all of this?
If everything God gives me is meant for good, then why do I go about doing my darndest trying to dispose of it? Why don’t I, instead, talk with Him about how to best to dress it as it is? Why don’t I say, “Okay, Lord – this is what we’ve got to work with. How would you like to go about making it lovely?”
I’ve spent so much of my life chasing a dream. I mean running until I cannot breathe, my sides are about to burst into flames, and I’m seeing those spots that make you find the nearest tree to prop yourself up against (not that I’ve experienced any such thing. I am a SUPER-star runner.) I’m beginning to realize that in pouring out my energy, my thought life, my passions on a dream or a goal…there’s always a new one…I am inherently missing the life right in front of me, and all the unexpected ways God could be using this place, these people, this body, these talents, these failures to make something I never could’ve dreamed up.
The truth is that I am screwy six ways to Sunday. You are, too. So was Essau, but God gave him what He gave him on purpose, and Essau sold it away because something else looked better for two point five seconds. Been there, Essau.
Friends, take inventory of what God has given to you. If you don’t like it, say it to Him but then thank Him for the way He’s going to use it anyway, and ask Him to help you see the value in it. This is how we live a life of gratitude and abundance, friends. We receive what our kind and gracious Father who knows ALL the things hands to us – and we practice saying, “Thank you,” instead of tossing it aside looking for the next best thing like a greedy kid at Christmas.
This is a good, hard life. Your lot, my lot – they’re all good AND hard. But mostly good if we look at them with eyes that see Jesus in all things. There is beauty in all things, you just have to figure out how to dress them.
P.S. Sorry about all the boob talk.