In those quieter times of reflection, it's hard to just sit and endure our heart's seasonal shifts. But I wanted to share my heart today. To write as an act of endurance.
I'm sitting down to write because I need to. Maybe someone else needs to hear this. Maybe they don't. *Ooh, but doesn't that go against the whole "blogging to give value" thing?* Maybe. But once in a while, I get this actual, physical ache in my chest, and I know that words are pounding on the walls of my heart, waiting to pour out. Not the kinds of words that belong in a diary. The kinds of words that need to echo off the walls and resonate throughout a room.
Guys, from what I've been seeing online, it's been a rough season for a lot of us. I don't know why, but Autumn isn't being welcomed with the same light-heartedness that manifests itself in copper tones and misty mornings.
There's been a lot of overwhelm, discouragement, disillusionment, and lethargy. There's been a lot of bleakness. And I've been sitting right in the middle of it. I won't bore you with details, but I've been experiencing the lowness of what I'm sure is depression for the first time in seven years. I want to sleep. I want to cry. I want to give up on my business and my dreams and my creativity (don't worry, "want" and "will" are, thankfully, two different things).
When I was younger, I had this thing I used to do: I'd start talking to someone, and then they'd quickly get distracted or start talking to someone else, and I'd start shouting over the crowd, trying to be heard, and I'd finally scream "WHY DOES NOBODY EVER LISTEN?"
Yeah. Just like that. Like a spoiled child. I had no patience and I had no filter. But my question was serious. I really wanted to know why nobody seemed to hear me.
Now, reality check: I was a chatter. I talked a loooot. And people probably got sick of the sound of my voice. In fact, I know they did. But I genuinely had so much to SAY, and I was desperate to work through my own thoughts with someone who would just LISTEN. I threw mini tantrums, and then I sat alone at the lunch table because people were sick of it (and I can't really blame them).
But even still, I had these burning words inside of me that I just wanted to SHARE, and I couldn't understand why it was so hard to find someone who wanted to share with me. I'd force my way into friendships only to lose them because duh, nobody wants a shove-in or a know-it-all or a chatterbox.
And so, I was never the cool kid at school. I was the overachiever with straight A's. But I walked around in a fog of insecurity (what else is new of a high-schooler?) because I knew that I wasn't likeable by my nature, I was simply knowable by my accomplishments. And when I DIDN'T get the highest grade in the class, it was noteworthy only because I'd lost the only "positive" status I held in the social jungle of adolescence.
I became known only by what I could DO but still never by who I WAS. And that dynamic frustrated me because it denied the rawness of my heart the right to just belong in the public space.
But that was high school.
Flash forward, and whatever rut it is that I'm in right now, I'm finding that it's underpinned by this desperate need to talk, but still not feeling like the rawness of my words have a right to be in the public space. For the first time in my life, I have no accomplishments to prop me up: I'm not graduating with a new degree, I'm not booking new clients, and I'm not doing anything that resonates in the way I hoped it would.
And I'm getting impatient. Just like I did at fourteen. I couldn't wait for someone to hear me: I had to scream. I had to force it. And when that didn't work, I retreated to my lonely corner.
Now, I'm painfully aware of the immaturity and self-centeredness of this behaviour, but here's the thing: I'm not fourteen anymore. I can walk out my heart and own my past and live justified by the grace of my God without having to scream for someone to hear me. I have the choice to learn something.
I have the choice to learn, as I reflect on my current circumstances, that my teenage hangups have held me captive (which is not uncommon, but it feels good to call it out for what it is). I've been plagued by the need to be heard and the pain of rejection when nobody listens. I never feel like I'm part of the "cool kids" on Instagram, and I always worry that I'm talking too much, sharing too much, and forcing myself in when I'm not wanted.
And what's more, I am indulging in this lack of patience. This need to be heard. This aching pain in my chest.
How many of us, in this online space with MILLIONS of voices, feel like we're shouting in the most crowded of rooms? How many of us just want to be heard and want to feel like the rawness of our heart is enough? And when it isn't, we push for more: more exposure, more followers, more content. More more more.
How many of us get caught in the same loop that fourteen-year-old Christina did, where our accomplishments are the only platform upon which we feel justified to exist in the public space?
And where, then, does patience fit?
I ask this to myself as much as to you, but the question stands all the same.
I have a theory that patience sits alongside perseverance and kindness and humility, but also alongside love. Love of others and love of ourselves and love of the Creator.
Because I want to be heard, yes. And I want to accomplish, yes. But in the moments where neither of those things are happening, does our worth just dissipate? No. Heck no. And neither does yours. What an insult to all the beauty that God made in us.
These moments of reflection and the reason I share a little piece of my story with you is to reiterate something I believe to be deeply true: our story is constantly teaching us things. For me, today, it's teaching me that I've lived too long in the shadow of my own accomplishments and not in the light of my identity. I've created the imaginary yard sticks by which I'm allowed to enter the public space, but I am a fallible judge of worth. I'm not equipped with the wisdom to decide who deserves to be listened to and for what reason. But by God's grace, we are all sufficient.
So, I'm learning a new kind of patience. A kind that I didn't have in high school: the patience to sit in my own worth even as I am waiting for movement. Even as nothing noteworthy takes place. The patience to listen and not just speak. The patience to persevere until achievement reaches me. The patience to speak quietly in the crowded room, without shouting, until I am heard by those who want to listen. The patience to cultivate real relationships and find true value in my identity outside of numbers or diplomas or publishings.
The patience to let my heart go through this seasonal shift and just be present in it, rather then letting my mind wander off into the future with all of the "I wish things were like this."
The patience to enjoy the copper tones, the misty mornings, the uncertainty of transition. Because someday, this will be another chapter of my story: one I want to look back on with pride, not because I accomplished anything but because I was fully present as each page began to unfold.