I said, "No, no, no!"

Sometimes I get frustrated with all the "no's" out there.  Don't do this, don't do that, keep quiet, don't make a fuss. Don't bother other people with your living.

I like peace and quiet as much as the next person, but occasionally I just want to bust out of the straight jacket I find I've put myself in because I'm trying not to be too loud or too talkative or too silly or too trivial or too fun. I've taken into myself the message of "no, no, no!" I start worrying about being taken seriously or not thought of as some kind of "lightweight" or meeting what I think are others' expectations of me, and the next thing I know, I'm boring myself to death. Which means I'm boring others, too. I'm not being myself.

Sometimes this is a result of family history. As children we may have been told that we were expected to be seen but not heard. (My "problem" was that I wanted to be seen AND heard. Imagine.)

Other times, we are simply going along with the prevailing contemporary culture in which we are directed to clump into groups dictated by some demographic. Age, stage in life, gender, religion, political leanings.  We act as if it is normal to required to be in our own little bubbles and not straying outside of our designated space/spheres. We may even begin to feel as if we are entitled to go through life without bumping up against anyone else who might disturb our sensibilities.

But that isn't good for us.  It ends up breeding fear. It's actually not a bad thing to bump up against others, even/especially others who are not like us. It's ok to be different, and it's ok to be around people who are different from us. Otherwise, we lose perspective. We aren't able to see other ways of being or thinking or feeling. We become insulated and stay in a place where everything is sedate, rather than living in a world that constantly challenges us to grow.

Sometimes I need a breather, and I need a little peace and quiet. But when that becomes my focus, I'm usually about to lose something important. I'm risking cutting off my vitality. I risk failing to live into being the person God created me to be. I honor neither my own complexity or the complexity of the wonderful world I live in.

Do you ever find that you have cut off your own vitality and put yourself in a straight jacket in response to the some perception that the world thinks you need to tone it all down?


Maria said…
Yes! I feel that many times. As I transition to a new call your words are both a soothing balm and holy nudge to neither hide behind what I think people expect of me and embrace and share who I authentically am.

My favorite line is this:
"It's ok to be different, and it's ok to be around people who are different from us. Otherwise, we lose perspective."
Thanks, Maria! Glad you found this helpful. I've been thinking about you and your new call!