Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Honestly speaking

I was thinking of sitting down with my journal - my black book journal - tonight. I have so much happening inside me. So much I need to process. And then I thought, why not journal in my blog tonight? Why not be honest in my blog, even if it's a guarded honesty?

Today I happened to look back at some of my posts from years ago, from those times when Living Room was a fledgling group, totally unaware of where it would end up. And boy was I honest. Refreshingly so. I don't know what has happened with my blogging. It has become hard to know what to share and what not to share. I guess that's why I've come to do so little of it, while years ago I posted almost every day. I wish I could be that person again. What has happened to me?

I suspect that it has something to do with Living Room having become so well known. I want to keep some of what's happening quiet. Telling you all the tough stuff I deal with as a result of it might not be such a good thing. Would you lose confidence in me, its leader? And telling you all the good stuff would be like I was tooting my own horn.

Yes, I have far more responsibilities weighing on me than I did years ago. I don't feel as free. There's a big work connected to me now. I think it has changed me somewhat.

And yet I am the same person I was in that I have a mood disorder that at times makes me a very needy person. Just over the last while I've had to struggle again with realizing that I've become too self-centered, complaining to a friend about how overwhelmed I felt and the stress it was causing. I wanted mothering. I wanted compassion. But I did not remember that she herself has a lot on her plate too. I need to be there for her too.

That kind of self-centeredness - that overconcern about myself - crops up far too often. But it's a common symptom of our illness, isn't it, both when we're high and when we're low. Yet I know I need to fight it. I learned long ago how thinking of others' needs ahead of my own can be a source of healing. And I must tap into that.

So, today I was in pain. Remorseful for how I had complained to someone who never complains but carries her load with and eager courage, trusting that God will help her. How I need to learn from her!

This friend used to have a role of caregiver for me, mothering me when I needed mothering - something that happened often. But I've grown up a lot and she no longer mothers me in the same way. I don't need her in the same way. She has come to expect me to be a more mature friend, a friend with whom she can share equally. In her eyes I'm not as much a victim as I used to be, but a conqueror. I should be happy about that and accept that role, no matter how weak I may at times feel. And, like her, I need to trust that God will fill my needs and help me with my workload. After all it's His work I'm doing - not my own. It's God who is actually doing the work. All I'm called to be is a foot soldier for Him.

...and maybe I should pray more when I'm feeling so overwhelmed. Maybe I should remember to start each day by giving it all to Him.

The photo? A little girl on a balcony in a village on the island of Naxos in Greece. Cute, eh? I love that hair.


raven moon said...

i use my blog to say things that i dont say in my life to the people around me, yes i too feel needy but i learned along time ago not to express how i feel too much as people find it hard to hear some one moan or express their feelings most of the time especially during the down swing of bipolar, thats why i like to express every thing i feel on my blog, it helps me lots to express all these emotions that i keep away from every one else.......

marja said...

Hi Raven. Thanks for visiting and welcome to my blog. Yes, what you do would be very helpful, especially when you have some blogging pals who can support you in what you're going through.

Trouble with my blog, though, is that it's not anonymous. People know who I am and what I do. I'm connected to what is becoming a wide-spread ministry. I do need some people in my off-blogging life who I can confide in.

And I do have these people. I have some good support from my church friends who are coming to understand bipolar disorder better and better as they learn about what I go through.

And yet, I need to try and be less of a child. I'm such a child sometimes.

Anonymous said...

Hi, Marja -

Just my personal input . . .

I value and trust leaders who embrace ALL of the emotions they feel and who have learned how to care for themselves -- how to give themselves permission and appropriate time/space to process ALL emotions they have.

Who came up with the silly idea that we stop needing care and nurturing and mothering as we mature? Who came up with the silly idea that we must hide those needs when others see us as leaders? Hog wash, I say!!

We are designed to have emotions and needs . . . becoming more mature or more of a leader doesn't take that away. I think we learn how to process and display and share those emotions in more appropriate ways, but they don't go away.

It would cause me to lose trust in a leader if that leader didn't acknowledge and embrace and welcome the need for mothering and support and down times -- I would think that leader either was showing a fake side to me or was too numb to be self-aware.

I wonder if you would be helping your friends (those you mentor/mother) if you allowed them to see your tired/low side and allowed them to minister to that part of you (in a give/take situation). It might allow them to know they are not expected to be perfect just because they are becoming leaders . . . it might allow them to not feel like such failures when they do step into leadership just to discover are still children in many ways and they still need mothering.

Just my thoughts . . .

- Marie (Coming Out of the Trees)

marja said...

Hey Marie,

I like you saying it's hogwash to no longer need mothering. It's a relief to know that someone out there thinks it's ok to be weak and allow oneself to be cared for. Because, it's true - I do often feel like a child - needing nurturning, just like a child.

And yes, I am allowing the friends who I support to support me too once in a while. I feel it's good for them to know they can help me too. If it helps me to help others it would help others to have an opportunity to help too.

You're absolutely right, Marie, and I really appreciated your input. Thank you.