i don't know if it's because of the abuse, any neglect or my church of origin that i have this distorted need for male approval, but in this area of my life i would be classified as 'high needs'. whether it was coaches, teachers, professors, bosses or my father i learned to recreate myself into whatever was needed by those men to meet their needs or gain their attention so that there may be a chance of some approval or validation.
unfortunately i became really good at the recreating part, but not very good at the realizing the pay off was never really worth the work.
i have been more involved lately at our church with the '40 days' stuff coming up and it has brought me into a lot more contact with the staff and leadership and has also emboiled me into the politics. i, like parker palmer writes, am drained by institutions, they make me angry and stressed. palmer speaks of his love for the educatational system, but his complete frustration every time it sucked him in. this is my love/hate relationship with the church. when i'm not involved or sucked into the church i can resist the politics, but as soon as i step in, my boundaries are so weak that i become a stressed-out zealot and emotionally tied into even the simplest of controversy. so in my time of non-involvement (except with the youth program) i forgot to be working on strengthing my boundaries so that i didn't get so suprised at how quickly these politics drain my batteries.
after our meeting at the church last night i came home feeling sucked in, i was marginalized and a couple of times used as the brunt of jokes. i guess i must seem like i have thicker skin than i actually do.
i spent the morning venting to liam, and then to my girlfriend who is an elder's wife and loves me dearly. it was very freeing and helpful. but it also raked up the inability our church has to honor effort and encourage and bless involvement, no matter how small.
this, tied into my overactive need for male approval and made me grieve once again how those who have the power to bless, when they choose not to, leave such a lack and a void in the lives of those they could have almost effortlessly helped. needless to say there were many tears in those coversations this morning and i left them feeling very empty and very fragile.
as i opened my email today someone i respect and appreciate, who i look up to and have grown to love, took the time to email me the most moving, heart-felt letter. i wish i could explain the lifeline that was to me. it felt like a blood transfusion, or the oasis in a dry and desert land. he saw my heart, heard me and spoke love and truth into those starving places of my soul. oh what a gift he has and he passed on to me.
i literally wept, called liam to read over my shoulder, because some of it was addressed to him too, and then i printed it out and took it to my room to re-read and hold to my chest like a warm hug. it is now stored safely in my journal so i can re-read it when i need a lift.
wes said things to me i have always longed for my father to say. spoke of things i hoped my senior pastor might notice. and inspired me to keep going and not give up. the power to bless. it is mighty and it is so needed.
i would be so bold to say that when we have that power, and are stingy with it, it is sinful. how simple it is to notice, to step across our comfort zones and to speak truth and love into someone's thirsty soul. very simple, but not easy.
wes, you are so kind, you honor me with your friendship and leadership, you and judy are true gems in the kingdom. thank you for taking the time to bless me. you don't know how badly i needed those words, at that exact moment. i am very, very grateful. may god bless you as much as you have blessed me!