All Manner of Thing

I am mentally or emotionally uncomfortable about 80% of the time. 10% of the time I’m checked out and the remaining 10% I feel good, happy, joyful. Say what you want about the difference between happiness and joy, I’ll take what I can get. (That’s not entirely true. I do recognize the difference between things that are merely soothing me and feeling a real letting-go kind of peaceful joy.)

I took an online test recently (certainly reputable!) that told me that I’m a “Highly Sensitive Person.”

Good one, Captain Obvious.

The most enlightening/depressing thing I read, as I studied up on this before unbeknownst to me legitimate personality profile was that Highly Sensitive People spend much of their time unhappy because they’re always kind of struggling against an overstimulating world and struggling toward an inner sense of quiet. (An impressively long sentence, if I do say so myself.)

Good luck with that inner sense of quiet I’ve been working on so assiduously…

I’ll probably read the book about how to maximize my strengths, but until then I want to verbally process. If inner quiet is so magnificently elusive, what other kind of goals should I work toward? As a Christian in this current culture, it would seem that a major goal for my life should be to become a “good person,” but that, too seems pretty unattainable. Who is good? Comparing myself with other people is unwise, but even comparing myself with Jesus can be a sad situation. That guy is perfect.

What I have discovered recently is that any comparison is death. I expect too much of myself and that really jacks up my ability to enjoy life. Can you relate to this at all? I thought I had it really covered last summer, but Unreal Expectations are a bit like a boa constrictor. You get yourself slightly free and they respond by wrapping about you more tightly.

Like all of the other big things I’ve wrestled through, I come to accept that it will take a long time of practicing- falling down and getting back up again- to really move forward. Have you read that book, A Long Obedience In The Same Direction? Me, neither. I didn’t have the patience to get past the title. With most important lessons, though, there is no real escape. They keep coming back around. As much as I try to get off the path, I am finding (as my friend, Sara once said) the only way out is through.

Okay, I’ll get back up.

And do you know what the real lesson is for me here? It’s not really about working harder or even about working smarter. To my surprise I find that the most difficult thing for me is also the thing I want the most- that is God’s unconditional, rowdy and tender delight in this girl he made. Only in the moments when I know that do I feel really free. And sure there are many other good kinds of moments- enjoying time with friends, listening to great music, taking photos, hiking in some beautiful place… I feel joy in those moments, as well.

I recently picked up a CS Lewis book called A Grief Observed. I read it years ago, but thought it might have some wisdom to correspond what with I’m studying to teach right now (the book of Job). Not only did I realize several things that I thought were my own realizations were actually borrowed from Lewis, but I noticed how important it is to Struggle. All of this rushing about to be happy (and rarely achieving happiness) I forget how vital it is to wrestle. It may not be in everyone’s DNA to to grapple with their own existence as frequently as I do, but I find myself in pretty good company when I take the time to look around.

Wait, did I just talk in a circle? Probably. I always feel like I have to end my blog posts with The Point Of Something Important. Take what you will. I will probably continue to wrestle for inner quiet and I will for sure keep contending to make God’s love, God himself an always bigger part of my paradigm. Plus I’ll probably read that book about the HSP¬†and be much more awesome afterward.

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