Much of my writing is melancholic. I know this. The beauty can seem muted by the process. But, I don’t know how else to write, as writing is my processing. My brain spread out like a garment on my ironing board, then the searing truth applied. Ironing out your life is humble, honest work. I want to be able to wear my story and that does require a bit of work to make it wearable. There’s this massive basket of wrinkled items waiting to be pressed out, one at a time. It is a monotonous chore. Very little vibrancy in the day to day outside of being able to hang up something that was once no use at all in its frumpy state. I want to give a nod to those who have pulled out their piles and are tackling the put-off. I see you painstakingly working it all out, thoughtfully putting back together a wardrobe of useful things.
My daily external is dealing with messes. Many I didn’t create directly, but also many I solely authored. Whether I’m clearing tables, or scrubbing dishes, or pulling weeds, it’s all the work of cleaning up after. Yet, there are some messes I can’t be assigned to. My hands aren’t meant to reach that far. I have to learn to live with that. In the undone. I’ll add it to my daily list only to scratch it off. It’s not mine to sort through. I have to trust that everyone will do their own required heart-keeping. Steward themselves out of codependency and dysfunction. And if they don’t….well…they don’t. End of story. But my story moves on. My own work demands me forward.
The dirty list of things that used to motivate me to work: guilt, shame, fear, duty, pride. It’s difficult to discern whether you’re being motivated or manipulated when the forces driving you can produce similar results. It’s the thinning of the full-grown wheat from tares that gives you a clearer picture of what’s been feeding you. I’m convinced that most of us don’t know why we do what we do. And by the time we become aware, it’s the blooming behaviors that confront us, while the root system remains buried. If we don’t care about the means, but only the end, then we will be perfectly content to produce from a faulty start. If it’s all for show, then the route we “grow” about it matters not. At least for a little while. Eventually we are all sifted. No one can avoid that.
I could speak to several things here, but I’ll just lay out the one thing before me today. I’m studying the mess of manipulation. Underneath that is 100% fear. There is no other source for it but for torment and terror. Maneuvering people like pawns is insecurity at its ripest. I see myself moving in this most when I am grasping to direct traffic that is not mine to move. Trying to manage behaviors rather than tending to heart issues. Do you know how many fires you’ll need to stomp out when you work through manipulation? It’ll burn you up. There is no rest there. As long as fear is the driver, there will be collisions; a constant running into oncoming traffic due to the inability to honor the lanes and signals. Boundaries are essential. Life-preserving. Our own lives, and the lives of others. Imagine the frenzy of a fear-fueled driver, racing ahead of everyone else in effort to setup road blocks and detours that protect them from their worst fear – losing control. It’s wild to think how reckless we become in hopes to not wreck.
What is the antithesis of manipulation? Trust. Quiet and patient. Slow-growing and deep-reaching. Rooted and grounded and established, and trusting that I will have all I need, be kept and cared for, be seen and heard, be cherished and given good. If I don’t believe that this is my portion in life, I will continually be vying for it within myself and others. And micromanaging everyone within my sphere that they do not disrupt this mission. I think we get off course by believing we can manage peace from the outside in, rather than cultivating it from the inside out. All of life starts from seed. That’s where we begin, and that’s where we end.
My study of life is so minor in light of the major things happening. It’s just my little corner of the world. My finite perspective. Yet, it’s all I have to draw from: the land I’ve been given. The experiences I have been handed. The mess I’m required to sort through. I want to be faithful with my part – do the little things with greatness. Want to be most real with myself, so I can be real with others. The work I’m asked to do is valid. It matters. The work you’re asked to do is the same. There’s real reward in working your plot of earth, and trusting the rest to God. For real rest, we must give Him the rest. We can’t do this aside of trust, though. We don’t delegate our lives rightly apart from trusting. That’s some of what I’ve learned. What are you learning?