I completely overuse the word 'hate'. I overuse many words, like 'Awesome' (which I use both genuinely, like when I am extremely impressed by something and can't think of another way to describe it... and sarcastically, like when my kid dumps his orange juice into his eggs) and 'Seriously?' (which, for the record, I overused before Grey's Anatomy ever existed). Overusing a word obviously lessens the impact it has when you say it, so I should really be more careful. Especially with the word 'hate'. "I hate that color, I hate that song, I hate when that happens, etc." When a one of my very dearest friends and I worked in the same department and something happened that irritated us we would IM each other 'Hate'. Or, if it was excessively irritating 'HATE! HATE, HATE, HATE!!' You get the idea.
Since I realize how much I have diluted the word, I will now discuss something I truly do hate, and then something I'm trying to learn. I absolutely hate when I have something I want to talk about with another person and I cannot find the words to accurately convey my thoughts. I was an English major for two years in college and graduated with an English minor. I should have a good grip on communicating with words, for crying out loud.
It's worst when I am trying to talk to someone in person. I am so totally awkward and weird. I'm actually not sure how I've ever managed to make any friends. I have to force myself to look someone in the face, which I can usually do for 2 seconds, and then I look away like I'm really thinking about something. On the phone is almost as bad. I pace and talk with my hands and end up saying about one-tenth of what I intended to say. All of this may come off to others as witty banter, but it's really complete frustration on my part that I wanted to tell them something important and ended up joking about something they said to me three weeks ago. Today, I tried to talk to someone on the phone about something that I was up half the night thinking about, and I am sure it came off as complete nonsense. I was more confused than ever after I hung up, so I'm sure it was a freak-show to him. Ugh.
I'm typically most effective at communication when I'm writing, but even that has failed me of late. I like being able to type out what I want to tell someone and then read and re-read it to edit for maximum impact. The past few days, I feel like I'm trying to type in a foreign language, searching for words that might possibly describe how I feel (or may just be telling that person they should call and order me a straight-jacket). Then I just feel even more frustrated.
So... where does this leave me? I think I've realized the root of this began when I read a note a friend posted on Facebook from a sermon I'd missed one Sunday when I was subbing in the nursery. In part, someone had gotten up at the end of the service and read this:
"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn't serve the world. There's nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We are born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us, it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others." (Speech by Nelson Mandela, written by Marianne Williamson)
And then this:
"Our comfort zones are for ourselves, but the dream, the calling God has on our lives, is for others. That is why we have to walk it out, go for it, because we never know whose life we are going to change with the dreams God has put in us. "
So I got the CD of the service and listened to that part. And listened to it again. And again. And it reminded me of this book I'd just finished reading 'Jesus Wants to Save Christians' by Rob Bell and Don Golden. This is the part of the book that stuck out to me:
"Jesus wants to save our church from fear... Instead of standing at a distance and saying "Someone else," it's stepping up and stepping in to the invitation to the risk, to the suffering, to the joy. And when we listen and go, it will never be about guilt. It will never come on the heels of "Well, I guess I'm supposed to." The suffering, the cost, comes from hearing something that rings in your head and heart with such force that you can't stop hearing it. It comes from being captivated by one great cause - one so massive and compelling that you'd sell everything you have to be a part of it...." (It's a great book and I very highly recommend it)
And then I was thinking about something I'd heard in another sermon. I don't own the book, "A Scandalous Freedom" by Steve Brown, so I could completely be butchering this quote. I wrote it down in my notes like this, "The mind knows only what it has learned, but the heart knows what it has experienced."
Last night, I could not sleep thinking about the sum of all these things. That I shouldn't be afraid of being who I am or expressing myself the way I want to because by hiding who I am in fear, I could be enabling those around me to hide in fear. That I need to be unafraid of whatever gift I might have, because if it empowers even one other person, I've used my gift as intended. That when I have something ringing so loudly in my head and my heart that I can't stop hearing it, I shouldn't try to stifle and ignore it until it goes away. And that just because something is an experience and not a lesson, that doesn't mean it isn't just as valid as an intellectual pursuit. All of these insomniac musings ended in me having a crazy phone conversation today, in which I only said a tenth of what I should have.
But at least it's a start.