Trained Circus Freaks: Re-visiting My Over-Conscientiousness
Katy and I had a recent discussion on Facebook with a few other people. We stood up for a truth — the truth that we don’t need “grace” for our divorce (echoing Jeff S’s post here). We were mild; we were kind. We were barely even standing up for ourselves. We even made it fun and funny. Then, total silence from the person to whom we were trying to disclose our new-found freedom of “not-needing-grace-but-needing-love”. Katy and I panicked. I wrote her, she wrote me . . . we thought about taking the comments down . . . apologizing? Did I lose a friend? Were we too honest? In the end, all was perfectly fine. My friend was loving, understanding and open. Katy and I, on the other hand, were like trained circus freaks (her words). We assumed we had come on too strong. We assumed that we have a problem. We assumed that we are the problem.
Victims of abuse are over-conscientious for a reason. We took to heart what abusers said about us. We believed all the lies . . . “You are too this or too that . . . You are not enough in this area or that area . . . . If only you could be thus and such . . . .” Maybe you feel like you are too bright, or too thin, or too talented, or too attractive. Perhaps you “tone it down” or pretend you have a problem when you do not because that person in your life resents you for not having the same struggles? It is easier than facing the emotional or verbal or physical assault . . . . though exhausting.
What in the world are we doing?
It isn’t your problem. It is his. It is hers. It is theirs. Shine.
Last week, in dropping off our youngest in Kindergarten, I remarked to David that our daughter’s teacher is very good and very firm. And that I actually felt a little bit like a Kindergartner, as well, when she was instructing me on how their classroom works, what is expected, etc. In fact, I was a little scared of this petite, young, sweet-yet-high-strung woman. I was angry with myself for being a bit late because she had to comment on it and then dismiss it with her hand. She had the upper hand already. What was my problem? After telling David this, he said these words: “You cannot take on other people’s problems. It’s her problem, Megan. Not yours.”
Whoa. Crazy thing is, he has said this before but it never clicked until Wednesday.
This was big for me. When other people seem impatient, short, ill-tempered, jealous, ugly . . . I assume it is me. I failed to win them over. I must have said something wrong. Maybe I was too transparent (unacceptable). You know what? They probably just do not want me in the room. Walking into the room often got me into trouble in the past. Being honest definitely does. Maybe I am shining too brightly? I need to shut down . . .
This week, I looked up this well-known passage and it blessed me:
For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. 2 Corinthians 4:6 ESV
And then this:
For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. John 3:20 ESV
Those in the Church are a bright light, people. Because Christ is . . . and He lives in us. He shines brightly in our hearts and we cannot help but shine. My children sing, “Hide it under a bushel . . . NO! I’m gonna’ let it shine!” And, others might not like that. And that is their problem.
I am so weary of dulling myself down and hiding out of fear of backlash. And the fear of backlash is really rooted in a deep nest of lies that loves to rear its ugly thorns and thistles to my heart: They do not like you because there is something wrong with you. That is it — right out there. Because there has to be something wrong with someone who is divorced . . . who was abused . . . whose family turned against her. Right? Totally wrong. Affliction is to be expected as a Believer. It is the way it was and is and will be until the End. Period. Why would I take that personally?
As I said, something clicked earlier this week. I am tired of taking on everyone else’s problems. I will allow the fruits of the Spirit to shine in my life. I will just be. I do not even really have to work at it because I love Jesus and I love others and that sort of takes care of everything else. Join with me in this . . . let us all stop being trained circus freaks (ha!). Let us just be Light and let God take care of the rest. Let us be able to just shake our heads and think to ourselves, “Oh man . . . they are struggling,” and then just whisper a little prayer. We have enough to worry about, don’t we?
It isn’t your problem. Shine.