Have you ever been surprised by your emotions? By your own thoughts? Nine times out of ten, I am thankful for my emotions and my thoughts. Ehh…let’s go with 8…er…7 times out of ten. (Still more than half, but not too crazy. :)) I love the fact that I have feelings about almost everything. I told my boss the other day that pathos was my favorite part of rhetoric–it’s in just about everything. We can’t escape our feelings, y’all! I love the fact that my mind is like its own circus. It has performers (thoughts) that flip and twirl and make the crowd (me) clap and stare in awe. There are curtains that cover the bearded woman or the world’s smallest man (not sure what thoughts these are, but they’re weird). Anyway, my circus mind is a show that never quite seems to end and gets bigger and more confusing the longer I keep thinking to myself. But I know this. I know how I feel and I know how I think. I always have. But lately, I’ve been surprised, startled by my thoughts and emotions. It kind of feels like I should be familiar with what’s going on internally, but it’s been a while since I’ve danced under this Big Top.
This summer has gone nothing like I expected. I’d further explain, but the details aren’t too important. Just know that I’ve been pleasantly surprised and unpleasantly heartbroken very quickly and in a back and forth cycle that hasn’t fully seemed to slow down yet.What’s shocked me the most has not been whats happened this summer, but my internal (and sometimes external) response to it all. I’ve told some dear friends recently that I’m learning a lot about myself. This is good. I should be excited, but I’m not…at least not always. Why? Because I am way, way more obsessed with being in control than I thought.
When you meet me, it’s pretty easy to tell that I’m easy going. I have more of a Type B personality, my room is never as clean as I want it to be, and “organized” is not an adjective that would follow my name if you looked up “Jayna Duckenfield” in the dictionary. But here’s a short list of what would follow my name:
- Likes to be too aware of self (this is often a defensive mechanism so no one can point out a flaw in actions or character that takes Jayna by surprise)
This summer I’ve learned, rather I’ve realized that I have a strange issue with being told that I’m wrong/getting called out for things unexpectedly. This spectrum is fairly broad. I take it too personally and often immediately try to “fight back” or defend myself so that I can fix the issue or come across as a better person. (And if I don’t say anything out loud, I just internally shame and should all over myself. #ImWorkingOnIt #ImBeingSanctified). It’s kind of like thinking that all of who I am is tied up in what I do and say. The frustrating part of this realization is that I thought I already realized this and “worked through it.” Being a slave to the Idol of People was my brand throughout all of undergrad. (My counselor recently told me that people pleasing and idolatry of the like is something that I’ll probably always struggle with, but learn how to be more repentant of and not as consumed by.*
*(The people pleasing English major in me is kicking myself for ending that sentence with preposition. #lol).
But you see, my desire to be seen as the best version of myself doesn’t just stop with people, it extends to my Heavenly Father as well. This is particularly frustrating, because I know that I don’t have to earn Christ’s love or act a certain way for Him to be pleased with me. Really, I know that on my terms. When I’m aware of my short comings and even my successes I am perfectly capable of accepting and understanding how Jesus and others feel about me. But when my actions, thoughts, and feelings take me by surprise it’s an entirely different ballgame. Like I said before, I like to be in control. It’s a subtle, internal type of control that you might not necessarily be able to notice just by observing me. (Well, now you might be able to because I’m telling you about it, but you get the idea).
I don’t like this re-realization because I don’t know what to do. I’m learning more and more that I really don’t know how to let Jesus lead me as much as I thought I did. But here’s the thing, that’s good news! It doesn’t sound like it, but it is. At the end of my rope of control, stands a patiently waiting Savior who “began a good work in [me] and will bring it to completion…” (Philippians 1:6). What the Lord has set in motion in my life, He will continue to keep in motion despite by best efforts and my worst mistakes. The Lord is not surprised by my actions, thoughts, or feelings. He has not been surprised by anything that’s happened this summer. Through all of my selfishness, doubt, and struggle with control, He has been forever faithful and consistently constant. The best part is that there hasn’t been anything I’ve done, nor anything I could do to change that. I get to be a control freak in the arms of Jesus and be met with grace and mercy. I get to have all the feels and all the thoughts and be covered in peace. I can rest in the good news that I’m not really in control and in fact shouldn’t be. And even though my crazy circus show of a mind will go on, so must the work of my beautiful Savior.