Tuesday, April 24, 2012
Living Like An Alien
WARNING: Deep thoughts ahead...
Confession: I am giving up on this world.
Now, before you report me to Green Peace, let me explain.
For my entire life, I have always struggled to find my niche. As a child, I was on the taller end of the spectrum, even taller than my brother at one point. I also developed my love for all things made of cake around the same age. And when you combine those two together, you end up with a girl whose petite counterparts thought she was ginormous. No girl, no matter how old she is, wants to be ginormous.
I was never the "it" girl in high school. I was more of the "I am going to do musical theater and study really hard and run for student government" girl. And while these things were fun, my daily routine of making sure my hair was 'just so' and trying to pick out the perfect flannel shirt (Hey, this was the '90's people!) was grueling. And if I were to be perfectly honest, I bet I could count on one hand the number of times I truly felt beautiful/included/worthy during those four long years.
And let's not even talk about prom.
I realize this is typical sentiment of many high school graduates. If you are among those who felt this same way, let's rejoice that we survived! And if you are among those who loved every second of high school, well, then, I don't really know what to say to you. You are a mystery to me.
For some reason I thought it would get better once I left the confines of teenage-dom and conquered the world as a twenty-something. I was über wrong. The pressure to be the ideal single girl-on-the-town was even more daunting. I wasn't hipster enough during graduate school. I didn't know the best clubs in town. I had never heard of H&M. I didn't like to hike/ice climb/put your body in extreme climates for the thrill of it. I didn't ski/snowboard/snowshoe. And the thought of hanging out in Boulder terrified me.
It's not as though I didn't try because I did. I tried swing dancing, candle making, white water rafting and eyebrow waxing. I told myself I loved going to nightclubs, loved trying new singles groups and loved going to parties just to say I had been there. And in all honesty, I hated them. I hated them because no matter how hard I tried, no matter how often I told people I was having fun, it just didn't feel right, it didn't feel like me.
I had always heard that once you hit thirty, most of your insecurities about who you are disappear. This is a lie. Turning thirty just makes you even more aware of your insecurities because now you are old and still trying to fit in. Awesome. And now, instead of trying to figure out the latest social trends, you are suddenly very aware of how much money you make (or don't make), if you have a 401K, if it is the right time to buy a house, if you should have 2.4 children of 3.7 children. Or, if you are single, should you online date or just join a convent.
And all the while, all you really want, is someone to know you, to love you, to comfort you, to take your burdens and carry them a while. To be at peace. (Hmmm...sounds like Jesus?)
Contort. Stuff. Twist. Struggle. Struggle. Struggle.
I don't know about you, but I am exhausted.
Someone I highly respect and love recently asked me, "Sarah, why are you trying so hard to fit into a world for which you were never created?"
This question hit me like a ton of bricks. Why am I trying so hard? Why do I care so much? Why does it matter if I impress everyone? If this life is just temporary, why am I living it like I want it to last forever? Perhaps it is because this world is all I know. Or perhaps it is what is right in front of me. But time and time again, God has said that we are aliens in this land and what awaits for us is so much better. Perfect, actually.
My mind cannot even fathom perfection.
In 1 Peter 1-2, those who follow Jesus are referred to as "exiles" "foreigners" and "aliens." God says that we will not fit into this world, rather we are here only to bring Him glory and to love those around us. No wonder I often feel like I just landed in a foreign land, it's because we are in a foreign land! And just like any international trip, it is important to understand the culture and the language, you do want to find ways to communicate and impact people. But that doesn't mean you want to give up your citizenship to do so.
So this tension that I feel, this wrestling, struggling, stressing to fit in? It is to be expected. But I have also been given permission to let it go. I have been given permission to stop trying so hard and just be Sarah.
WHAT A HUGE RELIEF!
There is freedom in this, wonderful, delicious freedom. I am amazed that our God could love us this much! So next time you see me, just keep in mind that I am doing my best not to fit in. It's just the way I roll now.