interiorly/exteriorly

so. it’s been a really, really long time since I’ve written. I’m not too sure what’s brought me back here tonight. Maybe it’s the fact that it’s past 2am and I’m still awake. Maybe it’s a certain feeling that I’m slipping and sliding down into… what? into something that might escalate into an out-of-control spiral of not-good-ness. you can always tell the state of my mind by the physical state of my room, and let me tell you, it is currently well on the way to disaster.

So today’s prompt was interesting to me. I recently signed up for School of Witness, an 8 week, live-in discipleship school run by the Office for Young People of our archdiocese. so of course people asked what made me sign up, and usually I tell them how my best friend kinda sprung it on me, and how me signing up was my birthday gift to him. and all that is true, but that doesn’t really answer the why.

I guess I’m searching for something. I was texting a friend earlier about vocation, and one of the things I thought of saying to him was, “God is clearly calling you to something. It’s just about the journey of discovering what He’s calling you to.” And as I thought about it, i realise that pretty much answers the question. Why did I sign up? I guess because I keep feeling that God is calling me to something. I strongly believe it. But I can’t seem to find what that something is. And somehow that search has left me a bit broken, downcast, tired out and lacking fire. Somehow I’ve ended up not wanting to search anymore, ended up fleeing back to old comfort zones and old ideas of who I am and the limits of who I could be.

but the thing is, much as I try, I can’t completely erase God from my life. That hunger, that longing to know the answer, that knowledge that I’m called to something more, no matter how deep I bury it, it’s still there, inside. I can’t pretend that that God-shaped hole isn’t there inside me. Of course, I could try to pretend that the hole is just a hole, the same hole that everyone experiences, even if they don’t show it on the outside. But that’s the thing. All of us thirst for God, whether we know it or not, whether we admit it or not. At least that’s what I believe. And I can’t seem to un-believe it. Something about that simple truth resonated so much when I learnt it, that no matter how difficult life is when I do believe, I simply cannot un-know it.

And I’m grateful. Grateful even as I say that sometimes I wish I could un-know God. because I know that if that day ever came, I’d be lost. I feel lost now, but it’s nothing compared to how lost I would be if one day I lost the grace of faith.

So I guess it’s that struggle, that constant inner struggle, that’s pushed me to sign up, without thinking, without overcomplicating. I know it’s there. The struggle is constantly there. And it’s not that I think that going for this camp will make that struggle go away. I’ll probably always struggle, in so many ways. Always fighting with God, always not trusting Him despite all the experiences I’ve had and I’ve witnessed in others. But I’m trying to accept that this is part of our relationship, and to continue working on it. Wow, it almost makes me feel like I could one day be whole enough to try having a relationship with a real human being. *rolls eyes* but that’s a whole other issue story.

Gosh, I actually only brought up School of Witness as context to something else entirely. Talk about digressing. Let’s see if I can actually write about that now haha, at the risk of making this completely too long and unreadable.

So I’m actually pretty terrified of what I’ll find when I’m at School, and one aspect is what I might find when I look into my past. I think I’ve changed and grown so much in the last 1-2 years, and then also in the 3-5 years prior to that, that sometimes, I almost forget what it was like being younger and more lost, forget what I was like those years ago. And I do have a tendency to gloss over bad times in my memory. So I’ve been trying to think back on my past, in a way to try to prepare myself a bit and not get too much of a traumatic shock when stuff comes up that I’d completely forgotten about or buried.

And one of the things I thought about was how much I struggled to be authentic and accepted at the same time, when I was a child especially. I think I’m so used to being comfortable in my own skin that I’ve almost forgotten that it wasn’t always this way, what it felt like, what I was like. And it makes me feel – how authentic can I really be, as who I am today, if I don’t even remember my own past? Who I used to be is part of who I am today, and I don’t mean it in a good or bad way, but just as a matter of fact way. It’s part of the journey that led me to who I am today, and understanding the path that I took helps me to understand how I got here, and where I am, better.

I can’t remember exactly when it started to be important to me, but I do remember when it was that someone said the word “authenticity”, and it just clicked. It was our first Core Leaders Retreat – basically, the core team members of the various ministries in our youth community come together for a retreat to work on ourselves and our relationship with God. And I was in my very first experience of personal spiritual direction, with a really, really excellent director. And he said to me after listening to me just pour everything out, that he could feel that authenticity was something very important to me. Before that point, what I felt had no name, and I had never even thought to name it. But when he named it, that helped me so much with that aspect of my identity.

It also helped me balance better this struggle I have with showing on the outside how I feel on the inside. I used to feel (without being able to put it in words) like “truly authentic” people need to just be basically no filter people, showing on the outside exactly what they are on the inside. And so, unknowingly, that’s what I tried to be, but of course it was a disaster. First of all, I didn’t know myself at all, and so there was dissonance between what I was showing exteriorly and who I thought I was interiorly. This dissonance wasn’t because I was being inauthentic, but because I lacked awareness, both of who I was on the inside and of what I was projecting on the outside. And secondly, it’s generally a disaster if we just express exactly what we think and feel without consideration. Especially when it actually becomes an obstacle to communicating what we are actually feeling. Sometimes I wish people weren’t so complicated haha.

Ok, I feel like i’m starting (only starting? haha) to become a bit too longwinded and preachy, so I’m going to stop myself here. It’s been a good few days, and I’m just going to allow myself to appreciate it while it lasts and take one step at a time. Hope the new year is treating all of you guys well too 🙂

via Daily Prompt: Interior

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