“I was built this way for a reason, so I’m going to use it.”
I’ve never been great at following rules. I’ve always had a certain disdain for authoritarian figures who seem to merely force me into submission and obedience without explaining why their way is so right and so important in the first place.
My mom used to tell stories about my childhood and how strong-willed and hard headed I was. She went out and purchased the book “The Strong Willed Child” when I was barely 2 years old. When I was asked not to touch the light socket, I stared at her directly in the face while slyly reaching my fingers out to touch the light socket behind my back. I recognize that this was a normal part of my development and that I was learning to test boundaries, but it seems to be something that has stuck with me most of my life.
I wasn’t this way all the time, everywhere. In fact, I hated getting into trouble at school. And I always was kind and polite. Being rebellious and kind aren’t mutually exclusive.
In fact, in elementary school I was voted (by my fellow classmates) as “The Kindest Student in the Class” two years in a row! Do you know what the prize was for that award? You were invited to a party with the other “kind kids” at the Vice Principal’s mansion somewhere near the Hollywood Hills! We got to swim in her pool, eat tons of cookies and slide down the fireman’s pole she had in her floor to ceiling library! So, yea, I wasn’t a total hooligan.
I often think about my mother-in-love (that’s what I called my husband’s mother, Eunie, until she passed recently). I never met someone who was so in love with Jesus, hung on every Word of scripture for dear life, served and cared for everyone around her first before herself. But anyone who knew her lovingly referred to her as “wild” or “crazy” or “insane”. She even earned the nickname “Loony Eunie”. In high school, she was my drama teacher, my PE teacher and my Student Leadership teacher. She’d have a group of us girls go on excursions to the mall with her, wherein we’d each have a “dare” or “challenge” we’d have to accomplish. She called it character building. We called it devastatingly embarrassing. Once, my challenge was to stick an uncooked spiral pasta noodle up my nose so that half of it was hanging out. I had to go up to the cashier at the bookstore and ask if they had any books on pasta (pictured above). I will never forget the thrill I got after overcoming my fear of humiliation and heading back to the group of girls with my book on pasta, smiling proudly with the noodle still hanging out of my nose. They laughed and cheered and congratulated me on my straight faced prank.
This was only one story amongst about a thousand others where this incredible, wild, silly woman brought joy and laughter to those around her. Nothing she ever did was without purpose. She wasn’t wild and rebellious without a reason. She was unconventional and unapologetic. She instilled in me at a very young and vulnerable age that an unbridled, wild heart could bring others to a place of enhanced Godly confidence. She was so FREE. She taught me not to take everything in life so seriously. She taught me that being a woman utterly in love with Jesus did not mean I was called to live a boring, cookie cutter, rule following, existence. She had a testimony about her own past where her wild rebellion caused her to make some poor decisions that were spiritually and emotionally harmful to her. This is a constant, daily the struggle for those of us who don’t like to follow the rules. Sometimes that’s okay, but often we can get carried away and breeze past all the rules. Even the ones that are good for us. Even the ones that are there to protect us. We need to learn the difference.
Having a strong will can be wonderful, if you are stronger in God’s will than your own.
We are all built this way (or born this way, if you wanna get pop culture right now) for a reason. We are on a journey to discover that reason. However, we can get off track during that journey and waste our energy pouring ourself into the wrong things and the wrong people.
When I was seeking professional counseling many years ago, my therapist encouraged me to write a memoir of my life, penning all the traumatic, memorable, difficult times that I could remember. It would be healing for me to face those things head on. It would be a way for me to process my emotions and pinpoint some areas that affected me long term. Why was I afraid of certain things? Why had I made bad choices (the same choices) over and over again? I divided these memoirs topically, discovering that the largest section of memories (the first section that I’ll begin to share with you next week) is something that as women, we hard core struggle with. It is something I really have struggled with.
Enough of the guessing. Let’s be real….it’s about the boys. And what goes hand in hand with the opposite sex? Sexuality. It’s a two parter. That’s right, I’m going there. Buckle up.