Sunday, May 05, 2013

Making Enemies

I used to pride myself on having no enemies.  I sometimes still do find myself comparing myself to people who seem to always be in fights and arguments with people, always in some kind of war with people on one side and others thrown on the other.  But I don't think not having enemies is such a good thing anymore.  In fact, it concerns me.

Why?  Jesus had enemies.  Jesus is the prime example that if you live your life truly and authentically, and even if you do it all right and never sin, you will be hated by people.  The other reason, in line with this, is that the more I understand myself the more I see how much of my life has been spent unconsiously avoiding situations that could potentially trigger feelings of pain and anger related to rejection.  Don't wanna feel that, so instead I throw a wet-blanket over myself, smile, and be nice and compliant.

But in the meantime I lose myself.  I don't just lose the bad feelings, I lose the good ones, too.  I lose my passion and dreams, my life and my shine.  I lose myself in trying to manage outcomes and keep the machinery of my life going the way I hope it will, I lose myself to the torturous prison of worry and control, trying to make sure everyone is happy with me yet cringing inside at how I know few people who know me actually respect me.  They know me differently.  They see a person who has spent years always being nice, garnering support from the masses with how "nice" he is, and yet at home I can switch from being compliant and sweet to argumentative, withdrawn, sullen, and angry.

Why?  Because living behind a mask sucks.  All that energy you hide has to go somewhere eventually.  And how can you really feel happy when you swallow all those negative feelings down into your own belly every day?  Yum!  Yet everyone wears masks to some degree, though maybe not masks I have worn.

No, I don't think the solution is to be a jerk or to not care about what people think.  I've met plenty of people who at least claim and appear to not care about what others think, and many times they can be callous and insensitive and arrogant.  Their "not-caring" about what others think flows out of an angry dismissal of others.  It flows from a wound, not from health.  It shows how much you do care about what others, usually certain people in particular, think about you, but you still carry the hurt around like a weight you will not put down.  Why trade one mask for another?  They both just torture you.

I obviously don't think the solution is to find ways to make more enemies.  That would be a simplistic answer to a deeper problem.  You cannot do symptom management.  You cannot try to offset one bad effect by balancing it out with the opposite effect.  That doesn't really work, and how would you ever really know if you were balancing them well?  "Hmm... it has been two weeks since I've had an argument.  I'd better pick a fight and find some innocuous thing to stand for and argue about."

I offer no formula to answer this.  I merely point out the problem and hope to show the desired destination -to be like Jesus.  He was not controlled by the opinions of others, yet He was not callous or unfeeling.  He was not a balance between the two.  He operated in a totally different realm.  He was free, fully Himself, fully who God made Him to be. 

All I know is that is where I want to be, not just because it is free but because He is there.  It won't be roses.  Life won't be easier.  It may be harder.  But it will be better, and I will not be alone, for that is where my Friend walks in the cool of the evening breeze.

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