Disengaged

Still haven’t decided if I’m going to write that post about every song on Adele’s new album. I feel like I will, but I’m not sure yet.

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The other day I was thinking about how disengaged I become when I’m here at my parent’s house.

It’s like all my stress just melts away and I become this care-free, chill, happy person. I had a passing thought to this effect the other day, but now I wonder a little more about it.

A friend from NYC who’s currently spending the holiday back home in Chi-town sent me a text and I was a little stunned. First off, I didn’t really expect to hear from her because I’m at my house and she’s at her house so I just assumed we wouldn’t talk again until one or both of us was back on the East Side. But instead, she sent me this text.

I haven’t responded to it yet for a few reasons. 1) I feel way less obligated to immediately respond to texts than I did a few years ago, 2)  I haven’t done the thing her text implied I should do, and 3) I feel so far removed from her and basically everyone who isn’t a member of my family.

That third thing is the weirdest thing. I imagine the last time I felt this way was in high school and I don’t know if that’s a good thing or not. I still care about my friends and really want to see and reconnect with them when I go back to the city next week, but I feel really distant. I’m at an odd place in my life where I’m really excited for what’s next but I’m kind of looking over my shoulder to make sure I’m not being set up.

Last week (has it only been a week? It feels like a lifetime), I was really proud of myself for making a decision I hadn’t been able to make for a while. I didn’t feel proud because I’m a sociopath (that always needs clarification) but because I knew I was finally more willing to let go of idols and choose God than I had ever been before. And that was a really cool feeling. But I’m also realizing that there are other idols I need to get rid of and those idols may be harder to separate myself from.

My self is one of my biggest idols. I guess people sometimes call this pride but for me it tends to be pride in the other direction. I have this obsession with harping on my faults and flaws. I constantly think about what I’ve done or am doing wrong, why I’m unworthy, why I’ll never be worthy, and why I don’t deserve anything. But when I’m with my family, I can’t do that. I can’t sit around thinking about all my shortcomings because everyone here is constantly undermining the notion that I’m a failure (words of affirmation = my love language).

In any case, I want to strike a balance between engagement and idolatry. When I’m super engaged I idolize my relationships with people and my flaws and when I’m not at all engaged I idolize nothing (literally nothing. Not even God). Clearly, both states are bad. And both states are pretty driven by fear.

So, I’m going to start with God because He’s always the best person to start with. I’ll see what follows. I’ll see what gets torn down and rebuilt along the way. I’ll see where I end up. But that’s where I’ll start. Or at least try.

In honor of a new start*, here’s my favorite Bible verse, which is fitting for almost all occasions but especially for this one:

“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

DJP

*I wanted to include a video reference to the Arrested Development joke about “anus tart” here but there was no video that properly set the joke up and delivered the punchline. Suffice it to say that it was a great joke, as most Arrested Development jokes are.

 

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