A few of my friends call me Dory. And only a few.
Why Dory? Well, have you ever seen the movie, Finding Nemo?
Here’s a story about all of that.
Yesterday was a day of spiritual pruning. Remember I told you Donald Miller’s book kind of cracked me open? Well, it cracked me wide open. And upon being cracked, I’ve become more aware of why it is that I fear intimate relationships. I’m sure there are a handful of reasons, but here’s the overarching doozy – I’ve got a bucket of lies that tell me I’m unloveable. I don’t fall into the deathly trap of these lies very often, but when I do it takes some serious energy to pull myself back out. These lies are suctioned to a few of my personality/character traits and Jesus wants to prune back all this dead that drags me down.
As the day went on the buried lies slowly began to unearth themselves. That’s when I had an idea. I was going to name these lies. And then I was going to release them. And, because I like to do things big or not at all, I was going to name them and release them in the most ultra-spiriutal way I could think of.
I deliberated over my appointment with liberation for what seemed like hours. I even prayed about it. After a while, I turned to Netflix for inspiration, which decided to strike by way of the incredible film The Way. In this film I found my name and release.
I was going to write on rocks the sneaky hidden lies that spontaneously and very rudely intrude upon my usually humbly confident heart. And then I was going to carry them with me on a grand hike. And then I was going to give each rock one final ‘F-you’ by tossing them over a giant cliff where they would plummet to the base below, shattering to a million little pieces until they reached their final death.
An ultra-spiritual exercise of epic proportions.
This morning I woke with great anticipation for my courageous name and release pilgrimage. I poured my coffee, walked to the rose garden where I’d gather my rocks, and quietly prayed. “Lord, what are the specific lies that tell me I’m unloveable?” There were 7 different things that came to mind. 7 different personality traits that are, in fact, true of me, but on moments of weakness they mutate into my own personal demons.
Here are the 7 things that are true of me, the 7 things that I tend to think are unlovable:
- I am an internal processor
- I am a slow, deliberate thinker
- I have body image issues and interesting eating habits
- Sometimes I have anxiety
- Sometimes I have depression
- I am an extremist
- I forget things
When you look at the list in and of itself you might wonder, “Why would I think these traits are unloveable?” That’s a good question. I’m not sure myself. I think it’s tethered to societal expectations and a demonstrative game of spiritual warfare. This demonstrative bastard tells myself things like, “Internal processors are boring. Residue from past eating disorder is, well, a little too batshit crazy. Hey Ms. Extreme, do you have to run so many miles? Do you have to re-landscape an entire yard in a day – chill out!. And hey, Forgetful Franny, you think some guy wants to tell you the same story 5 different times, or help you find your keys every time you lose them or lock them in your car….” On and on it goes. I know this all sounds crazy. But hey, don’t judge. We’re all a little crazy.
Ok, back to the rocks. 7 different lies. I need 7 different rocks. I picked the perfect 7 rocks and took them inside. Washed them off nice and clean, and wrote 1 lie per rock.
1.) Extremist 2.) Deliberate/Slow Thinker. 3.) Anxiety 4.) Depression 5.) Body Image/Eating Habits 6.)Internal Processor…. Pause…. Pause… Shoot, what was the 7th lie? Lord Jesus, help me remember. I thought slowly and intentionally. Oh yes! ‘Feeler’. I feel things way too deeply. [Dude. I know. Just keep reading]
I felt liberated already. I made my way to the hiking trail and since I’m an extremist, I decided to take the most difficult trail first. Up, and up, and up I hiked. My muscles burned and I loved it. I felt like a spiritual bad ass. I imagined how free and powerful and lovable I was going to feel once I tossed the rocks over the edge. Up, and up, and up. Frick I can’t wait to ditch these rocks, the extra 1.5 pounds are really weighing me down. When I finally did make it to the top, something didn’t feel quite right. This wasn’t the place. I didn’t want to release the rocks at this summit. So I continued hiking. And as I was hiking I was thinking about something of no real significance and within that thought process I had an ADD moment [the specifics of the moment matter none at all]. In that moment of great attention deficit I thought of how this bizarre little ‘disorder’ sometimes manifests itself in forgetfulness. “Shit, what if a man won’t love me because I’m ADD? And what about the fact that I…. that I…. forget things.”
I paused in my tracks.
Good grief. I forget things. THAT was the 7th lie! It wasn’t ‘feeler’ after all (although that is, unfortunately, lie #8). And right in the middle of the hiking trail, I laughed. And then I laughed again. The more I laughed the more liberated I became. And throughout the rest of my ultra-spiriutal hike, I continued to laugh. You see, normally I would have used this moment of enlightenment as a reason for unrelenting self-criticism. Instead, what I felt for myself was an immeasurable amount of love. And compassion. And THAT was liberating.
Within seconds I came to realize that I don’t want to toss these rocks over the cliff at all. Because to toss them is to discredit who I am, and I think that would grieve the heart of God. You see, under the light of truth, these things about myself – these things that my brain (and the weight of societal expectations and the one who seeks to kill and destroy me) twists into sleezy lies, are actually really beautiful things. I don’t want to rid myself of them. They are gifts.
Instead, I laid each rock out on a fence (this time there were 8). Prayed over each one. Re-collected them and took them home with me. I don’t ever want to lose them.
The fact is, I love that I’m an internal processor. It doesn’t mean I’m boring. It’s what makes me a really good listener and a fantastic professor. In a world of quick criticism and mindlessness, I want to hang onto the fact that I am a deliberate thinker. I want to breathe more life into it, for it’s the very thing that gives me great depth and insight. And the anxiety/depression thing? Well even those have their perks – for they are often the source of my creativity. Yes, I am a high feeler. But the beauty of that is I truly enjoy life with an intensity that many people only long for. I’m an extremist, it’s true. But I like this about myself. For with it, I’ve helped make really ugly yards into spaces Better Homes and Gardens would rave about, I’ve run countless marathons and ultra marathons, and I’ve finished 3 different rounds of higher education (and I can’t wait to go back for more). Being an extremist does have it’s bonuses. And my body image issues/eating habits…. well, this is just part of my story. I’ve seen God use this particular piece in ways that tenderly minister to others, and I really don’t want to lose that.
And the forgetful thing – the thing I can feel most insecure about? Well, that just is what it is. Those who call me Dory do so with an incredibly affectionate tone. They are the ones who, before I leave their home, help to ensure I have my keys, my water bottle, my glasses, my chapstick… everything I usually carry with me. If my totally amazing and wonderful friends can embrace this in me, who the hell am I not to do the same?