We sat nuzzled on a baby blue couch at one of my favorite local coffee shops with our coffee and honeybee lattes, and out came the words that have been plaguing many of my conversations for the last six months. I have been feeling strangely rebellious and reckless lately. Rebellious and reckless. Those “R” words that send chills up any parent’s spine, causing them to shudder. Those words which have nothing but adverse connotations. But for me, it hasn’t been negative. It has been growth. And I needed to step out of everything I’ve known for almost my entire life, in order to bring me back to the basics.
Sometimes, you need to go against yourself in order to understand why you’ve been living the way you have.
It has been a long journey and process thus far and I can only imagine it progressing. But I grew up in the church, fully committing my life to Christ when I was in the seventh grade when I finally understood that pursuing a relationship with the big dude upstairs was not about religion at all; it is a lifestyle and it is about choices. But then Sunday school taught us all the rules and what we were supposed to do and avoid doing, small groups told us not to date until we were 23 because Joshua Harris said that “Kissing Dating Goodbye” was the way to go, sermons encouraged us to constantly practice servanthood, and the lessons and workshops on evangelism were never ending because everyone should be skilled in that category of ministry. And just like every junior high/high school Christian kid obsessed with the Contemporary Christian Music scene and was “passionately pursuing Jesus,” I knew every DC Talk and Audio Adrenaline song like the back of my hand because obviously, it was all the rage and those were the tunes everyone should have been listening to. It sounds crazy—all the do and do not’s. But it was structure, and when you’re a thirteen year old getting introduced into this insane and broken world, structure is a good thing and it all made sense. Sure, I have had my share of puberty angst. Who really didn’t? But at the end of the day, there was always something to come back to, and it was much needed and good.
Then you get older, your mind expands, and there’s this realization that life is a completely different ball game—New concepts, new circumstances, more brokenness and the ability to process deeper.
There’s so much talk about the black and white, but no one ever wants to tap into the gray.
Don’t get me wrong. There isn’t one bone in my body that doesn’t believe in God’s existence—in His love and grace. Because I have been through my share of life events where all those things have been shown to be in such a way. But when you’ve known the same thing and have been in a place for so long, you begin to crave freshness and renewal. And if you’re me, you begin to want to understand why and you want to challenge yourself. Core values aside, I want a greater understanding of Christ. I want to dig graver into knowing why I do the things I do, and believe in what I believe. Because those things that were once ingrained in me, the black and the white and the chalk lines I’ve set for myself for as long as I can remember, they’re beginning to blur.
I’m straddling the line. I am done and slowly moving away with being cookie cutter maintaining a front, trying to strive for perfection even though it doesn’t exist. I have questions. I want to tap into the gray.
So that’s what I’ve been doing. I’ve been doing a lot of processing and maybe a bit of changing. I am thinking differently and more critically about fitness and fashion and purpose and church and relationships. Especially relationships. And in the course of it all, I have had a plethora of comments and challenges from the people around me. But I guess that happens when you’re testing your limits, re-evaluating your values, re-establishing what you truly believe in, and asking what’s really wrong and what’s really right. People are uncomfortable because it’s different. Frick, I’m uncomfortable even writing all this because I imagine everyone thinks I’m going cuckoo and I have no idea what I’m getting myself into. Maybe I don’t. But I’m thinking I’m going to have to be okay with all the chatter because I’m seeking answers and questioning actions, and all the things I was ever taught and exposed to. And that kind of growth needs to happen.
Everything is strange because you’re going against your own being.
Rebellion and recklessness only feels that way because all of a sudden, you’re stepping out of those boundaries you’ve falsely created for yourself.
It’s 5:30am. I have words, and they need to flow. The gentle breeze is creeping in through my cracked windows, and I’m sitting in silence typing away holding back tears from streaming down my face. I don’t even know why I’m feeling the early morning cries. Maybe it’s because I am nothing shy of afraid. I’m afraid of what I might find out about myself or how my world could potentially be rocked, and I won’t even know what hit me. Maybe it’s because I’m uncomfortable and nothing makes me squirmier than being withdrawn from what I’ve always known. Or perhaps, it’s feeling like I don’t fit in anywhere even though I was created to break the mold.
I guess this is what I’m trying to say: I’m figuring out what it looks like to be tossing out the rulebook that has been living inside of me like a map for so long. I can no longer fully rely on it to navigate, because maps are seriously outdated. I’m road tripping it with God, playing some things by ear and seeing what gives. And if I’m being honest, all this is scary as hell.