When it comes to looking at other female Christians, I’ve always felt like an outsider. Through the lens of my “doo doo” eyes, these females tend to be white, wholesome, and happy. Now that I run with the 30 and older crowd, they also have babies or toddlers. I tell myself I’d die if I were a mommy blogger. I don’t mind being a blogger who happens to be a mom but adding “mommy blogger” to my job description would just about kill me.
Or maybe not. Because I have no problem being a sellout because I am that desperate for acceptance. On a forum I frequent, someone posted a link to a job description as a reporter for a popular politically conservative website. I’m not particularly conservative politically but I’m not liberal enough for the Huffington Post either. But I’d spout conservative principles if I had to just for the opportunity to write for a living. Unfortunately, on the liberal side, I’d only go so far since the abortion issue is a big problem for me. If I could blog as a pro-life liberal, I’d be okay on that end.
My counselor in Kentucky used to say to me and my husband, “People desire two things in life: to be right and to be accepted.” I so would prefer to be accepted than to be right. If all the conservatives hated my political views but thought I was an otherwise cool chick, I’d be ecstatic. I don’t care if my friends think I’m a total idiot as long as they love me anyway.
The only time I’ve ever felt accepted by a group in my entire life was when I joined a sorority at the first (secular) college I attended. In a sense, I feel like I earned the ability to be accepted. I left the college shortly after so my feeling of acceptance by my sorority sisters was short-lived.
The feeling of acceptance decreased ever since. I attended a fundie Christian college for a few years where I stood out like a sore thumb in various ways: my shirts were too tight or too see-through (even though I didn’t think they were all that bad); I didn’t have a plethora of skirts or dresses I could rotate through; I didn’t look or think as wholesome as those other homeschooled Christian girls; I wasn’t as naive (or maybe I was). I moved joyfully to the melody of hymns during church services while the few friends I had desperately crowded around me to make sure I didn’t get in trouble for moving in time to the rhythm of the music. (I called myself “Bapticostal” during that time.) What was wrong with dancing to music? Didn’t David dance joyfully while worshiping the Lord? Gosh, I was such a freak.
I still think of myself as a freak. I look at potential Christian women’s conferences I want to attend and see the sea of Caucasian faces and freak out—last thing I want to do is be a trailblazer. I’m not trying to be Rosa Parks here, ok? I visit various female blogs in the attempt to find someone I can identify with and stumble across mommy blogger after mommy blogger. And each mommy blogger proudly displays photos of her children prominently throughout her site. (I have the funny feeling my kids are going to think I’m ashamed of them.) And this is another place where I feel a gap. There are in a stage of life that I am not in. I am childless and have never enjoyed the joys of motherhood. I am lost, inadvertently feeling shut out and denied acceptance to another club once again.
And sometimes there is this feeling of non-acceptance from God. I know it’s not true but my mind likes to believe falsehood. I get the sense that I’ll never be a mother simply because I’ve never been in a position of leadership. And heaven knows that being a mother forces you to exert some kind of leadership whether she likes it or not. A mother who isn’t leading her children—influencing and directing them in some way—isn’t being a good mother.
I desire to be a leader. I’m just not called to be. Maybe it’s because I’m bad at it. Maybe God hasn’t given me that gift. Maybe I’m just doomed to always being a follower… part of the sheeple of some kind. I like to think I’m better than I really am and then I come to the sudden realization that I’m never as good as I think I am, always worse. I’m an awful, horrible, sinful creature who envies aspects of other people’s lives and can never amount to doing good as much as she wants to. When Christianity teaches that our righteousness are as filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6), I really get that. Perhaps that’s why Christianity resonates with me so much. Some people come from the perspective that humans are inherently good but corrupted by evil in the world. No, no, I’m with Christian teaching on this: I *get* that humans are inherently evil and are fortunate that they have the capability of doing good. I am a wicked, lousy sinner who deserves hell. You’ve got me pegged.
You can also tell me that God has chosen to redeem me because of His goodness, because of His grace, because of His mercy. That’s okay too since we’re talking about attributes of God and not about me.
Then these same Christians come along to tell me I’ve got worth and that I’m fearfully and wonderfully made. WHAT? Wicked, unrighteous sinner me who is in need of judgment and condemnation has worth and value? Now, you’ve lost me. You’ve totally lost me.
I think I’ve been told belittling myself is a form of pride clothed in false humility. Maybe. Belittling myself is the only way I know how to accept myself.
When I tell myself that I’m stupid, that I’m a freak, that no one likes me… maybe they’re all lies but they feel true. Maybe if I believe those lies enough, they’ll become real and everyone will go away. Maybe I desperately want people to accept me knowing that they can’t and never will. How’s that for reverse psychology?
Do I love what Christianity offers me more than I love Christ? That’s very true as well. But I also have this very skewed perception of myself. A perception of myself that I absolutely loathe and hate but accept and tolerate.
On my other blog, Depression Introspection, I wrote a post on “The psychology behind sabotaging a mildly successful blog.” One commenter posted:
“Talk to yourself like you would a friend. Would you say those things to your friend?” – Kimi H.
If I talked to my friends or my husband, the way I talked to myself, I’d be one very lonely person. And maybe in the end, that’s really all I want. To just be very, very lonely. I already feel that way. Might as well make it true.
As a teen, I’d always reassure myself that I would purposely reject myself because when others rejected me, it wouldn’t make me feel so bad. It’s always much worse to hope that someone reaches out to you, see that they never do, and realize you’ve been inadvertently rejected even if they’re not aware of it.
Which brings me to the idea of quitting social networks like Facebook and Twitter. I’d like to do it. Maybe I’ll bring myself to do it sometime within the next 40 days. I crave acceptance. My mood hinges on whether people respond to me or completely ignore me. It’s stupid and it’s not a way to live my life. I’m sure I’ll go through Twitter withdrawal but I simply do not appear to have the capability of listening to others. I always feel the need to be part of the conversation. Perhaps cutting myself off from social networking will be my away of attempting to just listen instead of needing to speak.
And maybe that’s the problem all along. I always feel the need to speak and need to just listen.
“Be still and know that I am God.” —Psalm 46:10.
God, NOT COOL. Don’t you know I’m a mover and a shaker?