Quarantine has given me a lot of time to think. These past few months have been a suckerpunch. But, on the other hand, I have been reflecting a lot on who I am in the larger sense of the world, and who I am in regards to my relationships to others, and especially who I am in regards to my faith.
Ultimately, I have been so consumed with focusing on who others want me to be, how I measure up, and who I can be to fit others’ expectations, that I feel I don’t really have a true sense of self. Okay, let me say it a different way: there are things I know that I like, that are easy to explain — I like crafts, I like low art like cartoons and comic books, I like romance novels… and there are things that I know I don’t like, which are also easy to explain–I don’t like sporting events, I don’t like literary or artistic elitism, I don’t like dressing on my salad.
Then there are things that I know I like that are harder to explain: I like being liberal. I like being part of a church family, and I also like my identity as a queer woman. I like being with my family. I like trying to keep positive in the face of adversity.
There are also things I know I don’t like that are harder to explain, that often leave me tongue-tied, and trying to backpedal: I don’t like to drink. I have no desire to smoke, ever. I don’t like change. I don’t like it when people criticize my sense of humor, because even though I know I sometimes struggle to get the joke, I also think I am pretty funny. LOL.
I know that I am a complex person, but I also don’t want to continue this life basing who I am off of what I hope other people will like. In my faith journey I have seen many Christians with a powerful, deep, unshakeable faith — no two look alike, and no two had the same journey to God. I think I’ve been so afraid to take the leap and truly devote myself to Christ because I am afraid of all the stereotypes that go along with it, that I have to look and talk a certain way. But ultimately, it’s not about the juvenile, prejudiced, skewed perception of Christians that I’ve long held, or that others have held. It’s not even about the perceptions that I’ve held or that others have held of the Church. It’s about Jesus, walking with Him and devoting oneself to Him.
I’ve been waffling on this for so long! I’ve had these perceptions that I couldn’t be a bisexual woman and Christian, that I couldn’t be liberal and Christian, that I couldn’t write my truth and be Christian. But all of these things are me, and all of these things are seen in Christ. He has to be my top priority. No earthly desire for the admiration of others can stop His prevailing love.
I’ve been praying, “Lord, help me, save me” for years — since I returned to my faith studying abroad in Oxford. Since then, I have been feeling such indecision and such anxiety, especially lately as this pandemic grips the country — but ultimately, I am leaning in to God. My prayers have been answered with an inner peace that only God can grant. I know I am seen and heard.
So, here’s to the next re-invention. I don’t know what I will look like when quarantine is lifted and we walk bravely on into the new normal. I don’t know a lot of things – but that’s okay. I don’t need to know everything. I only need to know more of Him.