“Home”

I heard this song while I was coming back to Cedarville from The PEER Center: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o9HUV2ZKWJw

I have a problem identifying a “home”.  If you want to send me mail, my address is to Custodial Services at the University where I work.  I pay rent to live at another address.  The home where I grew up is in PA.  My mom lives at another address in PA.  So, where is my “home”?  I thought as I was leaving The PEER Center that in some ways I was leaving a “home” of sorts.  This can be confusing when anytime I leave to go somewhere I say I am going home.

I sleep in Cedarville.  It has also been a place of significant growth.  I lived in Butler, PA for 18 years.  I find support, understanding and acceptance at The PEER Center.  All of these places thus qualify as a “home”.

Maybe I am crazy to want to define “home” as one specific place.  It’s just when I listen to the song “Homesick” by Mercy Me, I long for the home that it describes.  I get that the song may be referring to heaven, but I am talking about a home on earth.  Where is it exactly that I belong?

I epitomize being a 20-something trying to figure out who I am, where I am going, and what in heavens name I am going to do with my life.  I am in this transition summer.  I have this deadline in two months where I have to find an apartment somewhere and a job.  Yet, I have a job and I have a place to stay now.

I am torn between setting down roots and connecting with those around me and the knowledge that I intend to move in two months.  But, I feel that still small voice telling me to bloom where I am planted.  What’s with God asking the person who struggles to build relationships for fear of abandonment to build relationships where I know I will be the one leaving?

While I was thinking about the song “I’m Going Home” by Chris Daughtry, I came to the conclusion that maybe “home” is right where the Lord and I are at, at any given moment.  Maybe “home” is being satisfied and present in the moment, all the while recognizing that nowhere on this earth is truly my “home”. 

So here I go getting involved in connected with my church and other various programs in the local community…. being “home” where the Lord and I are at.

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Perfectionism and Ungrace: The Art of Getting Stuck

Do you ever wake up in the morning trying to figure out what you did wrong or why you should feel bad?  I know I am not the only one because my counselor told me that she has asked her husband what she was worrying about the night before.  Most mornings, I wake up with this gnawing sense that something is wrong.  I should feel something negative.  I run through my list of sins.  Sometimes I gave in to one unhealthy coping strategy or another.   Generally, if I fail in one I fail in others.  When I remember what I have done, I start the self-bashing. which in counseling terms is “negative self talk”.  I know how to respond in this situation…. with my identity in Christ.  I am forgiven, a masterpiece, fearfully and wonderfully made, loved, etc.  In these times, I am reminded that my sin, although it is sin, does not change my identity.  Thus, I can put away my bashing stick.

Even on mornings when I can’t find any sin that I did wrong.  I should be grateful that I didn’t give in to my temptations, praising God for his faithfulness…. and yet, that’s not quite my attitude.  There’s just something in me that says, I am just not good enough.  Despite my knowledge that I am imperfect, I just want to prove that I can do something flawlessly.  Maybe I could be the perfect client… that one went down the drain.  Maybe I could be the perfect student… I am not the one who received the perfect GPA award.  Maybe I could be the perfect student intern… but then I didn’t finish my work and I have so much to learn.  Maybe I could be the perfect singer… but dear God, I HATE practicing and very few people tell me that I am good anymore.  Maybe I could be the perfect tenant… but sometimes my room isn’t perfectly clean.  Maybe I could be perfect at taking care of my car… but the gas idiot light is on, frequently and I didn’t change the oil for how many thousand miles?

Maybe I can’t be perfect.

Maybe what I really need is grace.

But then I want to go off saying, I have to read the book about grace, understanding everything perfectly and implementing every concept to my life, flawlessly.   If you want to see what I am perfect at…. ungrace.

All of this ungrace and desire for perfection, it’s all about control.  I lost control a long time ago in various situations.  I couldn’t control my sister’s actions, my mom, my dad’s death, my family’s financial struggle, my own movement toward puberty, or change, among other things.  I have tried to control myself and the people around me. The mental health world even has a name for it, Borderline Personality Disorder.  I have controlled myself right into the DSM.

I don’t have a happy ending to write here.  While I could say that I have been in therapy working on my issues, gotten somewhere and that I recognize God’s grace and will embrace it, that’s not really an honest assessment of recovery.  I am not Paul where I just saw a blinding light and immediately I followed Christ.  My recovery from trauma, BPD and perfectionism is and will continue to be a struggle with new and old struggles coming up.  I have experienced mountain tops: the day after I turned sixteen, when I passed my driver’s test, when I graduated high school, when I graduated from college, when I could walk away from the end of counseling with tears in my eyes but confidently moving forward anyways…. But I have also experienced the valleys in between:  attention seeking, suicide, depression, cutting, eating disorders, crying myself to sleep, begging God for death and being angry when he made me live.  So from my very limited experience, I know this is a journey and I am not done now.  I will fall and fail, but I will get up and continue to move onward focusing on the prize, which is Christ Jesus with the wholeness that he brings.