Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Uncharted territory

I was having a chat with a friend when seemingly out of the blue, she referred to me as a pioneer, someone who blazes a trail for others to follow, where there are no footprints as yet.  The term surprised me because I hadn't thought of myself like that.  But in a way, it seemed to fit. I have been on a journey and at times it has seemed like I am the only one, traveling through thick woods, slicing out (as if with a machete) a path just big enough for me to see a place to put my foot for the next step.  

And all the time I'm wondering if I'm even in the right forest.  That feeling of uncertainty is what keeps me grounded, keeps me trusting God for the next step, keeps me from getting overconfident.  

Life reminded me again last night and today that as far as I think I have come, I still have far to go. 

I still AM powerless over other people and over their choices.  I need to continually remind myself that it is not my job to live another's life for him or her.  And I need to constantly turn my will and my life over to God's care, and trust Him to do for me what I cannot do for myself.  As much as I would like to say I can make those changes in myself that I know need to be made, I know that I can't - and I can cite years upon years of trying (and failing) as proof positive.  

I no longer make any pretense that I have "arrived."  I am coming to know myself well enough to know that I still freak out, I still get upset and obsessed about things others do (over which I have no control, and I hate that I don't have control over those things OR people).  What I do know is that when I let go of my need to control the outcome, when I let people be who they are and let God be who He is, I can relax my inner grip.  The more relaxed I can become, the happier I am inside my own skin, the better able I am to live with myself and with others.  

Sometimes some people misunderstand my letting go to mean that I approve of their choices or that I would choose as they did.  That may lead them to inadvertently hurt me.  I have ended up feeling betrayed, bewildered, and beaten. And I'm learning to feel those feelings without feeling guilty for having them, to talk about how I feel in a safe atmosphere, and to release those feelings and not hold on to them.

I am also learning how important it is to not only respect other people's boundaries, but to communicate my own boundaries to other people.  Learning that I am important enough to HAVE boundaries is a new concept, and it is taking longer than I would have liked to be able to identify and articulate what my boundaries are, without letting people trample on them to the point where I explode and over-react.  It is a delicate balance, which I am still learning how to achieve. 

It is better than it was.  But there is still far to go.

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