Do you ever look at something that was made (like a car, a dress, a house, a toy, a room design) and just think to yourself (or to the person beside you), “What were they thinking?” Sometimes I wonder what God was thinking. I know myself pretty well after 33 years of puzzling this odd creation out… absolutely emotionally driven, intuitive to a fault (no, seriously, like if I’m in a room with someone who is upset or depressed I will assimilate that into myself and feel down or depressed without even knowing why), flaky, optimistic, quite contemplative and introverted, I live inside my head and dream often. I am shy and oftentimes people exhaust me (through no fault of their own, merely because I am introverted), so many times people think I’m… well… a you-know-what, or strange, or uncaring… and let’s face it, they’d be right sometimes (just being honest here) but less often than people think… I think.
Another thing that I often forget in the hum-drum chaos of my daily race after two young children and an unattainable clean, organized, well-fed household, is that I am also creative in my core. On a day when I wake up and within 5 minutes I know that my children may not survive the day, or I bust into tears while trying to make the coffee at 4:30am, or I have no desire to do anything but crawl into a hole and disappear for a week… I have learned that this tends to imply that I have been ignoring an element of my custom design. I am usually either in need of silence and solitude, words of affirmation from my First Love, or a creative outlet. These tend to be the facets of me that are neglected the most.
If you ever need evidence that we are created to be exactly who we are at our core, then try neglecting one of those facets for a while and see what happens. Life becomes less. Slowly you come to realize that you may be jettin’ along just fine but the world seems overcast. Then you soon come to find that you are just surviving, you are not living. Now, let me be very clear here, I am not talking about specific behaviors necessarily, I am talking about the origin of those behaviors… the elements of your core that cause you to partake in that behavior or make that choice. For example, in high school and college I was a dancer and an actor. I loved it. It’s the reason I got up each morning and dragged my butt to school (b/c school certainly wasn’t my motivation). Unless, however, one has the incredible luck to be born with heightened flexibility (which I didn’t have), and good feet (which I did have), and the perfect body type (which I didn’t have), and the heart to dance (which I did have)… you will have a very hard time going anywhere in the ballet world. So, as time passed after graduating college… and getting engaged… and married… and moving to Costa Rica… suddenly life wasn’t so distracting. I began to notice that part of me that was not getting exercised. The creative element to my custom design was in atrophy and I need that in order to be the creature God created. I don’t need ballet, theatre, or any specific niche of the arts. What I need is to create. It is part of my custom design.
It has taken me a while to come to this understanding and exactly what it means for my every-day trudge. Sometimes, in understanding that our identity in Christ is the blanket that covers us and keeps us whole, we forget that there is still an individual person created in her mother’s womb to be a custom design. That person is being covered by Christ and it’s only when she can be completely herself at her core within the confines of that blanket, that she is living into her True Identity.
Since my atrophied-decrepit-almost-34-year-old body (not to mention my life-of-ministry-and-two-young-children) no longer allows for the strenuous activity of ballet or the grueling rehearsal schedule of the theatre… I have had to adapt. Adaptation will always have value when confronted with limitations or large obstacles, we either bend or we break. So, I have begun to experiment with jewelry making. I have been writing. I am picking up my guitar to practice with my son, re-learning from the start and encouraging him to discover who he is as well. I am encouraged by it all and I am much more me, custom designed.
P.S. What elements of your core do you most often neglect? What do you do to let them thrive?