Monday, July 15, 2013


I'm kind of a performer, though not as much these days as in years gone by.  That is to say, I've spent a great majority of my life trying to figure out what role I'm supposed to play - or what role I want to play - and then playing that up to its illogical extreme.  I have been, you could say, a girl looking for her place and determined to make one for herself if nobody else will.

Which has kind of made me pushy and obnoxious and intrusional over the years, giving me a reputation and a place but neither that I would particularly want.  I am the kind of person who wouldn't so much as get up and go to the bathroom for fear my place at the table would close up while I was gone and I would never get it back.  God's been working on my heart lately and teaching me to create a place for myself...within myself.  A revolutionary idea!  The hard truth is that I haven't known really where my place might be because I haven't known at all who God created in me.  As I'm discovering that, the other pieces I've labored for are falling into place without my pushing.

Case in point: a week ago.

I mentioned on Friday that the rules at Grandma's are different than the rules here.  They aren't bad rules.  In fact, many of them, I would adopt around my own place if I had a little more discipline.  But I get caught in habit here and it's tough to make the changes.  At Grandma's, though, it seems so natural to live her way.  And it brings joy to my heart to honor her by honoring her rules.

That is something I'm discovering about myself as God works in me.  I thrive on finding a way to honor someone else.  I am honored and humbled to be able to serve and to satisfy them with integrity.  This comes natural for me.  All those years I spent trying to prove that I was a hard worker to gain a reputation and a place as, if nothing else, a worker bee...and all those years in vain because I was building for myself something I didn't want and nobody else really needed and worse yet, did not appreciate because it was obnoxious in its execution.  Yet here I am with the opportunity to honor someone I love and to serve others (the 20+ people she was hosting in her house) and that's all I can think about with my hands elbow-deep in dish suds.  Because grandma washes dishes at least once a day and people need clean forks for dinner and there's socializing going on out on the patio and while I'm thinking about what it might be like to sit out there and chat for a bit, I'm also thinking the dishes need washed or grandma's not going to go to sleep tonight and dinner is going to be delayed and every helpful soul (they were very helpful souls) at that table is going to be kicking themselves for not helping more when they realize the kitchen is a mess and nothing has been done to clean up from lunch and the salads are still sitting on the counter and the bread's been open since breakfast.  So I'm washing dishes, not because that is my place but because that is my heart.  I'm washing dishes not because I don't have a spot on the patio but because the forks still have spots on them.  Because that's what comes naturally to me to do, and I am doing it.

And I discover there's plenty of time to talk, too.  Time to meet people and share stories and laugh a little.  There's a seat out on the patio, a place around the table.  I don't have to make it.  I don't have to guard it.  I don't have to wiggle myself in to make room.  It's there.  When I get around to it.

It's finding a way to sneak in and vacuum the floors while Grandma runs to town, before everyone gets back from their hotels for the day, because there's dirt on the floor and there wasn't yesterday and even though there are 20 people running in and out all the time, that's no excuse.  It honors Grandma to keep her house and it serves those who worry about the dirt on their socks and gives everyone a chance to enjoy themselves instead of thinking the whole thing has to be work.

It doesn't even feel like work to me, I realize as I also realize I'm not trying to prove anything by it.  It just feels like love.  There's no more natural place in the world for me to be than vacuuming my grandmother's floors while friends and family start to gather again.

And then there's time, and place, for me to gather, too.

I am telling you - this place I have fought for my whole life, this place I thought I had to create and make and take by sheer force - has never been as fulfilling when I've thought I've found it as has my place when I wasn't really looking for one.  I spent a week in the company of family and friends and total strangers who have become friends...just doing what I do.  Doing what comes naturally to me, which is working hard, honoring people, serving others, a little bit of creating, and a good dose of deflecting and redirecting praise.  Shining the light on someone else for a change instead of thinking if I want a place, it has to be spotlighted.  Instead of buying the lie that I am forgettable.  Or rather, buying the lie that forgettable is a bad thing.

What was most satisfying about living true to what God's created in me in a simple week at Grandma's is that I finally started hearing the words that I thought would mean so much.  A whole group of people I had just met, who I was pleased to spend a few hours on the patio with, couldn't stop telling me how awesome I am.  Not when I was bragging about this or that thing that I did, not when I was huffing and puffing to draw attention to myself and my hard work, not when I was trying to force a place...but simply when I showed up to the place they already had for me and lived not like I wanted to belong there but like I did belong there.  I was embarrassed to hear their praise, humbled by their taking notice of my work.  I would have been fine had no one noticed me washing the dishes every night but a few of them showed up to help.  And we didn't talk about dishes.  And we didn't talk about me.  We talked about life and just shared a moment, neither of us realizing the place that this was.

The whole week felt good.  It felt right.  It felt natural.  It was so incredible to find this place where there  And to live with people and to laugh with people and to love on people and to hear a few good words about myself which, in contrast to so many of the good things I've heard before, weren't tied for once to what I do.  They were a reflection on who I am.  It was affirming of who I am.  Because I wasn't trying to be or to do anything; I was living and loving as God created in me.  Finding enough to serve and to savor, to labor and to laugh.  I had this place just to be, and so simply I was.  And it was awesome.  It was really, really cool.

I heard "You're awesome" more in that week, and more sincerely in that week, than I've heard it in a long time.  And every time, I shrugged my shoulders, said "nah," changed the subject and smiled, thinking to myself how awesome my God is that He created me this way.

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