Expectations are incredibly comfortable for everyone around us. We have been surrounded in a society of expectations. We have grown to believe that making others uncomfortable is unacceptable. Our job especially as adults is to ACT LIKE AN ADULT! We are taught not to ask why; we often tell our children “because I said so.”
Yet, we want change. We want the world to feel more comfortable for us. We want to fully be ourselves, but we don’t want to feel the discomfort of what we do not understand. Instead we sit idly by and listen only to respond. We want to be heard, we need to be heard, we feel everything we have to say is EXACTLY what the world needs to hear and still we refuse to listen. We ask why the world is like it is and continue to do what we have always done because its “the right thing”. We protect ourselves behind “titles” to allow us to fit into a group and yet we forget why that group exist in the first place.
The one title that comes to my mind first is Christian. If Christianity makes you uncomfortable or if you don’t agree with what I have to say that is perfectly fine, but this is where our healing begins. This is how we stop being comfortable in pain and start being comfortable with life. As I was growing up, I searched for belonging everywhere. I have been a member of the Catholic church, Mormon church, Pentecostal church, United Church of Christ and multiple non-denominational churches. I found myself searching for belonging in the only places I knew would be happy to meet someone new.
It was as though my identity was always based upon newness. I guess that is what happens when you have moved so much and often feel as though you are lost. The way those who are lost find peace in “fitting in” is always through a feeling of likeness. The people who make you feel at home. After all, that’s truly what a denomination is right? A church becomes a home of likeminded people worshipping together for a similar purpose. How do we grow when we are not surrounded by people who challenge our way of thinking?
I always believed Jesus was a tall white man, with long brown hair and beautiful blue eyes. The eyes that held so much love and pain and a gentleness that I was confident I would one day find in a pew or a chair somewhere. Boy was I wrong and in a BIG way! OOOOF! I had surrounded myself in a comfortable belief, one that I never realized was as harmful as it truly could be.
Jesus, he was not a tall white man with blue eyes. Jesus was most definitely not a white man. His skin was dark, he would have had a beard, he was likely not dressed in a robe and he was a most definitely a Jew. On top of all of that he spent his time with people so many others would stay far away from. He spent his days with murders, prostitutes, liars, thieves and every other possible walk of life. Yet, we believe we are only good enough if we meet a certain criterion.
How does Jesus and the belief of what Jesus looked like or who he was matter in trauma healing? My friends, it matters o so much! Somewhere along our paths we all encounter people who judge us based on their own beliefs. Recognizing the possibility that the stories we have been told or the beliefs we hold so close to our heart are toxic is incredibly difficult; therefore, the fire is comfortable. The fire is known. The only way to grow throughout our lives is when we accept the stories we have been told often come from people with their own comfortable fires.
When we realize being worthy does not depend on how we look, the color of our skin, the people we love, the way we dress, and the mistakes we have made we can then begin the journey toward a life we are unashamed of. We can begin to see one another as humans rather than judging one another by where we live, what we do, what we have done, what we believe, how we look and where we work. When we allow ourselves to give grace to those who have hurt us, give grace to ourselves, recognize disappointment as a place of learning and growth and most of all realize we cannot love by expecting love in return. We can only love when we begin to love ourselves first. When we are true and honest with ourselves. We can only love ourselves when we are honest about where we need to heal. We can only begin to share that love with others when we have no expectations of the love we receive in return.
What stories have you been told about who you are or who you are supposed to become? What stories have you passed on to others? What would happen if for one moment you allowed yourself to question the beliefs you stand so firmly on? If you believe in God and you call yourself a Christian, why are you able to hate others? Why are you able to believe so strongly that the mistakes of others define their worth? How can we shame each other simply because some mistakes are well known while others remain hidden? Why do we spend so much time looking for what might go wrong, pointing out what has went wrong instead of living in the moment?
Recently, I asked myself what would happen if I woke up each day with the only expectation of feeling joy. If I had no responsibilities and nothing to hold me back, what would I do? The answer was simple, I would share and learn from others. There is nothing better in this world than listening to another human who was once broken share their survival guide. It is not the finish line that is the most enjoyable… it is the journey to get there. I would spend every day soaking up the stories from my children, the community, strangers and anyone who was willing to talk. If you are looking for healing and you have no idea where to begin, I want to encourage to start there. Start with the uncomfortable conversations. Start with the people who live a life that is different from yours.
The comfort of the fire will not last forever. Step out of your comfort zone. Allow others to guide you. We can only change the world, if we know what the people of the world need.