May 29, 2018

Orange Starburst

Poor orange Starburst. Undesired. Unloved. Unwanted. REJECTED. Just like the unathletic kid in PE, they are the last ones left in the bowl.

Who hasn't felt like the orange Starburst on occasion? I know I have.

I’ve spent most of my life desperately trying NOT to be the orange Starburst. I worked hard at trying to fit in. I wanted so much to get picked. I remember this conversation with one of my friends in elementary school:

Me: Who’s your #1 best friend? (inner monologue: say me. Say ME. PLEASE SAY ME!).
Her: Sabrina.
Me: But Sabrina moved away. She doesn’t even live here anymore.
Her: She’s still my best friend.
Me: Ok, but who is your #1 best friend who lives in Columbiana? (inner monologue: MEEEEEEE!)
Her: I don’t know. You, I guess.
Me: Oh my gosh! You’re my #1 best friend in Columbiana too!! (inner monologue: Victory is mine!)

That worked for me. I was at least somewhere in the line-up. This philosophy carried over into my 4th grade love life as well. Yeah. I had a "boyfriend". We were "going together." Where did we go, you might ask? Well, we went to the lunchroom and we went to the library and we went to the car rider line together. So I guess you could say it was pretty serious...except for one little thing - actually, make that three. My boyfriend had three other girlfriends (all named Kim). We were like sister wives or maybe the 80’s version of prepubescent contestants on the Bachelor. It was fine with us. Would I accept this dandelion? Yes. Yes, I would – as long as I could avoid being the only one left standing on the playground without one.  

As I got older, that desire to belong and it’s ugly sister – the fear of rejection – never went away. It just got more complicated.

I became painfully aware that I can be straight up TOO MUCH for a lot people – too loud, too excitable, too talkative, too emotional. I hated my too much-ness, and if it had a color, it would be bright orange. Impossible to ignore - sticks out like a sore thumb - subtle as an air horn - ORANGE. I desperately tried to hide it. I wanted to push it down inside as far as I could. Sometimes it actually worked, but inevitably, every shade of orange inside me would work it’s way to the surface. The more I tried to disguise myself, the stronger the fear monster grew, and it was dressed evermore extravagantly in anxiety, self-consciousness, doubt, and unworthiness.

There’s nothing wrong with wanting to belong. God created us to be in community. We are His personal expression of love, and we were made to crave and express that infinitely huge love in our relationships with each other. But, alas, we are humans, and we can get into trouble when we let that fear monster creep in. Fear will tell you - You’re not good enough. You don’t deserve to be loved. Why would anyone want to hang out with you? Don’t you listen to it. That monster is the enemy, and the enemy is a liar liar pants on fire. It will lie to you until you believe those lies to be the truth.

The real truth is this: The orange Starburst is someone’s favorite. There are people who will reach into the bowl specifically for the orange Starburst and not because it's the only option left. And you know what's great about those people? They get me. In all of my orange glory, for better or worse, in sickness and in health, they pick me. They love me because of my glowing orange hue - NOT in spite of it.

God created us very much on purpose in every shade of every color in the rainbow...yes, even orange. We are all tied for the #1 position on His list of BFFs. Every. Single. One of us. His love for us is not conditional on our color or flavor or anything else. It just is. It doesn’t even matter if you believe in Him or not. We have no choice in the matter. The choice we do have to make is whether or not we will receive that love and, in turn, live by it. God’s greatest gift to us is His impossible-to-comprehend, all-encompassing love. If we accept it, then our gift back to Him is how we reflect that love to each other.


April 2, 2018

I'm Naked!

A quick Google search for the most common nightmares reveals that many of us have nightmared (not a word, but "dreamed" seems too pleasant to use here) about being naked or "nekkid" as we say in my native tongue. You know the deal - you're on a stage, in a classroom, or down at (the) Walmart, and then the realization hits you...you ain't wearing a stitch of clothes.

This situation, as it should, ignites an inner monologue of critical analysis:
  • Everyone is staring at me! - OR - No one is even looking at me. Which is worse? 
  • Did I come here in my birthday suit? 
  • Did I just strip down spontaneously in aisle 7? Why? Why did I do this?
  • Why is Sponge Bob here? Maybe he will give me his pants. Why does he even wear pants? He's a SPONGE, for crying out loud.

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