My family is a delightful paradox. On the one hand, we have no problem speaking out boldly against wrong. I’ve seen each of my boys stand up to the school bully without batting an eyelash to say “knock it off.”
On the other hand, all of us worry so much about causing someone upset that we find ourselves caught in “I’m sorry” loops. We apologize back and forth to each other so often that we finally came up with a code word to break the sorry loop. “Peanut Butter” is our signal that either the apology wasn’t necessary to begin with, or it’s been accepted and we need to move on. It works something like this:
“No, I’m sorry I lost my patience.”
“I’m really sorry.”
“Yeah, peanut butter.”
There’s just something about me, and my boys, that is deeply bothered by the idea that we might have caused someone injury or offense.
Still, as I said before, that’s never stopped any of us from speaking our minds. We simply do it in a manner that’s respectful, or at least we try to.
I’ve noticed something about myself lately. It’s been nagging at the back of my brain for a while, but I couldn’t quite vocalize it. It was actually a sermon yesterday that finally jarred it loose. The pastor was talking about the fact that we, as Christians, are supposed to be world changers. Sometimes what we have to say is upsetting, but that shouldn’t stop us from saying it with love. Because some messages are important enough that they shouldn’t be silenced, even if it ruffles a few feathers.
I didn’t realize I was doing it at first – I couldn’t see that I’d stopped being me in my attempts to not offend anyone with any content on my blog or in interviews. And I’m not just talking about my stance on human trafficking, although I do work very hard to not let my fury over the topic run unchecked.
I spent most of my life hearing that I talked too much, that I was too quirky, too odd, too much in general. So I temper myself now without even meaning to.
I also know that being a Christian, a full-on Bible-believing Christian, isn’t always popular. So I very rarely mention the influence of Jesus in my life on my blog, and when I do, I worry that I shouldn’t have. Not out of shame, merely out of respect for those who might feel differently. But He’s a major influence in my life, and talking about that on occasion shouldn’t step on toes.
I’m weird. I sob for days over the death of my pet chicken, but Springfield-style cashew chicken is my favorite treat, though I haven’t been able to bring myself to eat it since Stormy’s death. One of my favorite things to do is sit and watch my animals. But there are also times we move all the furniture, crank up the music, and dance until I can’t breathe. There are also, very rarely, Opera Nights, where we sing everything just for giggles. Weird.
And, I feel compelled to admit, there is usually a box of wine in my fridge. If not, then there’s a $7 bottle of Missouri semi-sweet red with a screw-top lid.
So there’s this thought trying to formulate itself … I’m just not quite sure what it’ll look like when it’s hatched. It feels a little like I’m in an “I’m sorry” loop in my life. I’m trying so hard to please everyone that I’m not pleasing anyone. But I think it’s time for me to say Peanut Butter and move on.
It’s time to own the paradox.
I know I just said “Here’s my blog plan,” but I’m already thinking of scrapping it. A friend recently suggested I shouldn’t keep the Off-Gridish part of me separate. That I should migrate that blog over here and talk about all the many different sides of me in one place. That means some days I’d be talking chickens, some days I’d be talking about my favorite laundry detergent recipe, and some days would simply be a scary peek into my odd little brain. I have to say, I’m toying with the idea.
And while I’ll never beat my Bible and scream that the world is ending, or at least I don’t see myself ever doing that, I will occasionally talk about God because He’s important to me. He’s an integral part of the fabric of my life, so He’s part of the conversation surrounding my life.
So, I have no idea what the next couple of weeks will look like on my blog. It’s a little terrifying, throwing caution to the wind and opening up to people – at least doing so without hiding behind characters in a book, anyway.
For better or for worse, here we go.