Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The Struggle To Grow Up

    Something is happening to me. 

    It's difficult to articulate what exactly that is, except that I know I'm changing on a very fundamental level. There's been a sensation of increasing uneasiness over the last four months, a growing tension that I've noted in both heart and mind, struggling to assert itself. At times, it feels like a silent, faraway whisper; at others, it is a shout in my mind, even as everything else around me seems silent and peaceful. But it is always there, a nagging frustration. In and effort to make sense of things, I thought I'd write a bit about it here - for the sake of finding clarity for myself and others who find themselves in the same perplexing state of affairs.

    I'm pretty sure the major shift began after the death of my friend Yeswanth that I wrote about in in "Death Came Calling....and Took My Friend", and the subsequent posts. It definitely began to accelerate after I started working at the end of January. I suppose it would be logical to attribute this to the experiences of my first job out of university, first paycheck, first car, first experience of serious buying power, etc. to contribute to the shift in attitude and perspective. But this would be scratching the surface of the proverbial iceberg at the best, and a myopic mis-diagnosis at the worst. The truth is that although much seems to be progressing well on life's various fronts (and there is no denying that I feel both blessed and most appreciative of what I have been given), I also find myself irritated at times.

    A major part of this has been due to my vexation at areas of immaturity that I find myself constantly struggling with trying to grow out of. It seems so hard to deal with them - no sooner have I felt that I've experienced growth and enforced discipline in one area of my life or personality that an other rears its ugly head. It's been so often that I've found myself feeling guilty at having wasted my time in frivolous and pointless pursuits that don't seem to be helping me grow and change faster; to become the kind of person who can take up the task that I feel called to, inspite of all that keeps tripping me up. And that brings me to one of the things about myself that so irritates me: 

I think in some respects, I've been too soft-hearted for far too long.

    I hate that, now that I've articulated it clearly - succumbing under self-consciousness to being a people-pleaser and 'yes' man. It feels as if sometimes I'm so easily moved and made to feel guilty, easily cornered and made to feel as if I need to justify and explain everything I do and say to everyone who comes along and demands an explanation - how did you...? when? where? what? with who? why? which? I hate the tension and fear of conflict that arises inside in those scenarios. And I dislike even more what I've sometimes done as a result - become passive, unwilling to open my mouth and articulate what I want; gone along with things that I don't really want to do; wasted time in frivolous and superficial pursuits as a result; chastised myself and wallowed in regret for my spinelessness at the end of it all.

I hate this. This has to stop. It can't go on any longer, or it'll cripple me.

    But if the irritation at my immaturity is one face of the coin, then the perplexing consternation that comes with the repercussions of change is the other. Because I am undoubtedly changing, and change has inevitable consequences, which make me wonder if I should feel apprehensive about the results. Things that once enamoured me before seem inconsequentially mundane now - I've found myself giving away a lot of "stuff" that once seemed so fascinating, and anticipate giving even more away as the change increasingly sets in. But that's not worrisome; I'm happier for it. It's the gradual distance that I find occuring between myself and people I know - a divergence of humour, interests, goals, priorities, thoughts, topics of conversation, and lots more. I'm surprised sometimes to find myself unmoved, uninterested, bored even, in the midst of events that send visible ripples of excitement through people around me. As I write this, I'm reflecting on the strange feeling over the last few days - as if I'm in a little kayak, partly floating, partly paddling away from the giant ocean liner that those around me are on, heading in the direction of an unexplainable call from somewhere deep in my heart.

What is this feeling? What is happening? I wonder if I should be inspired or worried about this.

    In any case, there is only One Person I know who has the answers I need. I'm reminded of two examples of His promises to those who have put their trust in Him:

    "'For I know the plans I have for you', declares the Lord, 'plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart." (Jeremiah 29:11-13, ESV)

    "And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified. 

     What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against God's elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?...No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 8:28-35,37-39, ESV)

Papa, I know that you can hear me. I need to change, I need to think, and I need answers. Help.
- The Wisdom Seeker