Right before spring break started, I had a conversation with a professor about a paper and my high hopes for productivity over spring break. As I was getting up to leave, he reminded me to take time to rest. At first, I was offended. I don’t need rest. I am perfectly fine. Do I look tired or something? Listen, kind sir, you don’t understand, I have things that need to get done. Rest is for the weak.
Bingo, there it is. That last thought. Rest is for the weak. I am not weak. I do not have needs. I can do everything. Me Me Me Me. So much of my life revolves around this lie: It is bad to have needs. It is bad to need to talk to a friend. I can’t let them know that I actually need something from them. It is shameful to be hungry, who actually needs food? It is weak to say no, because then you are acknowledging your limits. And emotions, I mean, they are the epitome of pathetic and needy, never let them show at any cost.
This thinking has worked out really well for me.
I have spent some time over the last few weeks trying to understand why I am like this, and a moment keeps coming back to me. Let me set the scene for you: I was watching a screening of the Shack with a large group of other college aged students. I didn’t know the people I was sitting with very well; we had just met a couple days prior. I had been feeling insecure the entire time, which was making me incredibly awkward, which made me feel more insecure (it is a super healthy thought spiral). Anyways… the movie starts. I have no idea what it’s about. Boom. There is a scene of a car accident, very similar to Ethan’s (I physically jumped into my seat, it was a totally surprising visceral reaction). Then the whole movie is this emotional rollercoaster and everyone is crying. Then, at the end, after I am already emotional, they play the scene again. At this point, I’m done for. I’m in full out mental breakdown, cannot move, shaking, total crazy person mode.
I hated everything about this moment. Not only was I freaking out, but I was with new people. I don’t even trust the people I live with to sit with me through this, let alone someone I just met.
As I tried to explain what was happening and apologize for freaking out, one of the people sitting next to me just kept saying, It’s okay to not be in control, this is a lot, it is not your fault.
I then walked away, acted super weird the rest of the weekend, and have looked back and regretted most of my actions from that point on (baby steps right?).
As I look back at this and think about those words ringing in my ears, I can start to see the root. It is all about control. I hate not being in control. I hate not seeming perfectly self- sufficient all the time. I hate when people can see that something affects me.
Here’s the irony in the whole thing, I know its fake. I can tell people about it until I’m blue in the face, heck, I have a whole fricken’ blog dedicated to talking about how messy and imperfect I am, yet, when someone actually sees that side of me, instead of just hearing or reading about it, I flip.
This is not how we are designed either. The Lord created us to be so incredibly dependent on Him. When we allow ourselves to lean into the dependency, we find full life.
I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing -John 15:5
A branch is totally dependent on the vine for literally everything. It is dead if it is not attached. Literally it is just a needy thing clinging to the vine for life. That is who I am, who I was designed to be, and who I fight being every day.
I am slowly learning what it looks like to lean into dependence and allow myself to be needy. Unfortunately, there is no magic pill I can take to undo the years of believing the lies. This is a slow process of learning to attach properly, but I know the more I cling to the Vine, the more I will live into who I was created to be- a branch completely dependent on the vine.