A good deal of time has passed since I last wrote here. Sure, life has been wild. My wife and I welcomed our third bundle of joy into the world last fall. Since then, sleep has been sparse, and chaos has been common place. That certainly has a role to play as our family dynamics took a seismic shift and we’ve tried to learn our “new normal.” But, I think there’s other reasons, too.
On top of family expectations, I’ve continued my doctoral work in Education. In less than a year (hopefully), I’ll be ABD (all but dissertation). I learned recently from my adviser the possibility (if all the stars align, he said) that I could actually graduate Fall of 2019. While that’s only a semester earlier than expected, there’s something invigorating about the idea of finishing early. Yes, this has kept me busy, but still I think there’s something else underlying my lack of writing. . .
Here it is. . . I forgot why I write.
Besides my own occasional visions of grandeur and narcissism, I forgot that I write because I love writing. And, this is important because it suggest the real reason why this site has become so bare: I have forgotten who I am.
A few nights ago my wife and I were out to dinner with a couple who introduced the enneagram concept to us. The enneagram is like a personality profile, but one that appears to be rather different from its’ “competition.” If you are not familiar with the ennegram concept, I’d suggest taking a moment and looking it up here. For my purposes here, I simply want to say that I began researching this, finding personality tests, reading data, and purchasing a book. What I discovered was precisely this: I don’t know who I am, which is an attribute of an unhealthy “3.”
Three’s are “Achievers / Performers” who are driven individuals who seek to grow and perform. Ideally, these individuals grow according to their own passions, skills, desires, and pursuits. When they “know themselves”, they can live fulfilling, meaningful lives. But, when they lose themselves in their performance, their lives become pragmatic, and joyless. Unhealthy threes, like me, believe the lie they are loved for what they do, what they earn, their level of significance, etc.
That’s me. Discovering this has helped me see a key to so many of my ridiculous decisions, few made because of self-awareness and confidence. Most of my decisions (including major life decisions) have been made from a desire to “be somebody” and achieve a higher, more influential status. To be patted on the back and affirmed. These desire are not necessarily evil, but when the come from an empty soul, and those are the markers of meaning, those desires prove to be, and do, evil.
There’s so much here I’d love to detail as I feel like I’m finally beginning to understand what makes me who I am, why I process life as I do. About time, right? I’m only in my 4th decade of life!!
See, I believe that I’m only valuable by what I produce and the applause it gathers. I’m looking for the affirmation because as an unhealthy soul, I need the affirmation to believe I matter. I wear myself out trying to perform for others according to their words and affirmations because if I do, then (maybe) I’ll finally be loved.
We all want to be loved.
Yet, I forget I’ve already received the affirmation my soul needs. God in Christ said “I love you just because you are mine” and then proved it through his life, death, and resurrection. I’ve treated God the same way. I honestly don’t accept his love for me because I see him also as One who demands performance before delighting in me. That’s a sad and destructive perversion of the radically loving God seen in the fact of Jesus Christ.
What does this have to do with writing?
As an unhealthy three, why write if there is no affirmation of content, quality, meaning, etc.? Doesn’t the lack of impact reflect an lack of purpose and value on the part of my soul?
Well, with my new knowledge of my self and the pitfalls of the “Achiever” personality, I can be more active in correcting some misguided areas of life. I’m writing again because I love writing, whether it is well read or not. My own soul needs to begin returning to its’ God-intended orientation, to embrace all that God has created me to be for His glory and my good. Trying to perform to achieve arbitrary cultural standards is the death knell for my soul (and, I’d argue, all souls). The path to life is the path towards fullness of self realized in the Source of your uniquely created self, God in Christ.