Tuesday, August 15, 2006

In His Image

I can not explain this. This is not me, or at least it has not been in the past. I do not believe in the whole finding yourself journey, in self help books, in submission, in passivity, in being unsure. Perhaps that is why I am a mess, perhaps...

I have been forced to ask myself who I am. . . that is incorrect. I have been given the opportunity to ask myself who I am. Because given my situation I could very easily crawl under my martyr mat and have you all bring me soup. However, for some reason a series of randomly deep films, a book, and a quote by Maggie Gyllenhaal have changed my journey from trying to discover who I am, to a quest to recapture what I was designed to be.

Cut to video montage of Eternal Sunshine of a Spotless Mind, Snow Falling on Cedars, and Shattered glass.

If one more person tells me that this painful situation will make me stronger. . . I will. . . do nothing, because I am working on my anger issues. I will ignore the comment because it is wrong, a fabricated comfort whose fibers are worldly. Yes, hurt after hurt will eventually harden you, and next time it wont feel so bad, but I am not looking for calluses, I am searching for my correct function.

Today I read something that Maggie Gyllenhaal said, "What I think is appealing about shopping is putting something on and asking, 'Is this me?' which is another way of saying, 'Who am I?'" We are always searching for the who, because I think asking the what sounds silly as the answer would be woman, human, flesh, blood, bones, tissues. And as for the "who," we can be whoever we want, right? But then with the possibility of being anything, we go out to be something, and what if there was a set something and we are not it and the possibilities are only a lie we are told by a liberated, but confused society. I just might be a square peg jamming myself into a round hole.

Man was created in the likeness of God. Got it. Now what the heck does that mean? Which part of god? All of god? And if man and woman are so different, the opposites of one whole, the ying and yang, what does that make woman the likeness of? I am afraid to even wonder!

I'm studying the book Captivating by John and Stasi Eldredge. They have a perspective on what man is and his heart that would make my college professors pull their hair out, but I am so comforted by it. It's like they described the half I do not just want, but need, but only at the very depths of my heart because in my mind it makes me weak. John writes that a true man wants a battle to fight, longs for adventure, and seeks to rescue a beauty, adding, "For Adam is captured best in motion, doing something. His essence is strength in action. That is what he speaks to the world. He bears the image of God, who is a warrior. On behalf of God, Adam says, 'God will come through. He is on the move.' That is why a passive man is so disturbing. His passivity defies his essence. It violates the way he bears God's image." This is God's image, but what of me? What of woman? I've been striving to accomplish, succeed, to do. Wouldn't that make me in God's image as well? I have been doing this for so long and become less and less satisfied with myself. What image am I here to fill?

Stasi writes that a true woman wants romance, to be in an irreplaceable role in an adventure, and be a beauty to be pursued, adding, "This is what its like to be with a woman at rest, a woman comfortable in her own feminine beauty. She is enjoyable to be with. She is lovely. In her presence your heart stops holding its breath. You relax and believe once again that all will be well. And this is also why a woman who is striving is so disturbing." The book takes a long time to eventually get across that woman was also created in God's image. God is rest, comfort, safety.

I sit here both wrong and right at the same time. I know why my striving has brought me misery, and why my resting for the past week has brought me hope. I am made in the likeness of a feeling, relational God, and there lies my function. I don't feel like I'm lowering myself to anything by accepting this role, as countless women will tell me I am, it's more like getting to breathe for the first time after diving too deep. I've been going far too deep for my lungs to handle, it's time to breathe.

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