Friday, August 10, 2012

The one thing Janet Jackson and I have in common

"This is a story about control"
...(besides the occasional wardrobe malfunction) is our desire to have control.

Control of what happens to me. Control of how people treat me. Control of how I react to both.

I talk a lot on my blog about my fight with postpartum depression as a means of trying to make sense of what happened to me. It was the ultimate experience with loss of control. I never meant to scare anyone into thinking they are going to have PPD. Sure, it happened to me, but part of the reason I was so shocked by it was because I have half a million friends who have had babies and never spoke a word to me about suffering from PPD. I think education is critical in prevention. You don't wear a seat belt because you are unaware of the reality that you might get into a car accident. But at the same time, you don't quit driving because of that same reality. You create an attack plan (wear a seat belt, designate a sober driver, refrain from texting for the love of God) and you continue on as planned (driving). My intention with sharing my story and advice is to increase awareness about something that people are typically ashamed to talk about, because that shame is what prevents many people from getting the appropriate help. Without the appropriate help, it takes longer to heal. Not healing sucks worse than admitting you are a human being in need of help.

Admitting I am human (i.e. vulnerable, imperfect, a sinner, a mistake-maker, a jerk sometimes) is also difficult for a prideful girl like me who likes to have control of everything. I don't care what anyone says...we all care what people think about us. In fact, when people say "I don't care what anyone thinks about me" my reaction is always "Only someone who wants people to think they don't care would put effort into convincing people they don't care...thus meaning that they really care more so than someone who wouldn't think to say it!" (I realize that's a lengthy reaction, but it only takes me two seconds to think that in my brain.)

I want peace in my life. It's impossible to have peace when I am also trying to control things. On the long list of things to control is what people think about me. I have a pretty peaceful personality, and of course I want people to think highly of me. It can be frustrating when I find out they don't. Sometimes it's because of something I've done, and other times it's just because they simply don't like the cut of my jib. When I've done something to cause someone not to like me, I always try to confront them about it. If an apology is in order, I'll give it a shot, clear my conscience, and then the ball is in their court to accept it or not. It can suck when someone doesn't forgive you, but it sucks less when you know you've done everything you can to make it right. If someone just flat out doesn't like me, doesn't accept my apology, or has offended me for any reason, it hurts but I believe it's in my court to try to forgive them and move on. I am admittedly not great at forgiveness. I am not alone in that. I think a lot of people are very unforgiving, and I think it all comes back to the desire to have control and the fact that we don't have it. It takes a lot to make me mad, but when it happens it also takes a lot to earn my trust back. Unfortunately, I've learned that the only person that ultimately hurts is me.

When you don't forgive someone, you may think that you're controlling the situation, when instead you are giving the other person control of your feelings. As a Christian, I am called to forgive whether I want to or not. It can take some time, and God knows it's not going to be easy. In fact, the entire reason he sent his son to walk among us was so that our sins would be forgiven. To die for about extreme! Fortunately I don't have to die for forgiveness, I just have to have faith for it. That can be so tricky.

I found a really great article that discusses how Christians are called to forgive. Click here to read it. I'm not there yet, but I am going to make a commitment to working very hard on this. Nobody has control over my peace but me.

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