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If You Can’t Find Time, Make It

March 27, 2012

Too often, people are swept up in the act of living and lose touch with what makes them who they are.  School, work, and other responsibilities swallow up those little thoughts that are so central to our identities.  Time is no longer linear–it becomes a vortex that can slowly suck away the personalities of people until they are nothing but what they are doing at any given moment.  There are two types of time: chronos, which is the linear, day-to-day process that governs most people’s existences, and Kairos–God’s time.  The first depends on clocks, whereas the second one is totally reliant on faith in God.

I have somewhat of an unhealthy obsession with time in the chronos sense.  I’ve been wearing watches since I was nine years old and have gone through more than I’d like to count in those ten years.  The last watch I had was damaging–literally.  I bought it because my beloved math watch had stopped working, not knowing that I’d have an allergic reaction to the metal band.  After a couple months, my left wrist was a swollen mess.  Any normal person would throw the watch to the metaphorical winds and look for a new one.  Not me.  I let it infect me.  My wrist swelled, itched, and wept incessantly, but I refused to take it off because I was scared.  I hated the idea of not knowing the time.

That is why the Kairos retreat was so difficult for me.  Three days of not knowing the time was quite frightening to me.  It was exactly what I needed–fear.  Being thrown into a new situation always forces me to be emotionally honest with myself and open up to others.  What I am is all that is familiar to me and I will cling to that, especially when it’s all I have.  I didn’t know it at that moment, but before Kairos, I’d been edging further into the vortex of time.  The thing that makes me who I am–writing–was becoming just another interest that I list on Facebook, not an integral part of my personality and, more importantly, my soul.

My ability to write has always been my response to the question, “What is your favorite thing about yourself?”  Here’s the thing: because of Kairos, I’ve realized that, although I tell people I love certain things about myself, I really don’t.  I should love the fact that I can pull a whole plot out of a simple phrase.  But I don’t because for the past ten years, I’ve been teaching myself to hate myself.  It started out as a drive to do well in school when I was about ten years old.  At first, it was a great thing—I brought home good grades on my assignments and tests and both of my parents were proud of me.  However, sometime after fourth grade, I started my unhealthy obsession with perfection. I’d cry if I didn’t get As on my papers, even if it was just one math assignment where I made a silly mistake.  The fact that I was heavily teased in middle school made me feel even more worthless and out of touch with myself.

By the time I was thirteen, I had developed a highly negative self-image.  I described myself with a sizable amount of the negative adjectives existing in the dictionary.  This was a pivotal year, as it was when I started to write stories instead of journal entries.  For a while, this was beneficial–until I lost touch with journaling.

Eventually, when I entered high school, I truly gave my life over to God and believed that, by this one action, I’d fixed everything.  I thought that God would just magically fix all of my problems, so it was perfectly fine for me to shove my poor self-esteem into a closet and not think about it.  My fifteen-year-old logic told me that forgetting about it would fix it.  Believe me, that was a lie.  Starting then, I began to have a truly sick obsession with being the best at everything I did.  Up until I was about sixteen, being good was great.  During my junior year of high school, however, “good” was never good enough.  I wanted to be perfect and excel in every way.  Worse, I expected myself to always be perfect and would emotionally abused myself when I made even the slightest mistake.

Slowly but surely, I realized that perfection isn’t possible.  There is still a little part of me that screams in pain as I type those words, but I’m starting to silence it.  Kairos was when I came to my realization that I’m not perfect.  I will never be perfect and I am not supposed to be perfect.  And God, however, is perfectly fine with that.  He loves me when I get a 95 (or even an 86) on a paper.  He loves me when I make a silly mistake in the first graph of a paper.  And he even loves me when, after AP Calculus BC, I still can’t remember that four times two is eight, not six.

I’m on the path to self-acceptance.  It’s hard to undo nearly ten years of damage, but I’m doing it.  Every day, I try to re-establish the connection between pen, paper, and soul. And in my words–whether it’s stories, journal entries, or even notes–the three become one.  Sound familiar?  Good.  It’s supposed to.

I don’t want anyone else to lose their own personal connections with the trinity, no matter its composition.  Whatever makes your soul flare with passion is your essence.  That is the part of yourself that you should never lose.  Don’t forget to take time for it, even when it’s slightly inconvenient.  If you don’t, you might end up where I’ve been at least thrice in the past month–sitting in front of my computer, afraid to pick up a pen and write in my journal.  I was terrified because I’d been hiding my true identity from myself.  It scared me to open that door again and connect with the essence of myself.

Don’t do that.  It might seem inconvenient or weird to drop what you’re doing in order to do something that might be seen as less important, but it is important.  This is what makes you who you are.

If you lose that, where are you?

Lost, hurt, and out of touch.  And no one deserves to be there.  We are all loved, special, unique, and beautiful.  Never forget to be who God made you because if you try to be anything other than what you were made to be and do things that don’t set your heart aflame, you’re pushing your soul away.  And believe me, it’s not easy to reunite them.

~Bree Watral, Class of 2015

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Jamie Visser permalink
    March 27, 2012 8:14 pm

    Outstanding reflection.

    My favorite part: Whatever makes your soul flare with passion is your essence.

    It’s so clear that you’ve found yours, Bree!

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