May 23rd, 2010

It’s Sunday and so I’m not studying, but a couple of thoughts have coalesced that I thought I better get down in writing.

I have become insecure in the last few weeks, and I’m not sure why or exactly how to recover from it. I’m not surprised by it; it makes sense that a radical change in circumstances will throw someone like me into a state of general insecurity. It’s not GOOD, but it makes sense. I’m not particularly ashamed of it. Annoyed perhaps. I wish it were different. I wish I was no longer affected in this way, but the fact is, I handle it better than I used to.

That feeling of “I’m 46, and I’m just getting ‘good’; just starting to figure stuff out for real and NOW I can get busy”…is pretty much gone. It has been since the hike as best I can tell.

It began to dawn on me consciously when Brenda and I had a row on Friday. She said/did some things that really caught me off guard, or should I say, my REACTION to them caught me off guard. I felt threatened, under-valued, like I didn’t belong, like I was a nuisance, like she thought I was in the way. Not unfamiliar feelings when I look at the last 20 years, but certainly unfamiliar in the last year or so…and yet here they are again. Then something interesting happened: After making an uncalled for smart-ass comment, I stopped and really openly explained to Brenda what I was feeling, that I felt shut-out, that the things she said made me feel insecure. (maybe if I had said, “When you said __________, I felt ___________”, it would have gone better, but I don’t buy the legalism of the “I Statement” religion)

Anyway, as the argument continued, and in fact intensified after I shared that I was feeling insecure, I began to step away to the Watcher position and I watched as I tried to mine-out some sympathy. As I tried to get Brenda to be tender with my weakness. And…she couldn’t. At the time, I was seriously considering the idea that she WOULDN’T show tenderness…but from where I sit now, I don’t believe she COULD, because the weakness I allowed to overtake me was A) sinful, not simply a natural consequence of life on a fallen planet and B) there are some kinds of weakness that are not meant to be displayed, especially to your woman. Yes, intimacy. Yes, be transparent. But the principle STILL remains that you’re only as transparent to those you’re “leading” as THEY need you to be, not as much as YOU need to be.

I mistakenly thought that exposing my insecurity and NAMING it would calm Brenda, and allow her to press into me. In fact, it made HER insecure and pushed her away.

As I write, I’m recalling that over the last year or so, that there is a direct correlation to the amount of “junk” I keep to myself (or should I say, process silently with God) and the degree to which those around me seem to feel more secure. I’m also recalling that this can carry TOO far and that Brenda has been concerned from time to time that we’re not connecting. So, it’s not a simple, “slam the lever one way or the other” solution. Like so many things: it’s balance.

But the first order of business is understanding WHY I’m feeling so bloody insecure in the first place. The change brought about by the sabbatical may have REVEALED it…but I don’t think it’s the cause.

I really want to be back where I was a 2 months ago. That was a good place.

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