Transparency…

I often find it difficult to write transparently about myself. I think that could be true of most but I can only speak for myself and my own circumstances. Facebook, I believe, has created an era of people who only show others what they want them to see. With a single serving status and a couple of cool or cute pictures you can fool the world into thinking pretty much what ever you want them to think about your life. An endearing shot of you and your kid smiling together for a selfie is sweet and tells the world how much you love your child and how much fun that child has with mommy or daddy. What the world doesn’t see is the fit that child threw in the grocery store because they were not handed the cookie that they so desperately wanted or the bruise on your arm where the little tyrant bit you out of anger.   The pictures of that brand new baby, so tiny, sleeping in your arms and you smiling so gently paints a picture of such perfection in a way that stirs in others a longing for the great blessings that God has bestowed upon you and your family with this new addition. Yet what the world doesn’t see is the struggle that you as a new mother are experiencing with post-partum depression or the lack of bond between you and your newborn. Or perhaps it’s an update about an exciting new show that you were cast in. With a couple of lines you express how excited you are to be part of a show that can boast of such a stellar cast. Yet what you don’t convey is that once again you have auditioned for a particular role and have lost out to the same, yes, the VERY same girl you’ve been losing roles and solos to since high school.

It is so rare nowadays to be honest, completely honest, with each other. I can honestly say that nobody really knows who I am, completely, as a person. (Or the fact that I frequently overuse commas without fully knowing whether they are appropriate or not. And now you can say you do, in fact, know that about me. But I digress…) A lot of people know some of who I am. I am a writer. A lot of people know that. I have strong views on life, faith, and politics, and I love music and theatre. A lot of people know that.

What a lot of people don’t know or realize about me is that I have some serious and deep-rooted issues with rejection and self doubt. Not many people realize that I frequently suffer from debilitating anxiety attacks that result in severe headaches for weeks following because of the way my muscles tense up during an episode or the fact that I am seemingly incapable of making serious decisions in my life because of an intense fear of making the wrong choices.

I’m just going to come right out and say it. My life right now is not ok.

I am not ok.

As a matter of fact my life is spinning out of control and I am barely, and I mean barely, holding on to my sanity. Truthfully the only sanity that I have right now is this play that I’m in and my writing. Yes, writing does help. It has a way of helping me sort through things that sit on my mind and psyche and allows me to process things a bit more objectively. Acting and singing affords me an energetic outlet and a distraction (and, might I add, much joy) but writing suddenly makes everything seem organized, formed, and within my control.

I lost my job back in July. The turmoil I have experienced since then has been immense. I had become complacent with where I was at in life. Not necessarily content but I was complacent. In truth this job that I had held for three years afforded me the ability to live in an area of town that I had always wanted to live in but allowed me no extra money. I had security but was bored and lonely. It was truly a dead end job that gave me no social connections and no hopes of achieving anything greater. I was grateful but ultimately unsatisfied.

In the last month and a half everything in my life has been uprooted and turned upside down. I’m losing my apartment because I have been unable to find a job. I’m having to move back to Hendersonville, away from the city with its life and vibrancy and back to the suburbs. I am confused, frustrated, and quite frankly pretty angry. No one should have to move back home at 30. I think what is most difficult for me in this whole situation is the feeling that I have failed.

No husband, no kids, no job, and no money. Congratulations Megan you have officially failed at life!

But sometimes the dust and chaos have to settle before you can see things properly. I have some serious personality flaws. I am an individual who has always had big dreams but unfortunately have always lacked the drive and discipline required to make these dreams a reality. I have never taken criticism well, in fact I tend to buckle easily underneath the weight of any kind of disapproval from anybody and I often give up before ever allowing myself the opportunity to overcome. These are things about me that have kept me stuck in a dead-end job for the last three years. So when my position was suddenly eliminated I found myself lost and frightened and was convinced of my complete failure and hopelessness.

But just as suddenly as the confusion had arrived I was hit with a moment of clarity. What am I doing with my life? What am I doing really? Yes, I had a job, and a room in a house in one of the most affluent neighborhoods in Nashville. I was living life from 8-5 with no more goals or opportunities for growth. When I talked to people about my life it was always in the context of “this is what I’m doing for now” or “I would love to be doing…” and yet I never really pursued what it was I was telling people I wanted to pursue.

Being the good Christian girl that I am I began seeking God for direction. I knew I was unsatisfied and a bit unhappy so there must be something else that I’m supposed to be doing. One thing I have learned since graduating from seminary is that the knowledge of God’s sovereignty can often become a crutch in the life of a believer. Knowing He has a plan for your life can easily turn into living without trying. I had fallen prey to this idea of waiting around for God’s grand purpose in my life. I had convinced myself that somehow it would find me and I would just simply say yes and walk through that door. Part of that delusion is a result of the Hollywood, story-book culture that tells us that our purpose in life is stumbled upon or that love at first sight is to be expected. In reality true direction, purpose, and accomplishment is found through the blood, sweat, and tears of hard work, diligence, and discipline.

These three traits are not ones that have ever come naturally to me.

I can kind of compare my life to sitting on the edge of a pool with my feet dangling in the water. I continue to complain about being hot and I pine over how refreshing the water looks and feels on my feet but never actually make the decision to just jump in. What if it’s too deep or too cold? What if I can’t find my way back to the steps once I’m in? All I want to do is immerse myself in the water but instead I whine and banter until God finally walks up behind me and pushes me in.

Clarity. Suddenly I am overcome with clarity and know what I need to do.

I am beginning a new stage of life. Albeit, I’m a bit behind because apparently I’m just a little thick when it comes to hearing God clearly on the subject of my own life. But I have heard and am now responding. I’ll admit that I am one hundred percent scared to death. Words of doubt and predictions of failure are already flooding my conscience but I have resolved to push them down and move forward. I am ready to do what is necessary to succeed. I am willing to sacrifice things in my life to make these dreams and goals happen. I am refusing to be consumed with jealousy or self doubt. And I look forward to this year with anticipation and excitement!

I’m not really sure why I have felt compelled to write so candidly about myself. I don’t ever like to assume that people want to hear me drone on about my struggles and insecurities. Rehashing the depth of my humanity is certainly not something that I particularly enjoy. Perhaps it is simply the desire to be honest and transparent about myself for once. I don’t think it happens near enough in life anymore.

So I ask for your prayers as I begin this new and strange journey because I just don’t ask others to pray for me enough, and at the root of that is pride.   For the next year I am moving back home in order to pursue a life in theatre. I don’t really know why but I feel that God has opened that door and I’m ready now to walk through it. Pray for personal strength as it can be a world that sucks the life out of you. Pray for me spiritually as it can be a dark and worldly environment. Pray over my greatest weakness which is discipline and pray over the people I will meet and the relationships that I will develop.

“For whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.” Colossians 3:23-24