He was challenging me to get out of my comfort zone, to do something that involved communicating with people, asking them to participate in something I held dear.
“You don’t understand,” I told him. “I’m not a likable person.”
“It makes me not like you hearing you say that.”
I kept my mouth shut, but in my head, I just figured, Well, I guess that proves my point.
I’m probably the most socially awkward person I know. People scare me. Social settings make me uncomfortable. And yet here I am. Living in the most populated country in the world. Oh, the irony.
God has a strange sense of humor, I tell you.
Oh and yeah… that thing I was being challenged to do? I did it. How’d it go? It was one of the most uncomfortable, hurtful experiences of my life. I don’t ever want to do it again, but God will probably ask me to at some point. I’m anxious just thinking about the possibility.
I guess I’m really just in a broken place right now. There’s something wrong with the way my mind is processing situations and social interactions. So I retreat. I retreat, because I need to protect myself, and I need to protect others from me too.
Because hurt people hurt other people.
Something’s deeply wrong with me. Something’s broken.
And I don’t know how to fix it.
Earlier this year, He told me to “get comfortable being uncomfortable”. And I’ve stepped into more uncomfortable situations – at least for me – this year than I ever have any other year. And now, He’s trying to coax me out of my comfort zone again, and I can’t. I just can’t.
I don’t know how to step on water and retain focus on Him, amidst the storm raging around me, so if I can’t do that, is it wise to leave the boat?
With the hesitation comes a nagging fear.
I know that eventually, my comfort zone will become uncomfortable. It will happen, because I asked Him to never allow me to settle for less than the fullness of His plan for me, so even if I want to stay within the bounds of what’s familiar, He will drive me into the wilderness, because there is a Promised Land that awaits.
I prayed that He would unsettle me whenever I am not functioning as designed.
And He has. He is addressing what’s broken, and I feel it. Through it all, all I can think of is: Be careful what you pray for.
A lot of this is stemming from the realization that my writing dreams could come to an end just like that. I wrote my book with a vision that I can get it traditionally published. Because of my own impatience, I dared think that I could have it self-published.
After taking a complete look at what it’s going to take for me to successfully self-publish, I realize that I can’t do this. There’s a reason why I never stepped into marketing or any other job that requires people to like you.
It’s because I’m not a likable person. Never have been. Don’t know if I ever will be.
The more I research, the more I realize that self-publishing is all about relationships. Being liked. Building rapport. Networking. I don’t know how to do that.
The mere idea exhausts me.
I’m waiting for a rejection to come one of these days, and when it comes, that’s the sign that this door has closed. I’m not going to self-publish, because I can’t do it. I won’t be able to handle it. I’ll probably still continue writing, but I was a fool to think that this was possible.
Yet another humbling experience. Yet another dream turned to dust.
I should be used to this by now.
Get comfortable being uncomfortable, right?
Yet even as I write this, there’s this fight within me. This rage. This warrior that refuses to go down without a fight. This voice that’s telling me that it doesn’t have to be this way.
That He did not design me to be this fragile victim, who can’t get up after a loss. I wasn’t meant to be shackled by these crippling lies, distorting His words. I was meant to overcome. If I’m in the wilderness, then fine… I can hack it, because I’m sure that I will find the Tree of Life. I will find manna. I will find quail. I will have a cloud of glory guiding my every step.
Maybe it’s true. Maybe I’m not likable to many people. So what? I know He likes me. He doesn’t just love me. He likes me. I may be the overlooked, the abandoned, the rejected. The eternal misfit. So what? I think that’s what He likes best about me. I’m so cracked and messed up, I could never possibly take credit for His glory shining through the brokenness.
And maybe it’s true. I can’t do it. Maybe my dreams have turned into dust, and maybe… just maybe… that’s a good thing, because what intricate masterpieces He can make from dust!
I don’t know. Hope is hard to kill, and though my heart is sick, I know that somewhere… somewhere in this wilderness, the Tree of Life awaits. All I can do until I find it is keep going, keep taking one uncomfortable step after another.
Get comfortable being uncomfortable.