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Making Peace or Being a Misfit?

6 Comments 09 September 2010

Making peace with what you were given.  That is an interesting concept isn’t it.  It evokes all kinds of thoughts, not all of them pleasant.  The first thing that comes to my mind is the reality that if one has to make peace, then there must be a war to begin with.  I think I have spent a good portion of my life being at war with myself over who I am.

I can be my own worst enemy at times.  I am brutal beyond measure with my words, my thoughts and my behavior towards myself.  I say things to myself that I would not say to my worst enemy.  How exactly did I come to that opinion, of seeing myself through a lens that paints ‘me’ as a misfit?

I finally finished reading Eat, Pray, Love by  Elizabeth Gilbert this past weekend.  I really enjoyed the book.  Granted, it is a once in a lifetime opportunity for someone to be able to do what she did, but the insights into herself and others that she gained, were, in my opinion, invaluable.  Regardless of what you think of Ms. Gilbert, her book or her beliefs, it is wise to be able to take wisdom from where ever it comes.  And wisdom, is offered in various spots throughout her book.

One in particular, that I relish is Liz Gilbert’s coming into a greater appreciation of who she is as a person.  She writes, almost two-thirds of the way through her one year trip, “God isn’t interested in watching you enact some performance of personality in order to comply with some crackpot notion you have about how a spiritual person looks or behaves.  We all seem to get this idea that, in order to be sacred, we have to make some massive, dramatic change of character, that we have to renounce our individuality.”

I have always had some aching sense that who I am, how I am wired, is a classic case of being a “Hermie.”  You know, the elf that wanted to be a dentist onRudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.  That I got dropped into the wrong country and I speak a different language or know how to play soccer while everyone else plays only tennis.  Gilbert goes on to say, “But at some point you have to make peace with what you were given and if God wanted me to be a shy girl with thick, dark hair, He would have made me that way, but He didn’t.  Useful, then, might be to accept how I was made and embody myself fully therein.

I think we all struggle with this, we all struggle to ‘make peace’ with who we are, because most of us don’t really know who we are.  Or at best, we have allowed someone, either a person or an institution to diminish the qualities that we possess.

How do we make peace?  How do we learn who we are?  Do you need an objective eye or ear in the learning process?  Are you at peace with who you are?  If not, why?

Liz Gilbert quotes the ancient Pythagorean philosopher Sextus, who said, “The wise man is always similar to himself.”  I have started making peace…I have learned a lot about who I am and it is good to be me.

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6 Comments so far

  1. I’ve always thought of myself as an outsider. Never felt like I fit in–or rarely.

    Some days I accept it more than others. I do have to say that age has softened the feeling, though there are certainly days when I feel like I’m on the outside looking in. Those days stink.

    • Jorja says:

      amie, how do we get to the place where we believe that we don’t have to be on the ‘inside’ as defined by popular culture, or whatever/whomever we are giving the power to define what is acceptable? i do think we have to make peace with who we are, even beyond that, we should move to a place of embracing who we are so that we can love our lives and our children can see a woman who lives fully and freely. i also know that is what i long for, and not often how i live my days! love you and thanks for sharing! hope your weekend of being a super-duper baseball mom is fantastic! you rock!

  2. susan Smith says:

    Jorja, I don’t know you from Adam. Is it okay if I post on your blog? I hope so.

    Your ideas so resonate with me! I think there was a time in my life (um, maybe up until last week) that I actually made my Hermie-ness part of my identity. How arrogant is that? My whole attitude was “I am different and all you people are the same.” I went to a church where most of the people said “If this place closes, there is no other church that I can attend.” But the truth is, with Christ, I can thrive anywhere and there is no one on the planet too rich or poor or beautiful or plain for me to love. These ideas were steeped in insecurity for me. I confess! I repent.

    I also find it so ironic that we get this notion that religion stifles individuality. The great surprise of my life was coming to Christ because I was so miserable I was willing to sacrifice my individuality to find some rest for my soul and then finding out that I can only really be myself when I understand myself as Christ sees me. Oh boy, what a delightful group of weirdos follow him. And also some jerks, but I try not to think too much about that. 🙂

    Thank you for your thoughts! I really enjoy reading them.


    • Jorja says:

      well hello susan lewis smith, whoever thou art…;)
      glad to have you. i think the reality is, whether we see ourselves as ‘misfit’ or not, we struggle with just how we are made. call it the fall, call it humanity, call it whatever you will, but i’ve never met a woman (one that was honest anyway) who will not admit to feeling square, when there is but a round hole! it is certainly nice to hear that you have felt your individuality nursed in your christian experience. while i am confident that jesus is a HUGE fan of how he created me, and many who share my strengths, it has been my experience, that the cultural church does not. to be celebrated, to be appreciated, to be loved as is…oh, that is not a gift i have ever received as a christian woman in the south. granted, i have a bounty (though i consider a bounty to be a few these days) of friends who share my faith and love me as i am, the institution of the church, and especially its leadership isn’t truly keen on the likes of me. kt tunstall is a favorite artist of mine and her new album comes out soon. she has a song called, ‘weirdo’ and it simply states, “still a weirdo after all these years.” that, my new found online friend, is what i make peace with every day of this life and i am growing increasingly able to do so…thanks be to god! please come back!

  3. susan Smith says:

    I feel the need to clarify because I don’t want to come across as saying “Things are fine for me, what the heck is wrong with you people?” 🙂

    The “cultural church” (I like that term) doesn’t accept individuality very readily. (Understatement of the century?) I totally agree. I’ve also felt the rejection of church leadership and I found it paralyzingly painful. And I do believe that to fight what my mom would call “the squashers that be” and fully embrace who we are in Christ is a good fight indeed.

    And on that note, you seem to be a good soldier. 🙂


    • Jorja says:

      susan, no need to clarify or qualify here dear! i know what meant and i honestly am encouraged when i hear that any woman, in any church setting is rejoiced over…especially for authenticity! i love your mom’s ‘squashers that be’…tell her i may have to quote her! i appreciate the encouragement!

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things to make you wonder~

“I am a frayed and nibbled survivor in a fallen world, and I am getting along. I am aging and eaten and have done my share of eating too. I am not washed and beautiful, in control of a shining world in which everything fits, but instead am wondering awed about on a splintered wreck I've come to care for, whose gnawed trees breathe a delicate air, whose bloodied and scarred creatures are my dearest companions, and whose beauty bats and shines not in its imperfections but overwhelmingly in spite of them...” Annie Dillard

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