A Living Human Contradiction?

Sometimes I question myself for being too “wishy-washy”. I find myself drawn to activities, perspectives, and points of view that can be contradictory. For example, when deciding what to do in a given day, I can see great value in investing my time in rest and contemplation, and, I feel a tug, even a pressure, to be “productive” by accomplishing tasks such as getting laundry done, cleaning bathrooms, making art, writing blog posts. I am both a “Martha” and a “Mary”. (Martha and Mary are the sisters in the Bible with contradictory priorities...Martha is the “worker bee, doer, and servant; Mary is the deep-thinker, worshiper, and the one who simply “sits” at Jesus’ feet, loving Him and gleaning His wisdom.) I love to rest and dilly-dally, and I also love to hustle hard and get things done.

People-pleasing has always been a trait of mine, which often leads me into those “wishy-washy” situations. Through extensive study and application of codependency and its way of showing itself and its consequences, I am working on the balance between considering the needs of others, being a giver, an “empath”, a servant-hearted helper and also realizing it is usually more of a help to people to let them learn and grow through their own struggles, not “rescuing” them. It feels good to be praised for patience, tolerance and being available to help. But at the same time, when overdone, it can be draining and threatening to our own health and well-being, and it won’t help others develop into who they need to be, through their own struggles and failures.

I have recently read a few things about being “both/and” .... I really like that idea. Monk and contemplative Richard Rohr says, “Human consciousness does not emerge at any depth except through struggling with our shadow. It is in facing our own contradictions that we grow. It is in the struggle with our shadow self, with failure, or with wounding that we break into higher levels of consciousness. People who learn to expose, name and still thrive inside contradictions are what I would call prophets.” Wow, that’s deep. And daunting, to be so aware and confident to be able to sit in my own “shadowy places” and see their value. And then to even consider that I would be some type of “prophet” for even attempting to face my own weaknesses and hurts with such open acceptance? Mr. Rohr, you challenge me.

So, after having read that, I thought I would think about the contradictions within me (which some might consider “wishy-washy”, I remind you...and some of which I am not proud of, but I’m going to be real here, sisters) .... Here’s what I came up with:

● I am BOTH lazy AND motivated

● I am BOTH creative AND practical

● I am BOTH kind AND nasty (depending on the moment)

● I am BOTH conservative AND liberal

● I am BOTH patient AND impatient

● I am BOTH judgy AND empathetic

● I am BOTH a person of light AND a person of shadows

● I am BOTH healed AND wounded

● I am BOTH a person of failures AND of successes

Whew, that’s honesty, right there. I have been working hard, the past couple years, on facing the challenges in my life. I have been working on coming to grips with great grief-seeing BOTH its devastation AND its beauty. I have faced my own fears and resistance to developing and sharing my artistic gifts while at the same time wanting to keep them to myself and hide. I have been BOTH addressing and seeking change in unhealthy relational patterns I have developed in my life, AND seeking to love myself unconditionally, even though I can tend to be a people-pleaser.

God is BOTH ever-present, ever-gracious, AND He calls me out with clarity when I need correction. It is so worthwhile to allow Him to be BOTH/AND in my life. I need His comfort, peace, and gentle kindness some days, and I need His correction, conviction and “tough love” other days. Kind of like parenting.... we need to decide which tool kit to pull from in any given situation. I am so very grateful that He is such a beautiful example of this and that His love, grace and mercy are unconditional.

I am PROUD to be a living human contradiction. I am happy to be wish-washy. I am honored to live life with a wide-angle perspective and knowledge that I am a human work in progress. May God continue to challenge me and teach me all the days of my life. May I learn how to maintain a healthy balance within my contradictions and love and accept myself exactly as I am while also seeking to be better, in God's will and timing. May I be BOTH A Martha AND a Mary, and see the great value in that. And may you know yourself and love yourself well, no matter what. From our unconditional love for ourselves comes great love and service to others.

Love you,

Leslie Mears

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