In the 90’s, along with other awesome things like Nintendo 64 and my super cool headbands, there came a show called Dharma and Greg. The premise was a free spirited woman, and a straight laced man fall in love at first sight, and get married on the day they meet. The course of the show follows them as they navigate the combining of lifestyles, family traditions and find their own path. Her parents are conspiracy theorist hippies, and his parents are rich country club members. In short, comedy gold. If you haven’t seen the show, YouTube graciously has picked up the ball that Neftlix and Amazon shamefully dropped, and has all of the episodes for your viewing pleasure. You’re welcome.
Dharma was always a character I really liked, she had a rarely dimmed optimistic outlook on life, and was always up for an adventure. She never played by the rules, life wasn’t defined by certain social protocols and ideas, and she never met a stranger. Simultaneously however, what I liked about her was also what I couldn’t relate to. Greg made much more sense to me. Have a plan, do things a certain way, follow tradition, and be ‘normal’. Dharma gave me anxiety. Greg meant stability. The thing I loved most about this show though was how they always tried to make their marriage work, finding ways to meet in the middle and compromise. Greg helped Dharma focus a little more, and Dharma caused Greg to loosen up and do life a little more freely.
Franz and I are both more like Greg, we like schedules and plans, and knowing how our day is going to go. Although to be fair, he handles curveballs better than I do, I am not known for my quick decision making skills, and he is usually more optimistic than I am. When I became a mother having a certain way of doing things is what helped me survive. Lately though, I’m wanting to more than just survive. The kids are getting older, and that makes it easier to loosen up a little, change things up. Yet I’m still living in survival mode.
The older I get, the more I am beginning to know myself well enough to know what will cause me to be at my best. A clean kitchen counter helps me focus. Having a meal plan for the week causes me less anxiety, yet affords me freedom to switch up dinner nights while being safe in the knowledge I have the ingredients I need. Sure, life needs schedules, and boundaries and responsibilities, but what if I started to live more freely inside of those things? What would that look like? What if when I sat on the couch I didn’t sit in the same spot, every single time? Or what if I wrote in a different place in the house? Even thinking about that gives me anxiety, that’s a little sad.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not suggesting that I suddenly need to completely overhaul who I am, but gosh, I’ve even been struggling to write consistently because I’m trying to find the “right way” to do it! Loosening up might not be a bad thing for me.
I recently started reading a book called Brazen, by Leeana Tankersley, and in one of the chapters she talked about how we edit ourselves, and by default edit others around us. She told a story about how she went to the beach for some quiet time with God, and a woman in a teeny tiny bikini happened to be doing yoga nearby:
“And then, as I watched Yoga Babe, that little voice inside me said ‘You want to edit her in all the ways you edit yourself. You’re bothered by her because you perceive her to have something you want: Freedom to be yourself. Freedom to express. Freedom to move.’”
I frequently edit myself. Too loud, be quieter. Too much, be less. Too out there, bring it in. Sometimes we all need a little trimming, but I don’t think we were meant to constantly live life in the editing room. The only one trying to refine us is the One who made us, and He does a much better (and more grace giving) job at it than we do. My desire to create, is often tempered by my more practical “it needs to make sense! It needs to have a point!” self. True, making sense is usually good when it comes to things like writing (how am I doing so far??), but sometimes the heart matters more than the words. Some of the most meaningful and long lasting epiphanys I have had, have been when someone didn’t wait to make sure all the words worked, or sounded just right. They let their heart speak, and the rest followed.
So where am I going with all of this? Honest answer: I’m not sure. I’m still learning and growing and figuring it out. But maybe, just maybe, if I stopped editing myself, I would discover there is a whole lot more to me, and that being more is ok. Maybe I’d learn how to be a little more like Dharma. Maybe I’d learn to thrive.
“We know we were made for so much more than ordinary lives,
It’s time for us to more than just survive,
we were made to thrive.”