The Reality We Create
I listened to a story about a young woman who woke up one morning next to a man she didn’t remember after a weekend of filled with parties, alcohol and drugs. Horrified by what might have possibility happened, she was devastated and distraught, but she sought counsel from her pastor because she needed to talk to someone.
The usual medical checks were done, and there was evidence of sexual activity, but nothing more conclusive, though there were concerns about what might have happened that night. At the end of the conversation, her pastor said, “You need to make new friends.” But he knew, within seconds of saying it, that she was going to keep doing what she was doing with her friends. Her friends, created her reality; dangerous and painful as it was, she wasn’t going to walk away. She admitted it.
My parents used to tell me that that people we surround ourselves influence our actions and the people that we become. Growing up, I thought it was pretty dumb advice. Needless to say, in the wisdom of my thirties, I’ve found myself contemplating the people I surround myself with, the influence they have and the reality it creates for me.
I question faith regularly despite the fact I grew up in the church and participated in everything from “Sunday School,” to “Bible Study” to “Praise and Worship.” But here, living in the reality that I live in, everything I’ve just mentioned is mostly non-existent. Most of whom I work and socialize with are not what we’d call “Christ-followers” and religion is often equated to antiquated beliefs made-up by some guy names Jesus. The people I know who call themselves “Christians” aren’t regular church-goers, Bible-readers, tithing-givers or small-group attendees, but yet, they are in the “I’m praying for you” or “God’s will be done” camp; I call this the platitude space. It’s challenging to find religion in action when my reality consists of those who don’t necessarily feel the same or don’t respect how I feel about faith (or understand my struggle with faith) or offer blanket platitudes when deemed appropriate.
I’ve always been confident. It’s not to say that I’ve never been unsure or uncertain about what I was going to do, but I always had some level of reasonable confidence about my abilities and strengths. In the last 12-18 months, I have found myself struggling with feeling confident in the decisions I’m making or with what I’m doing. For the most part, I’m not the type of person who needs validation to feel successful, but of late, I do find myself feeling less than adequate at work and home. I do believe that everyone needs cheerleaders, people who lift them up and bring the best out of them. Humans aren’t built for disconnect, even for those of us, who are introverts. I have a few people in my small circle of friends and family who are terrific lifter-uppers, but I’m also surrounded by many naysayers. Lately, the naysayers seem to be winning the PR battle.
What to do?
My reality is questionable at the moment. It certainly has me wondering if I need to expand my circle to change my reality (and perspectives) so that it feels more authentic rather than contrived. Is this even making sense?