Thursday, July 21, 2011

You Ask, I Answer, Take 12

Before I dive in for the day, I’m putting out a plea for more questions. We’ve got about two weeks of twice weekly questions and answers left, and after that we’ll either have to end this feature, or I’ll have to scour the web and books for interesting questions to answer. I’ve been loving having questions and prompts to work from and I’d love to see this continue. So, ask me anything! There is very little that is off limits!

Today’s You Ask, I Answer question comes from Christianne again. She asked:

What do you like most about yourself?

To be honest, I cringed when I saw this question for the first time, and I’ve studiously ignored it on my list of questions until now!

I cringed because finding anything to like about myself has not been something that has come easily. I would venture that you wouldn’t know that I’ve struggled deeply with self-confidence and self-love if you simply met me on the street. You would have to know me well to see through the façade that I’ve spent years constructing. There have been times where I’ve actually found myself wishing that I could see in myself the things that others seemed to see – that I could believe them instead of believing that they were part of my carefully constructed façade.

Over the last number of years, as Jesus has worked in my life, that has begun to change, and I’ve begun to recognize that some of what others were seeing was truly me, and that many of the beliefs that I had about myself were in fact lies. That said, since my initial reaction to the question that Christianne posed was that there is not anything about me that I love, there is clearly still work to do, and healing to be accomplished.
So, what do I like most about myself?

Well, I would have to say my eyes, but in saying that, I want to clarify that I mean more than simply the physical feature of my eyes. I mean the idea of vision, and of seeing.

My physical eyes are on the green side of hazel, with lots of gold thrown in, and I inherited them from my father. I was the only one of the three of us siblings who inherited dad’s eyes. My brothers are blue-eyed like our mom. My eyes really are one of my favorite physical features, simply because I love their color. Green has always been a favorite color of mine, and I feel like my eyes are quite pretty.

When we’re talking about vision, my physical vision is unique. I’m nearsighted in one eye, and far-sighted in the other. It’s a prescription that makes the people who fit my glasses every few years scratch their heads in confusion, and double-check with me to confirm that those numbers ARE really what my eye doctor meant to jot down! It’s the result of astigmatism in both eyes and of a lazy left eye. You can use the left lens on my glasses as a magnifying glass! The lazy eye essentially means that my brain doesn’t properly process the signals it receives from that eye, meaning that I rely on my right eye as the primary source of vision. If we’re ever having a conversation, and you’re sitting to the left of me, you’ll probably notice that I’ll turn my head so that you’re included in the field of vision from my right eye, allowing me to see you more clearly. Because I primarily rely on one eye for my vision, the other major consequence is that I struggle with depth perception. I’ve learned to compensate quite well over the years, but it does mean that I’m perhaps a bit more clumsy than you would expect, and that I often misjudge and bump into the corner of a desk or the edge of a doorframe. It also meant that as a not very athletically inclined child in a family of athletes, I was hit in the face by many, many flying objects. Soccer ball, nerf dart, basketball, volleyball, floor hockey puck, ping-pong ball – all of these have hit me in the head or neck!  Sometime, you should ask me to tell you my unfortunate junior high ping-pong story!

The physical aspect of eyes and vision aside, I think what I love (and conversely probably hate at times) most is the way that Jesus has shaped my ability to see.  I've shared in this space before that I am deeply sensitive to the spiritual realm, often aware of atmosphere and things that other people never notice.  Among other things, I think because of my own experiences, I tend to be particularly sensitive to those who struggle with various mental illness and fear issues, and I often know that they are struggling with these things long before they share that with me in words.  It has taken a good deal of time, but I've come to see these sensitivities as a particular gift from Jesus to me, a way to be invited into prayer, and into coming alongside of others.  Learning to walk with this vision is something that remains an ongoing challenge for me, but, as I said, it is something I've come to see as a special gift from Jesus to me, something that allows me to see and experience a greater part of his heart.

Whew!  That was a long answer to a short question!  Thanks for asking it, Christianne.  I'm glad I finally sat down to answer it.  If any of you have any sort of follow up questions, as always, leave them in the comments!


shallowfrozenwater said...

what an incredibly wonderful and self aware answer to a simple question. vision is so much more than being able to see and you really spoke to me on that one.

Lisa said...

Thanks Ian. I'm glad it spoke to you!

Miss said...

Cool post! I like it.
Please, please tell us the unfortunate junior high ping-pong story!

christianne said...

I, too, think you should include the junior high ping-pong story in one of your "You Ask, I Answer" posts. :)

Thanks for answering this question, Lisa, even though it was hard. It's always slightly uncomfortable when we notice tender spots inside ourselves that we either didn't know were there or that we thought we'd really worked through already, isn't it? I appreciate that you stepped into the question anyway, even though it wasn't easy.

And I really appreciate what you shared about your unique and sensitive vision, given to you by Christ. It sounds beautiful and like truly a gift to hold and to offer, even if it might also feel like a burden to bear that sensitivity sometimes.

Lisa said...

Okay ladies! The ping-pong story will definitely be in an upcoming You Ask I Answer post!

Christianne, It's so true that there is great discomfort when we discover raw spots within ourselves that we thought healed. I'm learning though, that I need to step into those spaces, because those are the ones in which Jesus so often has something new and special to offer to me.