Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Teen Beach and Brene Brown

This blog is sort of my personal dump. A place where I can take all my thoughts and pour them out into the great abyss of the interwebs. It's where I'm starting to work out my convictions and my passions. Some of you sweet friends have been reading along with me for three years now. Having a place to think on "paper" has given me the space to come to grips with my calling - the place where my burdens meet my gifting and talents (in the words of Jennie Allen)
(Also - did I mention I met her?)

The reason I write things like my letter to Anna Duggar is because I have a burden for women to be free. It is for freedom that Jesus set me free. And, as Jesus untangles me from the knots of shame and isolation, I just want other women to know the joy of the same! 

Side note: What is it about the human condition that when we experience something good we want others to experience it too? Well - the reverse is opposite too. As a friend pointed out, you know when you taste something disgusting and the first thing you do is shove the fork at whoever is next to you saying - "here, try this. it's so gross." Why do we do that? Haha. 

I know God has brought me soooooo far in the journey, but trust me, He's still got work to do. In the meantime, I just revel in the freedom He has brought me thus far, and so badly want it for other women. 

Chapter four of Brene Brown's newest book, Rising Strong, says this: 

You may not have signed up for a hero's journey, but the second you fell down, got your butt kicked, suffered a disappointment, screwed up, or felt your heart break, it started . . . The only decision we get to make is what role we'll play in our own lives: Do we want to write the story or do we want to hand that power over to someone else? 

I don't want to get into a theological debate about God's sovereignty. His control and our choices play in our lives in some crazy tension that I don't fully understand and won't on this side of Heaven. But, I am determined to live wholeheartedly within the safe parameters of that tension. Again, the ever-wise Brene Brown says, "You either walk into your story and own your truth, or you live outside of your story, hustling for your worthiness." I want to own my truth. 

When my life crumbled five years ago, I had to stop and make a careful exploration of who I was. I had built my life on what I was doing. On being a wife, a mom, homeschooling, my theology, going to an Acts 29 church. When I discovered infidelity in my marriage, that foundation crumbled in one fell swoop. (Side note: my ex-husband read my last blog and is fine with me sharing!) 

I discovered that I'd been finding my significance in all of those things instead of in Jesus. All of the above are "good things" but they are still a foundation of sand. When the foundation crumbled, I had to seek who I am in Jesus. It was messy. It still is messy. "The middle is messy, but it's also where the magic happens." (Thank you , again, Brene Brown. I swear you can read my mind.) 

My kids love a set of made for TV Disney movies - Teen Beach and Teen Beach 2. (Please don't email me about the evils of the Disney channel.)  The main characters, Brady and MacKenzie, end up trapped in a 1960s movie called Wet Side Story, all about surfers and bikers. MacKenzie meets the female lead, Layla. Layla sees that MacKenzie can make her own choices, that she doesn't follow a scripted status quo, and that she doesn't live for the approval of boys and the hopes of finding her dream boyfriend. 

In Teen Beach 2, MacKenzie and Brady have made it back to real life, but back movie-land Layla was changed forever by her encounter with MacKenzie. Layla wants to do math and engineering. Layla wants in on the adventure that the boys go on. So, she shakes things up and she does it all. And, the name of the movie changes from Wet Side Story to Layla, Queen of the Beach.
I love the song at the end of the movie, "That's How We Do," 

And there's a fresh breeze headed down the beach
Saving me from the heat
A new beginning on a wave of endless possibility 
I feel a good change comin' round the bend
Can't help but move my feet
It's a different story cause I changed the end
I make my own destiny

You guys. There's a fresh breeze blowing among us. We can't change what has happened to any of us. But we can say a "hearty yes to our adventure." (Joseph Campbell).  We can change the end. It can be a different story because of what we choose to do in the middle. 

I know I'm pouring out a lot of Brene Brown. But, man, she's so good: 

When we deny our stories and disengage from tough emotions, they don't go away; instead, they own us, they define us. Our job is not to deny the story, but to defy the ending - to rise strong, recognize our story, and rumble with the truth until we get to a place where we think, Yes. This is what happened. This is my truth. And I will choose how the story ends. 

So let's rumble with our truth. I know, I know. It shakes things up. It makes people uncomfortable. It makes ourselves uncomfortable. But, let's press in to Jesus, safe in His care for us, and let Him show us who we are in Him. When we know that identity, it allows us to be brave with our stories and brave with each other. In sharing our stories, God works and make us wholehearted!

Honestly, I don't have a neat and tidy ending for this one. My thoughts could trail on forever. So, I guess go read Brene Brown's books and watch Teen Beach. But, don't say I didn't warn you that Brene's books will change you forever AND the Teen Beach songs will be stuck in your head for days.

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