Friday, February 23, 2007


"Turns out a lot of people endure lives that are cages of sorts – they have grueling, mind-numbing work; they spend time with selfish relatives; they are lonesome. Me, I put myself in a cage by thinking task instead of pleasure . . . I worry that I don’t have whatever synapses you need to anticipate fun.”
- Amanda Robb, “Hi, My Name is Amanda . . . and I Might be an Alcoholic.” Oprah January 2007


One of the inherent dangers in getting close to other people is that eventually they are going to see your sh*t. And even if they don’t call you on it, you both know it’s there.

Not that I am getting close to Oprah or anything. But close enough now that with every magazine issue, she seems to bear my soul, saying, “You’re valuable, but really, what the hell is wrong with you?” And I always end up saying, “I don’t know.” And plus I add “Why do you have to be Oprah magazine? That sounds so lame. And get your stupid picture off of the color of every issue. You're so egotistical.”

But there it is.

Anyone who knows me well knows that I struggle with having fun. And when I do have fun, I struggle with guilty feelings over the time that I had having fun which could have been put towards some better more cosmic purpose. I physically CANNOT relax. I can’t just sit and do nothing. Echoes in my head of people telling me I can’t waste one minute for Jesus haunt me constantly. Sleeping in makes me feel like a heretic. And somewhere, somehow I got this impression that doing something you don’t want to do is far more valuable in terms of spiritual disciplines and heaven points than something that you do want to do. If I ENJOY ministry, then something is wrong.

My life is pretty regimented. Those who know me well know this too. Why do I need to book activities a week in advance? Because that way I know I won’t waste a single minute of my life to frivolousness. That I will have the maximum amount of impact on this world.

Even my weekly Sabbath nights are structured in ways which purposefully suck all of the fun out of everything. Do this, now do this. Don’t feel like it? Too bad! Discipline, discipline, discipline. I am a very disciplined individual, but not an especially happy individual, and I am beginning to think that these are connected. Even when I sit to watch TV, it is only for a specific time and ONLY because it is in my list of “things to do.” Otherwise, I wouldn’t be able to do it. When I am on the bus, and I am too tired to read, I try to read anyway, otherwise it is wasted time.

This is insanity.

It occurs to me that as much as I have struggled against it, I still find worth in what I do rather than who I am. My language and actions prove this over and over again. I’m not quite sure how to combat this.



sarah said...

Bre. I love you.
It sounds like somewhere along the way, someone's expression of faith, or what life in general should look like, fucked you up real bad. I'm sorry. I got fucked up pretty bad too.

I'm not sure I have any valuable words of advice for you, and the path that is healing my wounds is likely not one that you're going to want to follow, for reasons that i thoroughly respect. but honestly? with all the love in my heart, i'll tell you this:

seek professional help.

I'm not trying to be facetious, and for all i know you already have. but i found it helpful in the extreme (and i may yet go for another few rounds sometime soon).

I dunno... there are no easy fixes to these sorts of problems. i can't just come up to you and be like, 'Bre. will you relax? you're not having fun and that stinks. you should have some fun.' That doesn't get down to the 'how' of it. i'm not sure what would.

If guilt wasn't such a psychosis-inducing inner beast, i'd tell you to purposely skip at least four items on your daily to-do list each day and see that you won't get struck down. But that would drive you crazy, i think, and make you more sad. i don't want to do that.

I don't know. I'm rambling now. I'm overtired. I'm sorry if this didn't make sense.

bre said...

Sarah, as always, you've got balls. And I think that's great!
Thanks, friend.

Kendall & Sabrina said...

Hi Bre.

While I don't have anything insightful to add to aid in your combat of the incessant need to produce, I did just want to say that I read your blog from time to time. And that I appreciate you, from the little bit that I know. Even if you didn't go to conferences and starve too, I'd still think you're pretty neat.


Jess said...

There are instances in the Bible where Jesus seeks rest, and does rest. There are moments where he leaves crowds to be alone and to rejuvenate. I think rest can help you serve more fully and joyfully. I wish this for you. You deserve rest, fun, and joy!

aaaannnnnd..check your email, there is more!

Candace said...

Hi Bre! This comment has nothing at all to do with your post. Just wanted to say hi and tell you I love you and that I will call you when I get back from Vietnam so you can schedule me in for some hang out time :)