The Space Between

I'm working hard at living in the in between spaces of late.  I tend to be an "extreme person".  The beauty of the bipolar tendencies, I suppose, means that I swing from one extreme to the other and have trouble finding the "happy medium."

It's like this: I either love you or I hate you.  I'll tell you everything about anything, or nothing at all.  I'm either obsessed with something or bored with it.  I either feel like super mom, or like social services should come for my children.  I either feel like the most loved, most cherished, most confident, most beautiful woman alive, or I feel like a worthless nothing that no one would ever want to be around.  Welcome to the fantastic roller coaster that is me.

So, I'm trying to learn to live in the space between.

The thing is, I don't think I'm alone in this.  I think, in fact, that there are millions of "extreme" people all around me.  The question is what to do with us.

There is the world around me as it is: broken, miserable, dirty, chaotic, and lost.  There is the world that God intended it to be: whole, exuberant, pure, beautiful, and purpose-filled.  And then there is me, waffling in the middle, being pulled by both sides, by the desire to touch and connect with those who live in such desperate need of true contact with something real and honest.

And it's hard not to be swayed... to be pulled into the despair and hopelessness.  

It's also hard not to be swayed to ignore it all, to live with my head in the clouds, knowing that "God has something better than this"...  I don't want to live in a place of irrelevance to those around me either.

So, I swing back and forth, knowing that I've been given this "burden" of desire for a reason.  Knowing I'm not alone in this need to live in the in-between places.  And I'm not alone in my struggle for the "middle ground."


Jason Kichline said...

I not sure I swing as drastically or not, but I do know that I have moments of elation when people just wonder how to contain my excitement, followed by moments of crawling into my own shell and wallowing in self-doubt. It's a vicious cycle that seems to escalate, at least until I hit a good-sized shame spiral.

The odd thing is that I think the highs are mostly normal for me, but the lows have gotten deeper lately. I think that is because I talk myself into doubting myself, if that makes sense. But when someone praises me, even though I am humble about it... it normalizes me because I find my worth. I don't need to overdo things, and I don't need to feel shame.

So I suppose the solution to this is simply somebody consistently praising you for who you are. Present tense. No expectations of the future, no reminders of the past... just you, right here, right now. The people of God should be about that business, simply because that is what God believes. It doesn't matter if you believe in God or not... because He believes in you :)

We are all beautiful in his or her sight, and each a unique work of art that God cherishes. Let us see each other as God sees and praise each other for their gifts and beauty. And may we always remember that we are worthy of the chase because God is our lover.

Jeff said...

If it makes you feel any better, I think there are far, far more people who fall into the "extreme" category than there are those of us who live easily in that between-ness. And even some of them are not so much living "in between", but are denying the extremes exist; instead choosing to live in a grayish twilight of numbness.
As I see it, the challenge is to live in the between-ness, to realize that all is temporal, to take everything in stride, and yet to still experience the joyous highs and sobering lows of life. That's the hard part. :)

kj said...

By nature I am a person of extremes--up/down, on /off, engaged/totally disinterested etc etc. Indeed at times I feel like the embodiment of a roller coaster!
But balance doesn’t come (for me) by striving to do so. Part of my journey is to learn to live in the present moment. It is then that I find balance—or to live, as you put it, in the space between. It is only when I can fully allow myself to live in the moment that I find the place of peace, however fleeting it may be.
That said—I find that being an “extreme” person can be awfully lonely.