Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Name


N.B. I know it's always been a while since my last post but I had some good excuses this time. I'll try and fill in my Philippines blogs when I find where I've written them....
Just before Christmas I made the decision to move out of the flat I'd been staying in for the last three and a half years. It wasn't a decision that was made lightly, but I without a job or a steady/decent income, it was just too expensive to stay. So I put my life in boxes, and in the week in between Christmas and New Year, transported it to various lofts, garages, and my Mum's lounge. I then said goodbye to the town that had been my life and my home for five years, and headed back to where it all began: Brentwood. Although I love my family, moving back in with Mum (minus all my stuff) and not being independent has been a bit of an identity shock. I'm not quite sure where I fit in, and it has taken me almost a month to get used to the way things work. I'm so used to having my own space, and doing everything for myself, and now I don't really get that. I feel out of place.
Since finishing my job as a youth worker at the end of August, I've also been 'out of work' although I spent 2 of those months in the Philippines, being a 'big sister' to lots of gorgeous children; at no point was I 'doing' youth work. And back in my home town and at my home church, where people have known me since the tender age of 5, I'm just Ami, who has been missing for five years and who happens to be a qualified youth worker. People have asked for my opinion, but I'm not in charge of anything, and none of the kids/young people really know me so far. And actually, none of the adults really know me very well either. They don't know what I stand for, what I'm good at, what I'm passionate about, what I'm capable of.

At Housegroup the other week, we were discussing the Nooma DVD 'Name', and in church, one of the sermons was talking all about how our identity mustn't be found in what we do, or our service becomes a self-service rather than to benefit God's kingdom, and ultimately, is damaging to ourselves and others. Although I would never normally admit it openly, it really hit home to me how much of my identity is caught up in what I do, and what I perceive to be my 'service' to God, might actually be a lot more about allowing me to find myself rather than to help others. I don't consciously serve others to help myself, I like helping others, and am happy to do so, but perhaps over the years, I have gotten so used to doing things that now that I'm not, I feel lost... As if I have no place in God's kingdom.

I do have this desire to please people. I cannot cope with people being upset with me, and often go out of my way to ensure that whatever hurt I think I have caused is atoned for... even if there wasn't any. The thought that someone is holding a grudge against me really gets to me, and so a lot of the time I will try extra hard to get people to like me by doing things, helpful things, so that people won't think of me as lazy or unwilling to help others. Sometimes I am conscious of this decision, and other times I have volunteered to do something before I am even aware of it myself. I have a real problem with saying no, often because I feel I have no good reason to say no. Other people have kids or partners or families to take care of, and I don't, so why don't I help? The idea of saying 'no' to someone just because I have something better I'd rather be doing doesn't sit too well with me.

So anyway, I guess what I'm saying is that I'm not quite sure who I am. And I wanted to record that in my blogs, so that people who think of me as having everything sorted and always being strong can know the truth. I'm just as confused and unsure of myself as you. Perhaps I'm just better at hiding it.


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