The Art of Mirriam Neal

//walking on water

Confession: I was scared to publish my last post. Even as I wrote it, I wondered if I’d be able to actually put it on my blog. What if people thought I was betraying them somehow? What if, ironically, everyone suddenly thought I was dishonest? My two closest friends mentioned in the last post discussed it with me after it was finished.

Lauren told me that she didn’t feel there’s as big of a discrepancy between myself/my personal as I feel there is. She says she still sees that in me, but rather it’s the ‘tip of the iceberg’ and I go much farther down than what most people see. That was comforting, but then she added something that clarified most of my struggle in a single point: I act like an extrovert online when I am, in fact, deeply introverted. Therefore, it’s natural that people will treat me like an extrovert, even when they mentally know I’m not. The wall I mentioned in the last post is not, in fact, as big as I thought it was – if indeed it exists at all. What I perceived as a wall might just very well be one part of a whole.

Arielle told me she does see the discrepancies in myself/my persona, but she agreed they’re mainly discrepancies caused by acting like an extrovert, and by going along with extroverted behavior even when I’m tired or don’t feel like it – for the sake of public image.

And I don’t know about you, but I’m getting real tired of image here, folks.

The good thing is, I’m not as off-base as I thought I was. I can read everyone but myself, but that’s what friends and family are for, right? The last post – and this one – are the result of weeks, if not months, of prayer, questioning, and wondering what on earth I’m doing and if I’m doing anything right at all. In addition to her remarks about public image, Arielle ‘took me aside’ and reminded me of something. She reminded me that last year, I was stripped back down to the foundation of myself, and that everything I felt I knew and trusted was gone. I began to question and doubt things I had always been certain of, and I’m still doing it. To be honest, I don’t know if I’ll ever stop doing it. I’d like to think that one day I’ll be completely healed and filled with trust and certainty again – but that isn’t the point.

For a while now account of Peter walking on water has been cropping up when I least expect it. A week ago I told Arielle that I must be supposed to learn something from it, but I couldn’t tell what it was.

Tonight as I spoke with her, she suddenly said, “Love, I think I’ve found your walking on water connection.” She continued, “Peter ASKED if he could walk on the water. HE WANTED TO DO IT.  He wanted to step out in faith.  And when he did, he walked as long as he kept his eyes forward, on Jesus.  Once he looked down, at the water below him, when he stopped to think about how impossible the feat was, that’s when he started to sink. You’ve been feeling pressured to be this persona, to be someone who isn’t really you, but now that you know and can accept that it IS a facet of you, but it’s just ONE facet, you’re ready to move forward.  And correct me if I’m wrong, but you’ve spent a lot of time trying to figure out if you really do understand it now and whether this move forward BEING YOURSELF is actually the right path or not. It’s your water,” she finished. “You know a fuller life awaits you, you know that there is a place of BALANCE. That even if it takes you months or years, you’ll eventually taste it. You’re ready to walk on water.”

Walking on water doesn’t look the same for everyone. For me, it looks like taking a deep breath and attempting to find myself – right where I left it. It may mean going silent for a day. It may mean ignoring messages from people I care about because I can’t deal with them at the moment. It may mean allowing myself to be tired when I’m tired. It may mean reminding people that I’m not an extrovert, and I need silence. Or it may mean a full day where I speak with everyone and hold a dozen conversations at once, although I doubt those days will be often.

The over-arching thing this semi-hiatus has taught me is that I like it. I like how much quieter it is, and how much less pressure it places on me. So will I just live life semi-hiatus? I don’t think so. I’ll take life one day at a time, and if one day needs to be semi-hiatus, I’ll take it. (Sundays are already total hiatus, and I highly recommend that to anyone feeling particularly stressed or in need of a break. I don’t go on Facebook, I don’t respond to emails, I don’t do anything pressurizing.)

So that’s what putting one foot on the sea looks like for me, right now. It looks like one day at a time. And most days, I think, that’s all it really is for any of us. One foot in front of the other, and always toward the one with outstretched hands.

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