Peeling the Layers
I’ll never forget this one time when my daughter was around three years old. It was soon after a family birthday party, which meant we had been eating leftover cake for days. She had just recently perfected the art of using the toilet on her own, but was still a little messy with the clean-up portion of the process. Knowing this, I was trying to insist that she just let me do it since we were getting ready to leave the house. In her frustration and desire to do everything by herself, she blurted out, “Mom, stop! Just go in your room and eat cake!”
Now, as a budding teenager, the emotional highs and lows have only magnified. Everything from the long, drawn out “uuuhhhhhhhh” to the palpable teen angst. It’s a beautiful and necessary season in the growth of any human being. We’ve all been there. And, let’s be honest, at times we revert back to our explosive tendencies that were more prevalent in our youth. Whether that be cursing the heavens in the general direction of the person who cut you off in traffic or getting offended by an off-handed comment made by someone in passing or filling with rage at the mere mention of [fill in the blank with opposing political figure], all these responses stem from the false self.
Sometimes our faith can feel very similar. Whether we’re defending it, questioning it, deconstructing it, embracing it, or losing it completely, it can feel like an emotional roller coaster at times. And while each season is both beautiful and necessary in the development of faith, I believe God calls us to keep peeling back the layers of what culture and our own ego have dictated about our faith.
In The Art of Letting Go, Richard Rohr explains that the false self takes offense every ten minutes. This was a huge eye-opener for me, not to mention a tangible tool to help me pause and consider from where whatever current negative response is coming. He goes on to encourage us to learn how to let go of our illusions, arrogance, ego, false self, etc. in order to embrace our true selves and, ultimately, love for God and others.
There are countless times when I’m simply in awe of my daughter. In awe of the maturity she shows when she comes back to me five minutes after an outburst with an “I’m sorry, I’m just having a bad day”, her dedication to playing the upright bass, the display of deep compassion she has for others, and the list could go on. I believe God experiences that same sense of awe every time we embrace our true selves and choose patience over hostility, humility over pride, and love over being right.
Karyn works with kindergartners by day and parents the one and only Payton Grace by night. When she’s not teaching sight words or reiterating the importance of handwashing, Karyn enjoys watching whatever show she and Payton are currently obsessing over, bike riding (when Illinois decides to have nice weather), yoga, reading, hiking (when Illinois decides to have nice weather), having game nights with family, practicing the one song she knows on the ukulele when she’s not procrastinating, checking out local events with friends, and traveling and experiencing other cultures and cuisines (when Illinois decides to have crappy weather).