I'm going to have to paraphrase a line from Blue Like Jazz because I've already given my copy of the book to a friend.
There is no more powerful drug than the addiction to self. (Sorry, Don. I probably butchered that. That line I'm remembering was probably more poetic and profound and probably hilarious, because that's just you.)
Anyway. Of course I thought of this line on Saturday when there I was, with myself taking pictures of myself in the bathroom mirror for myself's profile pictures on the world wide web.
The thing is, I wasn't taking those pictures because I think I'm hot. Actually, it's more that I think I'm not. So if I can try for the right lighting and then delete all the photos that show the two furrowed brow creases and the bags under my eyes, I'll try. Because then maybe I'll somehow get just the right picture for my Twitter profile and for Facebook. But mostly I just end up thinking I don't measure up, and that's why I was taking so many pictures. And now I'm only sharing this handful of the eleventy-gillion I took because these particular ones don't make me look like I have 3 chins like the deleted ones. And still I was looking at the ones I kept and thinking ugh. And I was thinking that I look almost 35 because I'm almost 35 and also that I need a haircut. So then I edited the pictures a lot on Picnik. So this isn't even actually what I look like.
It's only fair that I admit that, right?
As my wise and lovely friend Maggie said more eloquently recently, trying to walk through recovery from addiction while blogging is tricky, and I've been struggling with that too. When I read that line in Blue Like Jazz I realized that we are all walking that fine line. Yes, it may be a little more clumsy for those of us recovering from an addiction to substances, but I think all of us are here trying not to appear narcissistic.
But one of the hardest things to admit and then change is the fact that we are.
If we're not grandiose, thinking we're smarter or better in some way than other people, then we're self-deprecating and insecure and trying to act like we're not. Either way, we're dealing with a twisted form of pride, a self-focus that leaves little room for truly caring about other people because it's so exhausting. I don't mean just bloggers and I don't exactly know how to fix it, but I really want to try.
I've come to learn that I'm powerless over alcohol and I have to think that or speak that every day as a reminder. But what really makes recovery hard is the very thing we're all dealing with. Learning to accept that we have to do the very same thing with our very selves. I'm slowly learning that this is what will get me through, this is what will help me recover: Admitting that I'm addicted to myself and then praying for that addiction to be lifted and replaced with humility that isn't defined by insecurity, because that's not true humility anyway.
These are things that I knew, but I really didn't. I don't know that any of us can truly grasp just how focused on ourselves and our lives we really are, soul deep. Mentally, physically, spiritually...all parts of us pointing toward ourselves and our lives. It causes us so much pain and gets us all tied up in messes of our own making. I think this is why I'm a Christian. I believe in this God-Man who sat with whores and cheaters and drunks and saw through, soul deep, and He just wanted to listen and love that person and tell them true things about that love. They could stop thinking so much of themselves or so little of themselves because they were seeing in His eyes that they were free because of Him, somehow. Being next to Him makes it hard to stay self-addicted because He wasn't and isn't and that is powerful and contagious.
I'm a Christian because I love being next to Him, to Grace, to Love. And so often I forget to sit down next to Him because I'm just so busy thinking about myself.
And now I feel insecure and funny about sharing these photos and more thoughts about my faith. Because I don't want to be seen as narcissistic or the stereotype of a Christian because I'm not. And then again I am, I guess. But only in parts. I'm glad that the whole of me is greater than the sum of its parts, and that the God-Man I believe in sees me as the whole and that He has no problem sharing His perfect humility. I need to go sit by Him and ask for it, because without doing that, I'm powerless over my self addiction.
COMMENTS ARE CLOSED. (I always love what you have to say, but today is just simply a 'closed comments' sort of day.)
P.S. I will be thinking about Blue Like Jazz for a very long time. I'm certain it will be added to my list of favorite books ever. So I want to say thank you to Donald Miller because his words hit my heart at just the right time. His "nonreligious thoughts on Christian spirituality" put words to so much of what's in my heart and I'm so grateful. And he made me laugh out loud a thousand times, and I love that.
(And no, I'm not being compensated in any way to say that.)
(I get nervous about writing about my faith here and this is why.)