It is often all about information for me.
I collect it; information about people, places, situations, everything.
I rarely use it anymore. But I used to...
I could eavesdrop easily on conversations, I would collect the information and slip it into my pocket in case it would help me out later.
The scared side of me would like to tell you that I rarely if ever used the information. I just collected it. But I did.
I mean, I didn't black mail people or anything...I'm not Ben Linus. But I would use it to endear myself to people. Because I didn't think they would want me around otherwise.
By endear, I mean two specific things.
I would insert myself in a situation and manipulate peoples emotions and relationships with the information I kept secret or released into the wilds of conversation to ensure that I would be a friend they would turn to. I would be a shoulder to lean on and I would love how it made me feel needed. I would be devastated if I found out a person I wanted to be friends with (or was friends with) would confide in other people. Not because I thought they couldn't be friends with more than one person, but because I thought they had found out the truth about me and they had no need for me anymore.
I needed to be needed to know that I was loved. I know this about myself and it's the main issue that I'm working on right now. This idea that my tasks, what I accomplish or do for people, isn't the reason they love me. That it isn't the reason God loves me. I'm trying to learn in my head and in my heart that Grace isn't doled out to me like a paycheck for the Washington Projects that I lead or the ways I serve people in His name. It's really overwhelming to continually re-learn that Grace is totally and completely unearned and free. Because I'm an earner. It's been my identity for so long.
But I digress. As if you're surprised.
I was so good at information management. Keeping it close, letting it out in just the right ear at the right time. I was very good at letting it out to known gossipers (because of course that isn't what I was doing...I was just helping. I was needed.) so that it was rarely traced back to me. It was a cozy little bedfellow; this information I held.
It's a really hard habit to break. I intentionally set out to slow down, slim down my schedule so I can be still, so I can focus on getting healthy both inside and out. Then slowly it seems to creep up. Things I love, that I want to do pile up all at the same time. It feels like feast or famine most of the time. But I give in, people tell me how much they want me to be in something, to come to something and it makes me feel....needed.
But it's not enough to just show up. I have to bake a bunch of things, or host it at my house, or be the driver, the planner, the organizer. Because just showing up wouldn't be enough. I have to do. Perform. Earn their love, friendship, affection, grace.
When it gets really bad, really overloaded; when I get really stressed out I slide back into my information seeking ways. I collect. I listen. I ask things of people I don't need to know and I insert myself into situations I have no place being in. Because it's all about control when I feel out of control.
Then when I hear about something someone is going through, when they tell me at an appropriate for them time I feel devastated. Left out that they couldn't simply pick up the phone and call. I think of all the ways I could have helped, then I feel scared they don't really like me, love me, want me to be their friend because they don't want me to do things for them. Because how could someone want me in their life if I'm not doing something for them.
I'd like to say I'll stop. That I'll say no, that I'll pray for guidance and strength and ask for help. Oh, and I'll try that. I've just failed so much at it. I've pulled back and then jumped back into a deeper end than I had just climbed out of.
So instead I'll say I just need your grace. Your patience. Your friendship.
I know that I already have it. I do know that on some level. But in my tired worn out exhausted level I don't know it and it feels like leaving a birthday card on my dining room table spells the demise of friendship and saying no sounds like I hate you.