I watched a video this week by Prince Ea (he is a great spoken word artist – check him out here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ja-n5qUNRi8). He said something that I can’t shake; in fact, I have been thinking about it all weekend. I live far away from my amazing family, and I don’t have any family of my own, so family-centric holidays like Mother’s Day leave me feeling a little sad and a great deal introspective. So I may have been a little more sensitive than usual when I saw the video. Prince Ea said many of us are living ‘kinda’ lives. We ‘kinda’ commit to this thing and we ‘kinda’ pursue our dreams. His words have been going around and around in my head… ‘kinda’… how many times have I chosen a ‘kinda’ life? I am the queen of ‘kinda.’ And when I am honest, living a ‘kinda’ life has left me heart broken and a jack-of-all-trades, being master of none.
Many people have commented on all the things I have tried, and it is true – I have lived a lot of life for someone my age, trying lots of different things. I don’t think that is necessarily bad. In fact, I think trying new things is really important to developing who we are. So from scuba diving to ballet dancing, I have ‘kinda’ done a lot. I think God made me that way, and I will always be a little bit of an ‘up for anything’ wild spirit. I am a curious human who loves to live for the experience. But sometimes I think my ‘kinda’ lifestyle has left me feeling ungrounded and unconnected. I don’t regret living a life of trying things, but I think I have settled for ‘kinda’ too much and in places where life was never meant to be lived in a ‘kinda’ type of way. I have ‘kinda’ been committed to a lot of things, and I wonder where I would be had I dove head first into any one of them. They say it takes 10,000 hours to master anything, so my ‘kinda’ lifestyle doesn’t always cut it!
I think the ‘kinda’ lifestyle has applied to my friendships, and I know for sure it has been part of my intimate relationships. I have had many friendships that ‘kinda’ had vulnerability and depth to them, but there was always something I held back. I didn’t want to be too open or too known. I ‘kinda’ wanted to be in control. When you are open in relationships, you lose the ability to control how people will view you and what they will accept or reject in you. That has left me with lots of friends but feeling unknown in many ways.
When I look at my dating life, it has been a lot of ‘kinda’. As a pastor, dating is beyond complicated. I didn’t realize that consequence going into ministry. As far as I knew, I was still ‘just Sarah,’ and Sarah dated like anyone else. It took my friend having a bit too much whiskey and telling me, “I would have pursued you, but dating you is like being a step-father. At some point you have to meet all the kids (the congregation), and it just seems too complicated.” I had never thought of myself as complicated. But I got it. From that point on I had lots of ‘kinda’ relationships. Not many went public; but when they did and then didn’t work out, it more than ‘kinda’ hurt – it was a public failure. ‘Kinda’ dating became easier but left me feeling un-pursued and unknown. Worse still, those times when I risked being more than ‘kinda’ and the other person just wanted ‘kinda,’ I felt embarrassed and unsure of myself. I don’t think that is what relationships are supposed to look like. I think good relationships make us more, not less, and definitely not ‘kinda’ people.
In my career, ‘kinda’ hasn’t been helpful either. I have ‘kinda’ pursued my dreams, and sometimes I have embarrassingly shared my career goals, expressing them in language that makes them seem more like dreams and less like goals. I believed that if I ‘kinda’ shared what I hoped for, failure would seem less traumatizing, since I only ‘kind of’ wanted it. So this weekend I am aware that I am tired of ‘kinda.’ I think God made me a wholehearted human, who as much as it scares her, wants to be wholeheartedly pursued and wholehearted in the way she pursues life. I don’t know what that means yet, or what it looks like lived out, but I hope you will join me!
Living a ‘kinda’ life is much like trying to answer the question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”. Without ‘experience’, how can I know what I want to be. And, there’s the rub! Now that I have a reasonable amount of ‘experience’, I have a definite dearth of ‘time’ to exploit it. You’ve got what we used to call “gambler’s blood”. You are willing to put yourself out there and take a chance of being hurt… and, still you put yourself our there. You believe in the ‘goodness’ in people and a Deity that loves you in ALL circumstances and will never leave you alone. I feel your pain at introspection because, I believe, it is the pain that each of us feels… but hesitate to speak of. It is like the dark room in the middle of the night: We’ve been told to go to sleep so many times that we will wrestle with the demons of the dark than turn on the light. Good Shepherd Sarah, you lead us through the scary times and know the way to the sunshine of “Good Morning” because you’ve lived through the same worries with us. We each pray for your peace, joy and comfort as you have prayed for each of us. May answers to all of your questions come to you without Confusion curcuitiousness. Faith, Unity and Zeal. Gerry
Gerry thank you for this! You are such an incredible encouragement!