Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Divine Discontent

I have been feeling it recently, but I didn't realize what it was. I thought I was just getting bored. Ready for a new place or a new scene. Filling my time with talent development and social fun to compensate for my lack of pressing responsibilities and spare time, while I frolic through single life in my happy field of dandelions.

My friends at work helped me figure it out. I feel divine discontent. It's not itching for adventure, or a serious dating relationship, or moving to a new state, or getting a new job. It means I need to get out of my dandelion field and plant myself a rose garden.

I'm someone who runs around to every activity and every party... anything social and I am there. It was great in college. In the past few years, it's felt like a race that I've finished, but instead of moving to and training for the next event, I just keep running past the finish line, hoping I will find a satisfying stopping point. Recently it's like running on an invisible treadmill. Marking time. Spinning wheels. In short, I am going everywhere but I am not getting anywhere.

Example: I went to a game night this weekend. I go nearly every week. The same people are there. We play the same games. It's fun, but I never get to know any of them better or feel like a better person for having repeated the same experience another time. I go out of habit, or to be "social," regardless of if it is helping me grow as a person.

I have a new goal. DON'T go to that party. DON'T hang out with anybody and everybody, my hundreds of "social buddies." Step it up. Invite one or two people over for dinner and really talk to them instead. There's a season for everything, and while being a social butterfly was fun for a while, it's time to push myself and find some real, deep, meaningful relationships beyond the social buddy scene. I think it's going to hurt - meaningful relationships always do at one point or another (high investment=high risk). But no pain, no gain.

This may mean sacrificing some of my social buddies simply because there isn't enough time to maintain a slew of buddies while having several intimate friends who I will do anything for whenever they need it. But social buddies are a dime a dozen. They can do without me and I without them. I am going to start focusing on building up meaningful relationships, which I have only had with my immediate family, some past roommates, and past boyfriends. To have this with people I am not related to, living with, or dating will take more of a concentrated effort, but I'm up to the challenge. I think it is what God wants me to do. If successful, it will be the first step to a new season of life, and prepare me better for what lies ahead.

I will back up my theory with excerpts from a talk by Elder Maxwell, who inspired me in this new goal. He talks about stepping stones and how we need to be able to move on to the next stepping stone and let go of the one we are on.

"(Some) stepping-stones remain unused because... we are not yet willing to confront what we yet lack (see Mark 10:21)."

"Granted, the stepping-stones take us into new territory which we may be very reluctant to explore. Hence, the successful users of the stepping-stones are powerful motivators for the rest of us. We usually pay more attention to those we quietly admire."

"No need to ask, 'Lord, is it I?' (Matt. 26:22). Rather, let us inquire about our individual stumbling blocks, “Lord, is it this?” We may have known the answer for a long time and may need resolve more than His response."

"The greatest happiness in God’s generous plan is finally reserved for those who are willing to stretch and to pay the costs of journeying to His regal realm."

Bye bye parties!!! So long, college scene. It was fun. I will miss you. But not for too long.

And PS - I am also moving off my "nice" stepping stone. I am not going to let myself be taken advantage of by people out of a sense of duty or obligation. It's enabling and it's not helping them. I am stepping onto the stone of open communication and feedback when necessary! And if what I say is reasonable but is not respected, I will have the guts to remove myself from the situation, guilt-free.


Emily said...

I think that sounds wise. Meaningful, lasting friendships teach you about yourself and others, and help you become more prepared for the world ahead of you. You are a sweet and wonderful friend. I miss living with you:)

Sarah said...

Emily, I thought of you while making this new goal! You are always so good at having a few really close friends and staying in touch with people. I really admired how you called and talked to Ali at least once a week - I never call anyone from high school!