I have made friends with a monster. I feel him today, sitting on my neck, unconcerned that his weight is making my head hurt.
His name is Expectation.
I am a marionette to him. My hands and feet dance each time he tugs on me. He masquerades behind the faces of people my heart loves, and in their voices he manipulates me. Sometimes he gets bored of me and lays me aside like a forgotten toy and I sleep, for days, thankful for the rest. But even this rest is a ploy, for inevitably it blinds me to The Work almost entirely, and makes me deficient in all things, not merely the imitations. I feel like a blunted sword, whose thrusts never seem to hit the mark.
Sometimes, like today, his voice is gross in my ears: Dance, puppet. Dance.
I resent him entirely.
In days gone by I confused his voice with excellence, with reputation, even with that of my Father. So many of my contributions to the earth, that which I thought would be most celebrated, are nearly always entirely forgotten when his thick, choking voice was my motivation. It is as if his entire point is to spend my energy and focus so entirely that I am useless for any meaningful new depth of Jesus. Today his headache, his endless demands upon my flexibility, his thinly-veiled disappointment when I say yes or no against his will, are suffocating me of oxygen.
Jesus, be my Vision! My soul is weeping for your perspective of me.
I feel like a jagged little pill, the enabler of every unprepared person in the world, the one who is constantly expected to tie together the loose ends that no one else wishes to mend. My resentment of this, the very thing I am in fact gifted to do, testifies loudly to my tormentor. He plays so closely along my identity that I often don't notice his con until my reserves are spent. I am diversely gifted, but he shrouds my vision of those around me who are willing and able. I am flexible, but his version of me pours the incomplete efforts of others upon my shoulders. I am creative, but he suggests that I should be able to accept responsibility for every scenario that crosses my path.
I am willing to be completely spent, but only for Jesus, Who Is Worthy of It All. In Him, the work of my heart is seed, is fruit, is life--planted in the right places, at the right time, always yielding Fruit.
My heart is not calling for the death of my monster friend. In fact, he is accidentally causing me to know with firm conviction the authentic Voice. His grating imitation carries such agony for my soul that I am galvanized further as His Beloved. His yoke is easy, His burden is light. His work, even the work that requires my complete self, my full investment, is life and recycles itself as fuel for my spirit. His voice is gentle and never demanding, such that my rebellion never rises up to fight it.
Jesus, be my Vision. Thank you for the monster of Expectation. Thank you for allowing me to fully experience being tossed to-and-fro in his maelstrom. Allow him to sit upon my neck and speak to me, so that You are so fully and beautifully revealed in his emptiness. His torment adheres my Soul to You.
I am reaching out, through his facade, to Your reality. I am Diane, the One You Love--the flexible, the gifted, the creative, the willing. I am defined by You, and moved by You, and effective in You.
Be my Vision. I am holding fast today--to You. Blessed by a monster, who accidentally nestled me more deeply into You.