This is one of those posts that I just kind of have to get off my chest in order to work my way through it. I have to push it away from myself, get it at arm's length so I can get a good look at it and figure out what it is. So just bear with me here while I say some things that may be hard for my family to read. I'm going to go ahead and say this now: if you're my mom, you may want to stop reading. This may hurt your feelings a little bit. Let me just start by saying that I don't like school breaks. Never have. I get super bored, y'all. I'm not useful on break. I don't have any kind of goal or any structure or routine. I thrive on routine. I suppose I should stop depending on it to provide order to my life, but that's a post for another time. Suffice it to say that I don't like breaks, especially Christmas break. I love Christmas, but Texas Tech gets four long weeks off of school in the middle of our year, and I think that's about two weeks too long. I'm currently losing interest in my hometown and counting days till I can go back to school.

Here's the deal, folks. Here's what's a little hard for me to say:

I don't feel like myself at home.

Isn't it ironic? I spent eighteen years living with my family, and twelve in the house I call home. How is it that suddenly -- or not so suddenly; who knows how long this change has been in coming? -- how is it that somehow I find myself a stranger in my own head? How is it possible that I come to this place I could find my way through blindfolded, only to find that I don't know my own heart?

I've heard people talk about this. I know that I as a person have grown and changed and made my own life in Lubbock. But why is it that I can't bring that with me when I come back to my childhood home? I've started using the word "home" to refer to two different places, even: when I'm in my hometown, I find myself saying things like "Yeah, when I'm at home, I do X, Y, and Z." It doesn't offend anyone, but I instantly notice what I've done. I've shifted. I, Sara -- I've changed. Home hasn't changed, but my idea of what it is has changed. I find myself easily annoyed with my family -- I think that's the main way that this oddness manifests itself. I'm far less joyful, more restless, and I don't seek Christ as much.

I realize this is kind of a weird thing to post on Christmas, but as this is such a family-oriented holiday, I've been experiencing a lot of these sensations over the past few days. Today I started reading C.S. Lewis's Surprised by Joy (FANTASTIC book), and I think the discontent with the current state of my heart hit me pretty full force as I was reading his descriptions of joy in his childhood (I'll post on those later. Holy crap, I love that man). Why do I feel like I can't be myself with my family? These people know me. They've seen me grow up. They know whence I come. Why do I feel so foreign to myself?

It's different to be a part of a group than it is to be an individual. The fact remains that I'm just not used to functioning in a group of five -- I'm a single, independent woman; I do what I want. Seriously, though (somewhere, Liz and Becky just read that in my voice and laughed) -- it's stupid hard to go back to existence in a unit. But that's not the only thing. I feel like my family's thoughts are foreign to me. I know all of our opinions -- heck, I hold them myself, and I've heard them my entire life. But somehow, when they are uttered in the context of familiar family occasions, they have a hollow ring to them. I don't deceive myself by thinking that I'm perceiving some new truth behind the opinion; I don't think there is one. But somehow they don't feel like my opinions anymore. I feel like I can't totally get behind them. I don't disagree with them at all -- in fact, I totally agree with all of them. But I don't feel vehemently about them anymore. I don't really want to talk about it. These things do matter, but I don't want to talk about them. And I don't know why.

Is it because they're associated with a life that I'm no longer living? With a past version of myself that I no longer know? Heck if I know, y'all; I'm just trying to make sense of this. Because I don't like it. This unsettledness is driving me up the wall.

I DO feel like myself when I'm reading or singing or writing in my prayer journal. Or working, or spending time with Jesus. But somehow my time with Jesus is less concentrated here. Maybe that's the problem. I truly fell in love with Christ when I went to college -- perhaps I subtly associate my hometown with less of a need for Jesus. Of course, it's utterly not true. And that may or may not be the explanation for the way I feel.

Maybe I'm meant not to know. Maybe Jesus is teaching me a lot in this quiet, non-school time. In fact, I KNOW that He is -- there's no "maybe" about that. I'm learning a lot about Him that I know will be put to the test when days are harder. It's hard to remember that the humdrum days are still part of the adventure. It's hard to remember that the restlessness is part of the story. In all the books I've ever read, the sensation of not feeling like oneself is an indicator of a need to move on. I love my family, and I'll never move on from them. They're as much a part of me as my blonde hair and my love of music and my voice -- perhaps more so, for they're part of the fabric of my heart. But maybe I need to move on from the past version of myself. I need to leave her behind and give myself even more fully to Jesus when I'm in my hometown. When I went on this break, I told Jesus I wanted to grow more in Him over this Rest Period. I know He's doing that, even though I'm probably totally clueless to it. Maybe this is part of that.

So may I spend the rest of my break so deeply engrossed in Christ that I return to Lubbock changed in two weeks. Jesus, may I feel so deeply every day my need for You. Feelings aren't facts, but they're good motivators. So let me amend what I just said (About this time someone's wondering if I ever backspace. I do, as a matter of fact. But this is my Place to think out loud). Jesus, how I love You. Help me to run to You every day, whether I feel like it or not.

My favorite verses, Isaiah 43:18-19 are applicable to pretty much every situation ever in life, but they seem especially fitting for tonight's close.

"Forget the former things; do not remember the things of old. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland."