I would like to welcome you to have a small glimpse into my inner world. As we stand at the entrance, just before we enter in, I believe it would be beneficial to first gain a brief understanding of the things that have formed this little mind and worldview of mine.
My childhood was anything but normal. Growing up, I was heavily shaped by a culture that was not my own, in a country that felt like home, all the while being surrounded by people who knew I didn't fit in with them. The technical term is a third culture kid.
At the age of two, my parents moved to a country where little white, western children stood out like a sore thumb. Nevertheless, it was one of the best things that happened to me as far as developmental and spiritual growth are concerned. The environment shaped my worldview profoundly. And to my parents, I am eternally grateful.
However, though it was a beautiful blessing to grow up as I did, the cocktail blend of location, personality, personal experience and situational interpretation was a formula for developing unhealthy coping mechanisms within myself. Though these subliminal reactions were unhealthy, they were necessary and played a major role in creating who I am today.
I quickly built my identity on the things that made me different to others, embracing them wholeheartedly, while paradoxically becoming a chameleon, a master of mimicking behaviours, accents and attitudes. As I got older I began to be able to adapt to almost any setting and situation at the drop of a hat, allowing me to stand out when it suited and blend in when necessary.
The outcome of this, to the level that I am conscious of, was at least three-fold.
Firstly, I was unaware of who I was originally designed to be. I lost myself and have spent the last 30 years of my life trying to find who I am, what I feel and where I fit into the scheme of things. And I daresay this journey is far from over, for I will never fully be at home within myself in this life, I will be ever discovering and then forgetting who and how I was created to reflect my maker in a unique way.
Secondly, I developed the ability for efficient hyper-multi tasking and consequently high capacity. Contrary to the rhetoric of males being unable to do more than one thing at a time, in my early 20’s I frequently found myself closely following several conversations at the same time, while effortlessly reading the room, tracking who was entering and leaving, as I cooked the BBQ and watched the Rugby game being played, all at once. Later I understood this was not a superpower but an idol and insecurity (more on this inthe last chapter, after we leave the room). This developed a coping mechanism to deal with a multitude of things all at once and not become burnt out, worn out or even stressed out.
The third outcome that I am aware of, was the ability to see things differently to the majority of my peers and those around me. Whether it was in the country I felt most at home yet didn’t actually belong to or among the people whom I looked most like but had very little in common with or the many times I found myself being in the minority. Therefore, unknowingly, I honed my ability to think outside of the box and somehow stumbled into becoming seen as a creative thinker or a creative type.
I wonder if some of this resonates with you, as you are reading, or at least you can closely relate to part of these personality traits or coping mechanisms?
These not only affected me as a young teenager but also extended far into my adult life, particularly in my twenties and early thirties. I found myself feeling guilty and even apologizing for the way I made sense of the world, for the way I was coping and operating within this world. My attempts to mimic those around me so I could fit in, simply pushed my original design behind hidden doors.
On a daily basis, I would try to wear other people's prescription lenses, which rightly so was causing migraines for my soul. I hadn’t embraced the lenses that were specifically created for me, through my experiences, personality and upbringing. When embraced, however, one's soul begins to see with clarity and intuitively radiates its true identity.
My failure was that I didn’t know how to celebrate the fact that I have been designed to reflect the original.
The journey from where I was to where I am now is not what this book is about, though I’m sure the beautiful aromas will, from time to time, be noticed by those with keen senses as they turn these pages. And how I am personally wired, will look different to many of you reading this. Nevertheless, I was compelled to write this book as an open door into how my inner workings actually work.
The hope here is to make a space, to create a shared metaphor and to give permission to start a conversation within your own heart around understanding how you were designed and instinctively navigate your surroundings.
The intent behind this book is to encourage and inspire you as you read it, that you might see yourself in a new light.
Whatever your upbringing, your personal experiences and coping mechanisms may be, the desire is that you might celebrate how you have been designed. That you would enjoy the way you have been wired and see that you were created as a beautiful work of art. That you might realise that there is an eternal gap with exact specifications, sizes and dimensions, to perfectly fit your being. You were woven together in your mother’s womb, every detail designed with purpose, to play part in something far, far bigger than both you and your world.
I believe each life has been designed and handcrafted to reflect different elements and characteristics of it’s Maker. This is good and should be celebrated. Yet how often we find ourselves wishing we weren’t the way we are or that we could be more like someone else. We can find ourselves spending too much energy and time trying to hide or even change how we have been designed.
Though each of our designs have been smeared with mud, scratched with painful experiences and twisted by lies we believe about ourselves, there is still hope. The way and the truth which draws us into the life we were designed to live in, is within reach. But to change our outerworld, we must enter into the inner workings and find the original design.
Would you dream with me? Can we explore through imagination some of the intricate ways our minds operate?
We each have unique opportunities, skills and giftings to create life-giving moments. You have an effect on and will shape those around you according to how you view who you are and why you are here.
That is pretty powerful.
I can only speak in my native tongue of stories and images, and will attempt to navigate through it all as I wear the only lens I have been given to make sense of this world. Therefore, I am aware that this book will not hit the mark for many readers. And I believe that is okay. However, for those whom this strikes a deep chord with, to those who see themselves in a fresh light, to you, I pray these pages spark (or reignite) that deep longing to be fully human, truly living as you were made to live… without guilt, fear or shame.
For this to happen, I want to share with you just one human take on this. My limited grasp to the inner workings of how I have been designed.
Please, come in. Welcome to my Inner Room. (to be continued)