I may be in the minority here, but I feel perfectly at peace not meeting other people’s expectations. I don’t mean this in a snooty, cocky, I-don’t-care-about-anyone-else kind of way; I’m just good with who I am.
With how I am.
Not too long ago, I confessed to a group of my peeps that I totally screen my calls and, aside from my mom, husband, and a select few insiders, I often don’t answer.
*insert a collection of gasps heard round the room*
The thing is, for whatever reason, I get immediate anxiety when I hear my phone ring. I don’t know if it’s the element of surprise, my need to process whatever is being thrust into my life unexpectedly, or just a knee-jerk reaction from some loose wire deep inside of my being; but it is a part of who I am.
(I also never check my voicemails, but that’s a whole other ball game. I’ve actually considered changing my voicemail recording to, “Don’t bother leaving a message or calling back, just text me”).
Anyways, I am completely, unapologetically, more than fine with not putting myself through that level of stress- no matter how silly it may seem that I get stressed- just for the sake of complying with the standards of others.
Put another way? I don’t feel obligated to make anyone understand me or agree with me, and also don’t feel obligated to change in an effort to appease the norm.
Not surprisingly, people are surprised by my lack of obligation to answer my phone. Because, really, isn’t that selfish?
Here’s what I know to be true about me: I don’t actually believe everything revolves around me. I do, however, believe that if we don’t guard our time and energy like a mama bear her cubs, we will live other people’s lives instead of our own. Now, it’s not all that serious every time someone calls my phone. I’m not insinuating it is. But someone else’s urgent matter doesn’t necessarily have to be my urgent matter. Or yours, in case you didn’t know.
As women, we each have our own set of priorities, urgencies, values, and needs that we have to take care of. If we’re always adhering to everyone’s around us, we’re not honoring our own. Right?
We live in such an accessible society that making yourself inaccessible is deemed unacceptable. Selfish. Rude. Un-Christian-like, even. But I’m not buying it. Just because society has moved beyond the old yellow wall phone with a curly cord, just because my phone now fits ever-so-nicely into the palm of my hand, doesn’t mean I have to be a slave to it’s alerts. There was a time in our lives where we would call one another, and if no one was home, there was no answer. And before answering machines were invented, we survived just fine not having had our phone calls validated.
It might drive other people nuts. It might make very little sense to the majority. But I’m choosing not to experience the negative feelings that pop up in me whenever my phone starts buzzing. I’m choosing to limit how much someone can demand of me and my time. I’m choosing to say no to someone else’s priority in an effort to keep in line with my own.
Sister friend, you’ve gotta be okay with who you are and how you operate. There are a lot of things that God needs to change and refine in me, I just refuse to allow outsiders to be the persons who decide what those things are. People are always going to be quick to give you flak for a lot of things about yourself, so hear me when I say: you don’t have to accept their critique as your truth.
Just like you don’t have to accept their phone calls.