Loose cannon, part 2


{Part 1 covered online writing boundaries. Today I’m getting a tad more rambling (you’re welcome), looking at boundaries and issues with in-person-words.}

The not-so-fun part of this whole process of boundaries is that as much as I want to sometimes, I can’t make others follow my boundaries, in online life or in in-person life.

I can’t force my expectations on them; I can only seek to follow wise boundaries myself, working to stick to a wise standard regardless of the situation.

“Expectations (are) disappointments under construction.”
– Imperfect Birds, by Anne Lamott

When I read that line in January, you could have knocked me over with a feather.

I desperately needed to hear that. And I remembered, “Expectations kill relationships” – where had I heard that recently? …Ann Voskamp! Weeks before, her book had reminded me to look to God’s goodness and not to tightly clutched expectations of other people, which so often lead to disappointments of my own doing. (And could there be any two more wonderful Ann(e)’s with such widely varied styles?!)

My expectations just about jump down my throat when I’ve been around loose cannons in real life – folks who believe they have a right to say whatever they want, whenever they want. I’ve seen the damage done, the hearts bruised and disregarded, and I have a hard time forgiving and forgetting those things. I selfishly keep a record of wrongs.

I remind myself of the times I’ve spoken harsh, too, and that lasts for approximately a second before I indignantly examine the disparity I see between my ever-present expectations and their hurtful-to-me actions. I stand jaw-dropped, my little selfish, angry heart demanding fairness (!) and apologies and boundaries.

And then I tend to be proceed a bit backwardly and reactionary with such things. Clamoring over to the other side of this philosophical divide, I avoid. I bottle-up. I so badly want to throw mean words back like many rocks, but I hold back, and rightly so.

I thought.

See… sometimes I end up feeling more pressure-cooked than self-controlled.

More reactionary than loving.

Because often times, the same thought patterns I use to lock-down hurtful words reappear when I actually need to say hard-but-necessary-but-also-scary words or even helpful, loving, creative words, too. Does that make sense? It’s a big rubber-band ball of fearing risks, over-analyzing, clinging to self-importance. It freezes me. It’s freaking annoying.


So I think I actually want to be a loose cannon.

I want to be a loose cannon of good words and life-giving hopes spoken aloud. Because sometimes talking about the good, those deeply from-God stories that resonate hard, bouncing off the walls in our hearts, those are just as hard to speak of as the possibly-confrontation-inducing harder words.

I want to be a loose cannon for vulnerability; not over-sharing, but instead freely letting others in on the fact that there are issues and they are mine and they are, um… not so pretty.

And I want to be a loose cannon for gentle, hard, necessary conversations too, somehow finding the line to walk between not letting myself be a doormat but also not speaking insensitively.

And, within my own boundaries, I want to write here more loosely as well. Less agonizing, more publishing. More smart risk-taking.


But, how? How to be holy-loose with the words of my mouth and words poured out of my hands?

What do you think? Can we be loose cannons with love on our lips instead of discouragement? And please, tell me, how do you walk that difficult line between doormat and too-honest in relationships? Can somebody be my life coach on this? Just kidding, mostly.

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4 Responses to Loose cannon, part 2

  1. I love this question. It’s a difficult balance to find, and I’m struggling daily to figure out how to best answer it. really appreciate the conversation you’ve started her. love this series.

  2. The line between doormat and too-honest is such a difficult one to navigate! I struggle with it, especially in my marriage- how to tell if this is a situation in which I need to say something honest and perhaps hard or if it’s one where I can graciously concede. And I know exactly what you mean about being pressure-cooked instead of self-controlled! I’m a conflict avoider, and if I can bottle something up instead of having a grace-filled but hard conversation, I will- until it gets to the point where the pressure is too much and everything comes out. I’m still learning how to let the pressure escape slowly, give it time, and then talk through the issue calmly later on if the words still need to be said.

    Thanks for this post! I’m enjoying the series. 🙂

  3. Debie Grace says:

    These months are so time-pressured because of my projects and others. And whenever I look back to those days, I can see myself as the too-honest one who says what needs to be said. I may have said words that aren’t so nice to hear because I thought it was a good thing to do but it was what I felt right at the moment — I just needed to say my opinion in that way because people think I am dumb (they always make me feel that way 😦 ). I am just being honest. I admit I couldn’t handle pressure all the time and I know people can understand stand. As much as I want to avoid conflict, I just can’t avoid something that needs an argument. Sometimes, in my field of study, arguments are necessary. And it’s true, “expectations kill relationships.” but I think it’s for the better.

  4. marylyn says:

    this is soooo good. i want to be loose in those ways. because when we’re loose in good ways, we can be free!

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