As the winds blowing through my life have calmed over the last couple of weeks, I’ve settled into some new routines. I am stunned to realize how tired, bone tired, I am. I could probably sleep for a month, but I’m of a certain age, and I don’t really sleep that well anymore…
This isn’t a fall into bed and sleep it off tired anyway. It’s a worn, thin tired. My resources and my energy have been overdrawn for too long, I feel vulnerable like I’m not completely covered. Some days, the ordinary bumps in life, cause me to react in pain or anger. A simple, What’s for dinner? recently became a standoff in the kitchen. I was ready to serve up somebody’s head. Sorry, Keith!
Ordinarily, I am a whip it into shape kind of girl. When my house is a mess, I marshall the forces and systematically pull it back together. When my heart is a mess, I do the same. I pull away to write and pray. Sometimes I call on my closest friends to help me talk it out, to try and restore order and calm.
But in this moment, I’m not even sure where to begin.
As I work my way into the mess, I realize this might be a different place. Maybe this isn’t a moment to put things back the way they were, maybe this is another kind of moment. Maybe, this is a moment to listen to what my life and my heart have to say about how I got here. Maybe I need to give myself time to process, to grieve, to feel. Maybe this isn’t so much about getting things back as moving forward differently.
If I sat with you to talk about your heart, your up-ended life, I would say gracious things. I would encourage you to listen to your life, feel your feelings, give yourself time, and cut yourself some slack. I would probably encourage you to slow down and be gentle with your heart. I have been learning these principals for years, but they are easier to say than to practice.
My inner critics have a lot to say about the measure of my worth, my inner strength, and the impact of my “failure” on the people I love. A long time ago, someone I admire taught me to listen for the “voices” of others in my thought life. I seem to have a whole “committee” of voices in my head who have opinions about my choices, my life, and my future. For too much of my life, I have been driven by their constant drumbeat of fear. Their refrain remains constant… Never Enough.
The fear of this refrain has pushed me forward, far more than I’d like to admit. I’ve taken on too much and pushed myself too hard. I’ve sacrificed important things in order to try and satisfy a gaping need to finally feel/be enough. Maybe it’s my age or this stage of life. Maybe it’s years of prayer and spiritual discipline paying off. Maybe it’s a miracle. But, I don’t want to live that way anymore. A close friend and confidant of many years has coined a phrase for the way I live. When I share my latest basket of overwhelm, she cautions, a lesser woman couldn’t do it. Well, I want to be a lesser woman.
I don’t want to be impenetrable and unflappable if it means I am also numb. I don’t want to have to always be okay. I want to know where I start and where I end. I want to build nice solid boundaries where there are doors, but those doors have locks. I want to not just say things are important, but I want to live like they are. I want to live and love more freely, with vulnerability and a whole heart. I want to learn to live more fully from a place of love, not just be pushed along by fear. I have some work to do.
So, I’m giving myself permission to move slowly, to be where I am, and to let go of the need to have it all figured out. I’m resisting the urge to find a book, diet, organizational method, or financial plan that will help me whip my life back into shape and move on. Instead, I am leaning into solitude, rest, and time to create the environment where true healing and restoration can occur. I am opening my heart to few but pouring it out to the One Who Sees Me. I’m trying to create space for something new. I’m trusting that the Spirit will meet me here.
As I move through this process, I want to be softer, kinder to my heart and life. I want to live more gently now…