ever been handed a “stop & see” card?
You know the one.
“Whats up? Whats going on with you? Your acting weird.”
I’ve been there before. Lots of times. We all have I bet. It sneaks up on us. We go and go and do and accomplish. Going from one triumph to disappointment to the next like it’s our 9-5. Clocking into dinner time, clocking in to work time, clocking in to scripture study, clocking in to xy&z and then clocking out. Taking a punch here and an uppercut there, picking up more responsibility, collecting backpacks of ideas and self doubt and maybe’s and what-ifs. Load it on. I’ve got this.
And then you stop. You stop the internet scrolling and the frantic and you see. You see, dang it. I did it again. I got out of my groove. I tiptoed out of the present and into that other mode. That one where I’m tough and have a never ending supply of… everything. Of time and energy and ideas and umph and creativity.
Now I reflect.
i usually make a really honest list. (Because I’m a list kind of girl) of my priorities from the second I open my eyes. What am I doing first? And then second. What am doing the most? What am I focused on? What matters to me, in the order of the day. This list is usually not super fun to look at. But it’s important. It’s vital to my “okayness”. i need to see it on paper- plain and simple. one of my favorite Mumford and Sons lyric is “where you invest your love, you invest your life.”
When I’m in reflection mode I’m looking honestly and with complete vulnerability: where am I investing my love, and in what order?
After all that reflection, my instinct is to build a nice thick wall around all that. Keep it secret, keep it safe. Get my defenses in order to defend that list. Buckle up, and get ready for a bumpy ride. WHY?! So instead of doing that, I get on my knees. Literally. I go into my closet, and close the door. (Making sure Moana is on first, of course, to ensure 3 minutes of quiet) and this is the part that is the hardest for me. To say sorry. And to forgive myself. To acknowledge that yeah, I made some mistakes, but I’m here now, wanting to make some changes, and I get credit for trying. I don’t have to carry around the guilt and worry. The disappointment in myself? That gets to be forgiven too.
Its so vital to reinvesting my love (and life) because that guilt is toxic. Its like when I’m doing a meal planning health kick. But “accidentally” start the day with a handful of Pringles. Well. I’ve already broke my commitments, so might as well finish the tube. And add on a milkshake for good measure.
when I carry around the guilt, I can’t fully change. The guilt weighs me down, and it leads to more of, whatever it is I’m trying to change or adjust. Unless I truly forgive myself, there is no readjusting for reals. Maybe for a second, but without clearing away the guilt, it just leaves the door open for more of the old junk, and less room for the new.
After i’ve stopped, saw, reflected and forgiven.. it’s time for me to get up and adjust. for me, I write it out. For instance: prayers before phone in the morning. Scriptures by myself and with the family. sticking to my “working hours” and to my “home hours”. Setting them realistically, and sticking to them. eggs before Pringles. You get the idea.
whatever I’m going to work on, I tell myself and my husband— okay. I’m going to try. I’m going to try really hard. I’m not going to be perfect. When I make a mistake, I’m going to see it, reflect on it, and forgive myself for it. (Or say sorry for it.) and get back on the horse. Get back to my middle happy place of my life. where it works,. Where I am joyful. And faithful. And fulfilled. I’m not going to give up. I’m not going to choke down the whole tube of Pringles after eating one. I’m not going to let the pressures of anything or anyone consume me or take over.
And above all— I am not going to push away the umbrella of love and support and concern and care that my savior, and the people who love me are offering, away. I am not going to subconsciously take two steps away from that umbrella of shelter and refuge for the sake of getting rained on. I am going to stand still, and let the umbrella shade me, protect me, and allow for my heart to be open and soft.
And after ALL that, i’m going to remind myself over and over that balancing imbalance takes time. And practice. And little shifts and pivots every day. Little wins on internal battles. quiet moments of choosing the present. and it’s easier to say small “I’m sorry”s than big ones. It’s easier to stay connected in prayer all day than have to reintroduce yourself after a few hard ones.
Its easier under the umbrella.
And it’s all worth it to feel joyful and balanced, and in that place, your capacity magically grows and blossoms. That thing you were fighting for.. sometimes just falls in your lap.