Here is Day 11 of my Faith Challenge for work....
Make a list of areas in your life you're afraid to face.
"For I hold you by your right hand - I, the LORD your God. And I say to you, 'Don't be afraid. I am here to help you.'
Are there areas of your life that you're afraid to face? Starting an exercise program, visiting a new church, going back to school or making a career change? All of these things can be scary, but have faith and know that the Lord is right there beside you through it all! Look to Him for guidance and lean on Him.
1. Starting a spiritual direction program. Would I have time for the homework and discussions while also working and parenting young ones and running a church? (Answer: Probably not. Translation: Am I crazy?!!?) What would be the point of the program for me? Would it be a new career for me at some point? Is God calling me into spiritual direction? How does this fit with my calling as an editor? What if I don’t want to be a traditional spiritual director who works with clients one on one? More than that…what if God wants me to be a traditional spiritual director?
I do know that spiritual direction is something that keeps coming back to me. Even when I try to let it go, it comes back and I think about it a lot. Recently I read a book with some background on Saint Ignatius that I didn’t know before and I was totally nerding out over it. This has to mean something. I’m guessing not every person is as excited about Ignatian practices as I am! What will become of this dream?
2. Facing other parents who appear “put together” and keeping up with the general expectations on me that come with school/sports. So….I got straight up cranky when school began this year (on August 12th! Just rob me of my summer, why dontcha?) because I felt I had to change into “responsible school mommy” when all I want to do is sleep and leave the kids at home with Jeff while I go to work. The girls’ school has been better over the years about how much is put on the parents (example: way less fundraisers) but it is so hard to work and be a mom. I want to be available for everyone if they need me and attend more things like field trips but it’s not possible for me so I feel like less of a good parent. The more I feel a weight of expectation on me, the more I want to give up and eat more Pringles while lying on the couch.
Likewise, soccer expectation is doubled with both girls doing it this season. More gear and other things to remember. And if I forget something, it feels like everyone at the field knows it. A couple weekends ago I packed like 27 things for the kids because it was going to be a 5-hour stint at the park with only a little time to run home in between. Well, I remembered all the snacks, uniforms, water bottles, cleats, balls, shin guards, and the baby sippy cup. Forgot the sunscreen and it was scorching hot that day. Actually, didn’t forget the sunscreen, just had it pre-packed for a camp Kyla was attending two days later. So, we all got sunburned. Good job, mommy. Good job. When soccer season starts, I am afraid of these moments of being unprepared. They seriously keep me up at night.
3. Holidays. I heard yesterday that someone on the floor above me at work put up Christmas decorations—on the first day of Fall. This makes my eye start twitching. Christmas comes with so many expectations and so many details to remember. I don’t want it to be Christmas yet. I’m still surviving soccer season over here. The leaves have barely changed! Now, I will say this…Jeff and I have scaled way, way back on Christmas since we first got married. We still decorate on the Sunday evening after Thanksgiving and order pizza. Always have done that tradition. We keep to our budget on gifts pretty well and we don’t do all the things we could possibly do. We do gingerbread cookies some time the week before Christmas and Christmas dinner is simple. Jeff and the kids even help with making it. One Christmas Jeff took the kids sledding so I could have some quiet for a couple hours on Christmas morning. Best. Gift. Ever. Then we spend the afternoon watching movies. But somehow every year I spot someone else doing something that I deem a “good idea” during the Christmas season and why didn’t I think of that? And I should do that too. Remember how I’m giving up my “shoulds”? Well, Christmas brings out a lot of shoulding on myself. I have to be extra aware and vigilant about my negative self-talk.
So, there you have it. These are some of the things I think about and worry about regularly at this point in my life. They might seem kind of silly but they are my things. Honest and open. There is a theme here—expectations and not measuring up. This is a continual theme in my life that I have to keep coming back to and inviting God into to work through new layers of my struggle with perfectionism. I’m grateful I have more tools now. I want God to come help me and guide me and remind me that He is not concerned about my measuring up. But He is concerned about how I treat myself in the midst of my fears about expectations.
Further, I know it’s possible for Him to help me. Notice, I didn’t list being in church leadership as a fear. I also didn’t list fearing that I will step out of God’s will and be punished. Those were my big fears a few years ago. But those are things that God worked to heal and help me with through some very big events. I know He can help me with the current list.