Yesterday I woke up all in a panic about all that I had to do. I had been out of sorts for several days and hadn’t been working very efficiently on things, and now it was all catching up to me. Grimly I took heart from what several people had said in comments to my recent postings and said, “ok, I’m not going to let this ritual of Sabbath dominate me – I have to work today!”
I leaped out of bed and did some of the not-really-work-as-such household chores that I allow myself to do, and by then had … well, I’d like to say “had come to my senses,” but it’s not a noble story I have to tell. By then the energy briefly inspired by anxiety had degenerated back to a kind of depressive apathy.
But I realized I was seriously in a bad way and needed somehow to face what was really going on. Was it just that after all the excitement of doing the fun things one does to start off the school year (planning courses and such), now I was facing all the scary tasks all at once? Or was there something else going on?
So I took all of this with me to Meeting. And slowly then and afterwards, new realizations began to crystallize.
At the end of the summer and the beginning of the school year, I had carefully set up several projects that I thought represented what I felt called to do, and I took my first steps with these cheerfully enough. But what is getting hard is that I am entering a phase where the success of these projects depends upon my ability to mobilize and inspire others to help out. I don’t have a lot of experience with this. In Meeting, memories floated forth of times when I was totally ineffective at this (i.e., most times I’ve tried!) Everyone is so busy and overwhelmed with their own lives that it is really hard to persuade people to do much of anything beyond their usual routines.
So, have I bitten off more than I can chew? Am I scared because this is new? Or am I resistant because this really isn’t my calling—I should be dedicating my time and effort to my book projects?! That was what I had to discern!
I wanted all the more to run away rather than face that question.
Then I noticed that God was sitting right beside me.
So, I wondered, “what does God think? What a hopeless mess I am! Probably God is all sad about how much I’ve caged myself in with fears again and how much I’m tying myself into a tight knot and pulling far away.”
I glanced over. God didn’t seem sad. Instead, there was a look of calm patience. Not unhappy with me at all.
But how can God not be unhappy with me! What a state I’m in! I glanced over again.
No. No trace of unhappiness.
So I wondered: how can God be so confident when I’m not?! What does God know that I don’t know? Maybe God realizes that something spectacular is going to happen to help me on my way!
Um, no, that didn’t seem right.
Maybe the course of my days and the coming events (and deadlines) that I dread will themselves lift me back out of my angst and carry me into a better state of being, and God knows that, even if I can’t believe it at the moment.
So, I began to think of a coming important meeting, and realized that I just needed to use that opportunity to ask my friends for help. I need to tell them, “Look, I’m not sure that I can do this on my own. I have something of a vision, but it’s not all up to me! I need for others to help out!” They probably will respond well to that! Can’t I trust them? They are my friends, and they care too about the success of what we are trying to do.
I spent the rest of the day continuing to gently encourage myself to keep facing my fears and working through them. I haven’t yet reached clarity about whether I’ve taken on something I shouldn’t have taken on, but I did become resigned (in a good way) to continuing to try my best since I have said I’d do this.
And so this morning I got up and set straight to work on a number of scary things, and made real progress, and had class, and did more scary things, and am just astounded.
So I am re-committed to the value of honoring the Sabbath. If I had just worked yesterday, I would have worked from anxiety instead of from the more positive hopefulness I experienced today.
It was not through my own virtue that I kept to my resolve, though. I have to admit that.
It was grace.
5 years ago