Is it really February already? Yesterday I tried to figure out where January went and couldn't find it. I think it was lost in a blur of good intentions and resolutions gone by the wayside.
The month was not completely lost-I can look at my calendar and see that I was able to catch up with good friends who I had not seen much over the holidays, that I celebrated birthdays and went out of town twice. But the fact that I have to look at my calendar to remember that is frightening. It seems as if I am running through life without a moment to stop and enjoy it.
The thing is, though, that while I complain about how fast life is moving, I seem to operate better as a busy person. I am constantly planning, making lists and schedules, and getting satisfaction out of crossing items off those lists or changing the month on the calendar. I rarely have two days in a row where I am not booked. I constantly feel like I am not getting enough done, not getting enough sleep, not enough, not enough.
And of course, when I do have a moment to stop and reflect, I don't know what to do with myself. This weekend was a prime example. I had no concrete plans, no to-do list. I could be busy or quiet as I wanted. On Sunday I had no responsibilities whatsoever-no meetings, no announcements to make, no songs to lead. And I was completely discombobulated. I changed my facebook status four times in an hour and tried to pray and meditate without much success. I was in a funk all afternoon and didn't go out for dinner after church. I obsessed over random comments made by me or to me that weren't really big deals at all but became huge destructive messes in my overactive brain.
Last summer, after the Life Together Retreat, I started writing a post entitled "What Does It Mean To Be?". It was in response to Dr. Spencer's teachings on authenticity. He had put up on the board at the start of that session a quote that had been on my wall for months: 'esse quam videri'. It means 'to be, rather than to appear'. It's something that I have been struggling with for a couple of years now. I am a doer, a Martha, a 2 on the Enneagram, an ESFJ Provider-Guardian that is always taking care of things. But how do I simply be?
And if I just be, will that be enough?
I've been talking about taking a sabbatical for awhile now. I decided that this would be my last season leading both a C group and Life Together. I'll continue to serve until July or August, after C groups are done for the year and the Life Together Retreat is hopefully another great success. But then I will take some time to not be in charge, to not have a full calendar every month. It will be good for both me and the ministries.
But I am already thinking about all the things that I could do during that time. Piano lessons, a foreign language, maybe more dance lessons or a martial arts class. I might end up just as busy as I am now. And will that defeat the purpose? Will all this activity just continue to distract me from my dissatisfaction with myself?
I realized in my struggling yesterday that as much as I have changed and grown as a person, I still have the same tendencies, the same old patterns that threaten to come back and take over, and hiding in my busyness is one of those old ways of coping. When I feel like I am not enough, that nobody wants just me, then I find more things to do to make myself useful. And it's a pattern that I don't want to keep repeating.
I know there is a lot underneath all this, motivations that I am unpacking. And half the battle is being aware enough of your own responses and whether or not they are coming from truth or lies that you believe about yourself. But the other half of the battle, the part where you actually have to change and overcome those lies, and not live in them anymore, that part is harder.
I never finished that post on authenticity. Maybe I should find the time.