Psalm 22

For he has not despised or abhorred

the affliction of the afflicted,

and he has not hidden his face from him,

but has heard, when he cried to him.

From you comes my praise in the great congregation…

-Psalm 22:24-25

Redeemer Pres

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My True Self

Two weeks ago, I took a risk.  I was a substitute teacher at my old school for a half day.  Many parts were joyful: the kids, teaching math in a small group, remembering my teacher voice, getting to put a little note on my friend’s desk.  But I was fatigued and the aftermath of subbing for 4 hours was four days of lying in bed for at least half the day.

Bottom line: I’m not ready to go back to work. And I don’t have answers yet to why I crashed.

I had to adjust my future mindset from hopeful to realistic really quickly, focusing my attention on the everyday: walks, food, reading, writing.  These healthy rhythms sustain me, and yet there are days I detest them. The question clamoring in my mind was, “I’m pursuing health for what? To what end?”  I want all my hard work to be worth it; I crave a tangible reward for the hard work I do every day.  And a job would be nice.  But when I sat down on the front porch with my breakfast and journal, and had time to reflect, I saw the endless performance driven desires that I’m constantly drawn back to.  Then I had to face the question, “Who am I made to be? Someone who is constantly striving or longs to be in deeper relationships” 

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Enjoying a “small victories” Indy Art Fair outing with my sister

I want my identity to be defined by the groups I’m in, the job I work, who my friends are.  I desire status, control, power, recognition, praise.  But as I put a pen to paper and kept writing, I came up with a list of “When I’m at my Best.”  Writing out this list allowed me to see myself more clearly, that the baby steps forward in sickness, truly do change me. Here’s my list:

When I’m at my Best, I’m:

-available

-reflective

-writing and reading regularly

-a friend who listens, a friend who shares

-taking time to rest

-limited, but participate to my fullest ability

-recognize anxiety, worry, and comparing early

-rooted, not grasping for accomplishment, for more, for better

-relationship focused, NOT performance focused

-savoring time as a gift, not as something to “fill”

-speaking plainly, committing to a yes or a no

-telling my story honestly without defensiveness

-regularly setting (or changing) appropriate boundaries

-asking good questions, listening attentively

-validating who people are, where they are at

-asking for help, accepting help as a gift

-hopeful about the future, realistic about my limits

-thankful about small victories

-persevering without self-pity, especially when I’m alone

-speaking kindly and gently to myself

-patient with the process

-learning to be still and observe

-spending lots of time outside, daily walks preferable

When are you at your best? What hinders you from you being your true self?