It breaks my heart when I see beautiful people rushing around, trying to prove themselves, trying to keep it all together, attempting to earn love and respect by doing, doing…endlessly and exhaustively doing. It breaks my heart because that used to be me.
I would wake up anxious and go to bed anxious, always feeling like someone was watching, and in a rather disapproving way, not a happy way-to-go girl encouraging manner. I felt like everyday was a blank tally sheet, and I needed to score enough marks to validate my existence.
Maybe you have felt the same?
Whether it stems from a place of codependency, insecurity, anxiety or perfectionism – it is all basically the same thing: self-abuse.
You are your own slave master, and you don’t even realize it.
I would drive myself until my health (both physical and emotional) took a big hit. And then I would only tend to myself long enough to get myself back to the performance level I felt I needed to maintain in order to gain approval from others.
And I never stopped to ask myself why I was letting other people’s opinions govern MY life.
I hadn’t figured out who I was, so I simply took my cues from those around me. According to them I was a hard working (up at daybreak for minimum wage jobs), helpful (say yes to whatever needs pop up), resourceful (able to live on very little), upbeat (don’t get me down), intelligent (say the right thing), well-groomed (look nice but don’t look showy), church-going (a given in my family since my father was a pastor), husband-submitting (regardless of his behavior, be the godly wife), devoted mother (don’t take time for you, that’s not about them)…you get the idea. That was my role, and I threw myself into it with all I had…and I lost myself in it, because it wasn’t a genuine outpouring – it was what people wanted me to be for them.
Give yourself permission to stop being a human-doing.
You are allowed to BE in this world of DO!
Frank Sinatra just popped into my head – at least he had a healthy life balance in mind when he sang Do be do be do…
The constant beat in my head was DO DO DO DO DO to ultimately get me to Done done done duuuuuuunnnnn (ominously sung in minor key). Not as enticing as Franks little tune.
Life is about BEING here, fully being here, and you are not fully here unless you are YOU. You cannot be YOU until you give yourself permission to get off the human DOING train and wander off into the wild wilderness of human BEING. Discovering yourself is one of the greatest adventures of your life – did you know that? You are God’s gift to yourself (and then to others)! He wants you to dig deep and see how amazing you are!
People are an endless well, source if you will, of discovery. God is the same on an even bigger (like limitless) level. We will never get to the bottom or figure out this force that lives and breathes and causes us to do the same.
The human spirit is limitless, always surprising, remarkably strong, unpredictable and beautiful.
What an amazing and magical journey it can be if we only allow ourselves the privilege of embarking on it. Stop trying to be what they want you to be. There will never be an end to people’s expectations and requests for us. YOU need to be the one to say No, and retreat into the woods of BEING, where you will find the strength to begin placing the proper expectations on yourself.
BE BE BE BE BE.
WHATEVER you are – don’t stuff it, judge it or run away from it – just learn to be it. Acknowledge YOU.
Give yourself permission to BE.
Then, fully present, speak truth to yourself and ask for guidance from the One who made you a human BEING.
Even Jesus, our greatest example, spent thirty years simply being. There was clearly value in that, since God himself deemed it worthy time. Christ could have died in his first year if that had been his only purpose. Why thirty years of simply being before he did a single miracle? The healings, the teachings, the discipleship…
First he spent his time simply being HUMAN, a son, a brother, a worker, a man.
Why do we think it isn’t enough to beautifully BE who we are?
Focus first today on being human, being alive, being aware, being grateful.
Whatever that looks like for you today.
Then, and only then, DO out of that authentic being.
See I’m not advocating a bunch of people chanting mantras in the woods while spending their days meditating and journaling. We are doers by nature. We need to move and create and achieve. But what is driving our action?
Once you are doing from a true sense of being, it becomes powerful, and doing is wonderful because by doing we can bless others and enrich our lives, build our dreams and achieve amazing things.
But always start with BEING, because without it, the doing is void of you, and you are what gives it power and meaning.
It may sound confusing but I think you will recognize in your soul that it is true. When you hear that little voice telling you “you really should do XYZ”, stop and ask yourself – WHERE did that come from? If it was anything other than YOUR own authentic self, dismiss it. Don’t let others, including past guilt, shame or a sense of not being enough, drive you to do anything!
The simplest concept is often the hardest for some of us to do…be still…and be present…and learn to get to know YOU.
So, if you tend to be your own slave driver as I was, release your prisoner, set her free, then celebrate her freedom and protect it from the people who will feel threatened by this new approach, and then see if life doesn’t become immensely rich and exciting and meaningful.
We are enough and God created us to BE, not just to do!
Be triumphant over the slave master lifestyle! Be brave enough to be a human being.