Tick, tick, tick.
That was me yesterday, competent and confident in my productivity, sure of my accomplishments, article written, revisions submitted, meeting led, yearbooks distributed, email sent. Tick, tick, tick.
I should know that skipping along on the flimsy wings of accomplishment will trip me up. It happens every time.
Yesterday, it was a bill I found, forgotten, overdue, interest accrued. I can’t even remember what it was for. Somehow, nothing makes me feel more defeated than discovering an unpaid bill. And I have shame issues with money, too (what else is new?), so it happens more often than I’d like to admit, because I try to avoid dealing with money.
Suddenly I’m snapping at the kids to head outside, I’m turning off the afternoon music, I’m yelling at the dog. Annoyed, my own failings itching under my skin, everything I had tick, tick, ticked off my list now forgotten in shame and embarrassment. How could I have been so stupid? Again?
Almost right away, defense mechanisms kick in and I start seeking chocolate, or caffeine, or food, some sensory experience that will swallow up this uncomfortable prickly feeling, but then in grace (and only grace), I stop, breathe deep. (I am practicing resilience so that one day I can say I am resilient. One day, the healthy responses will be the default.)
Identify the source. Acknowledge the shame. Speak the truth. Breathe in, out. In, out. Seek quiet, read a chapter, write it out. Let it go.
And then, see how I’ve been setting myself up for this all day long. When my accomplishments define my worth and value, my failures will do the same.
If I base my worthiness on success and failure, on striving and living up to some image I have, I will let myself down every single time. Even if my failures don’t put me flat on my face (but they usually do), shallow and short-lived worthiness are a pale reflection of true value, and I know it.
Worthy despite my failures, I recite. Worthy despite my accomplishments. Worthy now.
And in the language of the One who loves me best, Completely loved now. My loved, accepted daughter now. And then the trees look greener and the weeds look smaller and my bills and the kids and the whining and the dinner unmade, it’s fine. It’s all fine, it’s my best and it’s beautiful, it’s nothing and it’s everything, it matters and it doesn’t. I am loved. And that is the only thing that needs to be true.