I’d love to think everyone deals with all the same issues that keep me from gaining ground and persevering. But our culture shows us so many examples of beautiful, fit, perfectly tanned & made up people that I feel like I’m the only one who battles with myself.
I’m a great starter. I gather the needed materials, enthusiasm and spunk and dive in regardless of how impossible something is. My creative activity shelves are great examples. As is my collection of modes of exercise gear. I own lots of great cookbooks along with the appropriate tools to accomplish a variety of culinary delights. I own all the necessary tools to keep my nails healthy and colorful.
None of these things are life changing but I tend to speak of what isn’t instead of embracing what is. If I only focus on the half empty instead of the half full I get bogged down by my perception.
So how do I deal with myself when my enthusiasm is AWOL (Absent without official leave)?
Well what I know doesn’t motivate me is adding shame onto my distracted behavior. That only serves to suck me down into a vortex of spinning emotionally and nothing gets done. Not even something fun because I am overcome with guilt because of the shame I heap on myself for not staying the course! Yuck!
I captured this from a recent Costco magazine; they featured the book Daring Greatly by Brene Brown. I highly recommend it. I’ve read two of her four books and am currently reading her most recent Rising Strong which is all about how to get back up from a fall when you’ve dared greatly. I have lots of experience with the falls; embracing my way of doing life and celebrating what is is a little more of a challenge.
Learning who I really am instead of trying to fit into how other people think I should be has been the unfolding adventure of my life. Embracing who I am and how I work as a catalyst, a starter gives me the freedom to do things with the bursts of enthusiasm that overtake me on regular occasions but not daily. Being ok with the fact I start and then do something else and then circle back around to what I started earlier is hard when I tell myself negative statements about that distracted work flow.
Many years ago, after lamenting this way I do life, a dear friend shared a terrific book with me that really inspired me to lean into my roles of wife, mother and influencer of lives. The author became one of my favorites as she consistently pointed to God’s Word and spoke of both discipline and grace. Elisabeth Elliot is now rejoicing moment by moment in Jesus’s Presence. I will be eternally grateful for the wisdom she shared. The book I reference is The Shaping of a Christian Family. Nestled within the book is this poem that has encouraged me again and again:
From an old English parsonage down by the sea
There came in the twilight a message to me;
Its quaint Saxon legend, deeply engraven,
Hath, it seems to me, teaching from Heaven.
And on through the doors the quiet words ring
Like a low inspiration: “DOE THE NEXTE THYNGE.”
Many a questioning, many a fear,
Many a doubt, hath its quieting here.
Moment by moment, let down from Heaven,
Time, opportunity, and guidance are given.
Fear not tomorrows, child of the King,
Trust them with Jesus, doe the nexte thynge.
Do it immediately, do it with prayer;
Do it reliantly, casting all care;
Do it with reverence, tracing His hand
Who placed it before thee with earnest command.
Stayed on Omnipotence, safe ‘neath His wing,
Leave all results, doe the nexte thynge
Looking for Jesus, ever serener,
Working or suffering, be thy demeanor;
In His dear presence, the rest of His calm,
The light of His countenance be thy psalm,
Strong in His faithfulness, praise and sing.
Then, as He beckons thee, doe the nexte thynge.
When I have found myself slipping into the downward internal critic heyday, I am able to stop myself and simply say Do The Next Thing. My enthusiasm sneaks back in when I’ve relaxed and reminded myself of the truth that I’m not in this alone. I have a great high priest who is well acquainted with me and loves me just the same.
Isn’t that a way to put a muzzle on the internal critic? That makes me enthusiastic just thinking about it!