This is Days 21 and 22 of a 31 Day Challenge. Catch up on all the previous posts over here.
|Photo Credit: Fred Seibert|
Last night, I could not rest. I had spent two hours collecting my thoughts and creating a way to keep track of the kids I see each week for tutoring. I need to see students of a certain reading level multiple times each week and maintain a certain quota for grant purposes. But with a lot of kids needing to be seen multiple times, it was a headache to keep all in line.
So I sat down to create a system to ensure no child falls through the cracks. It was like trying to figure out one of those annoying word problems from elementary school: If Jenny has five apples and Joe has seven oranges, how many drinks can they make if one glass requires 1/2 an apple and 2 oranges? My answer: Save the fruit. Give me wine.
Eventually, a system came together, after two hours and a lot of thinking. I accomplished my task, but then it led to more thoughts about components of tutoring and a writing workshop I'm creating; which then led to me thinking about my own writing-- this blog, my would-be novel, NaNoWriMo, graduate school; which then led to thinking about next year and finances. And on, and on, and on.
Stress. Anxiety. Worry. These are the thieves of sleep and joy.
I was finally able to sleep, once I read for a while. (Tip: Losing yourself in another world can often adjust your focus enough to ease your anxiety.) Recovering this morning, with tea in hand, I reflected back on those thoughts. All of my emotions were wrapped up in one base motivation: Fear. More than just fear, fear of disapproval and rejection. Cue palm to forehead.
The fear of what people might think and my self judgement overcame my hopes and dreams for the future. If I do this and not that; if I did this and they think that. It's exhausting and frustrating.
I want to tell you that I had a pivotal thought that has utterly transformed my thinking and I will never worry again. In fact, I erased several phrases that said just that, but it wouldn't be the honest truth. I don't have it figured out, not completely. I do recognize that allowing that initial fear in and overwhelm is something to avoid and to fight against. "Get back you thieves!" might be an adequate battle cry to start their retreat. The rest is the hard part of grace: forgiving your mistakes, living the consequences, but then, choosing to not let them define your journey or your identity. The latter is where I struggle most and trench warfare happens.
Any progress forward is good progress in a battle against this thieving trio.
So breathe deep, light some candles and grab a good book. Tomorrow is a new day.