I get easily overwhelmed.
I just started admitting this to people and when I do, they usually double check that they heard me right. I’ve gotten really good at looking like I have it all together. And that I’m super chill while I get it together. I am so good at giving this impression that I even fooled myself most of my life.
But no, my secret soul mostly says, “AACK!” just like Cathy in that comic strip. Which I hate to admit because out of everyone in the whole world who I would most hate to spend the afternoon with, it’d be Cathy. Cathy was self-obsessed and over-reactive and worried about what people thought. And in her stress, she would compulsively eat cake and then weigh herself and go swimsuit shopping.
Because Cathy is an idiot.
I am not Cathy because I would never eat a whole cake and then weigh myself. I would just eat the cake. And calculate if I had enough big pants to make it to laundry day.
But even without scales and swimsuits, I “AACK!” about a lot of things, I just do it quietly so that no one, not even myself sometimes, can hear it. My soul hears it though and gets worked to death dealing with it. And a weak soul will cause tiny growing cracks in every other area of my life.
I would like to think that to-do lists and goals and boundaries are what will heal my soul.
But no. They don’t. They manage the outside of me, which is not the truest part of me, but it’s the part I can see. And the part you can see. So that is why I always start there. When my outside is OK, I usually believe that the inside is OK too. And believe me, you can run a long, long way on lies and false impressions.
Our outside can influence our inside, but it can’t change it. Jesus said to wash the inside of the cup and then outside will be clean too.
The inside is where the problem is. The inside is the part that says I have to prove myself, that I have to take care of my problems myself, that I have to get all the things done that people want me to get done. The inside is the part that says that I don’t have enough, that I’m not good enough, that God’s not big enough. The inside says I’m not OK, but that I will be if I get this done.
The inside lies.
And that’s the part that has to go.
Make your lists, set some goals, establish your boundaries. But also sit and listen. Where’s it all the ruckus coming from? What is it saying? Paying attention takes time, which we feel like we don’t have. But we do. It takes silence, which our soul wants but also fears.
Be still and know that He is God.
Sit upright in a comfortable place. Close your eyes. Take a breath. Be still. Listen. See with your soul.
Maybe you see yourself on the edge of a lake. The water is choppy, it’s not at peace. Objects, feelings, situations bob to the surface. What are they? What lies in the deep waters of your soul? One by one take a closer look at these things. What lies or expectations do they hold? What fears do they excite? What is true about these people, situations, feelings? When you have understood the first, pick it up out of the water, and lift it up to the sky, holding it up for God to take. Do the next thing and the next until the waters of your soul are clear and smooth.
Then just sit and rest in the peace of your soul. Thank God for taking these things. Thank him for empowering you to be him today in the words your say and the things you do.