Let it be known, I am gardening like a champ right now. The raised beds, the fruit and berry cane forest, the new sheet mulch around the drip line of the yurt. PLUS all the spring projects mostly on schedule: chicken tractor, goat barn, Internet installation. And all the while, homemade bread fresh out of the wood-fired oven.
Put a superhero cape on me, y’all. I am killing it. As long as you don’t ask me about my writing deadlines.
I’m going to let you in on a little secret here. Maybe someday this will be published as a secret for highly effective people. You know, just as soon as folks who live successfully off grid in yurts are defined by the mainstream as highly effective people. 🙂
I just have a little bit of brain. I have a little bit of brain that can see all the way to the big picture, that wants me to accomplish awesomeness, both for myself and for the world. I just have this little part of me that can see that it is, in fact, better to plant a food forest AND publish an affecting Christian spiritual memoir than it is to play games on my phone all day and eat trail mix.
I don’t know why the rest of me is SO OFTEN not on board.
This is my trick. I set up my resistances opposite one another. When I can’t meet the resistance in my writing life, I work on my food forest. When I can’t meet the resistance in my [crazy] homesteading life, I write a probably very inconsequential blog post. I insert the one in the place where there is resistance against the other. It’s an event pair.
Which actually works pretty well…except the dishes never get done.
I got some personal messages after posting my bulimia recovery story the other day. Now, this post is not about bulimia. I’m done talking about that for a while unless you email me. (Which is okay, if you want/need to do that, go ahead.) But this post IS about what I thought when I read those messages, about food addiction and shame. It is about what I think you’re supposed to do when you’re doing something you don’t like and feel powerless to change it.
I had the words of those messages churning in me, as I was completely killing it at the gardening and simultaneously making wide, wide berths around the computer with the glowing red book manuscript inside. I had those words churning in me, as I was processing my own resistance and trying to be the most effective person I can be, being super impressive in one way and really a failure in another. … All of that reminded me to tell you this.
Sometimes it’s more like a dance, and less like a war.
I know it’s hard to see the beauty, in our failings and our weaknesses. But they are beautiful, to God. And they are exactly half of this stunningly gorgeous dance. Sometimes you can’t feel the leadings unless you can soften right into the following. Even knowing that you have no idea where your foot is supposed to go next. Even knowing that if nothing catches you, you are for sure going to fall.
Anne Lamott says, about food, that you should just try to do a little better every day. I think the wisdom in that is hard-earned. And it can be applied to all these places where we hate ourselves…all these places where we fight for self-control.
Sometimes every bit of energy you put into making yourself be better is converted, on the spot, ohm for ohm, into resistance. Sometimes the force with which you demand better from yourself is precisely the force with which you attack your own gentle, tender heart. And yet…it isn’t better not to try, either. It isn’t better to keep your feet rooted on the spot and refuse to move.
Just try to do a little better, every day.
And know that through all this you are held. And you are loved.
Every time I have slipped into healing it has been more like a dance than like a war. Sometimes it’s silly. Usually it’s awkward. Always it’s like closing my eyes and walking out into a place where there is no ground.
Somewhere out there, in unexpected moments — not all the time, but sometimes — is the realization that there is something there, touching me back. Somewhere out there is the trust, the decision to take refuge, and the ability to accept the gentle leadings.
Somewhere out there is the dance.
Resistance is real. I’ve always know that. Whenever you’re about to do something genuinely helpful, that will change things for the better, whether it is building a better mousetrap, or sharing your testimony, or making yourself some real supper instead of eating trail mix, that’s exactly when the resistance will rise. Your higher brain shuts off. You lose power like a car on a steep hill. You get confused.
And who knew that God could call this moment beautiful? Who knew that this is exactly the moment at which we are welcomed deeper into the sheltering arms of faith? Who knew that drooping, unclear on next steps, and leaning into risk are the moments of our most beautiful dances?
I think I have to leave the rock star garden now. Even though I’m totally killing it. I have to step into my fragile space and meet all the chaotic mixed up feelings about my book manuscript. I don’t know if I’m going to make a slow, gentle move, or if it’s time to do some crazy spinning. I just don’t know. And I think I am for sure going to fall down. But that’s okay, because I’m held…and I am dancing.
I’m linked up again this weekend with Lisha Epperson and the #GiveMeGrace community. Click on over there for more posts like this one.