On Mindful Monday, my readers and I practice the art of pausing, TRYING to be still, or considering, ever so briefly, the big picture. We’re hoping this soul time will provide enough peace of mind to get us through the week!
I have a good friend who recently considered applying for the executive position her company just created. It was a step up the managerial ladder from her job, and paid a higher salary. However, it would require some late nights, weekend work, and involved more of the red-tape and administrative tedium that she hated.
She kept on procrastinating on completing the application: getting various letters of recommendation and articulating why she would be perfect for the job. Moreover, every time she spoke to me about the job, her facial expressions showed that she was hardly enthusiastic about it.
I finally asked her, “If the job requires more time at work and involves lots of the monotonous work you don’t enjoy, then why are you applying for it?”
“Because four people in my department have already applied for it, and if one of them gets the job, I know I’ll kick myself for not having applied.”
“That’s not a good reason,” I told her. “Fear should never be the motivating factor.”
She took a few days to ponder that and ultimately decided not to apply for the job.
It’s so easy for me to see the motivating fear in other people’s lives.
Just yesterday I emailed a friend who had made the same exact mistake in an interpersonal relationship as I did a few years ago. We both have a mutual friend who advised us to forgive ourselves and move on, to not dwell on it or make it any bigger. But neither of us listened to him. We responded in panic, divulged our error to friends and family, and made matters much worse.
“When will I start listening to you?” I asked my swami-mentor on the phone. “When will I learn?”
“You are learning. I see it. You’re doing better,” he replied.
It’s true … I’m beginning to assess my motivation for certain behaviors and decisions. If I feel the urge to move in one direction out of trepidation of where the other path might take me, I sit with that intention awhile longer, until I can tease out the worry and panic.
Yesterday I made big progress.
I called up an editor who had invited me to write a book on the saints, which would have provided our family with some extra income during these dry times when Eric doesn’t have much work, and I told her that my body would simply not cooperate on this assignment … and that I couldn’t afford NOT to listen to my body, given all my recent health problems.
For weeks I salivated over the moola that I could earn by cranking out the holy manuscript. But every time I sat down to work on the proposal, my body screamed “Give me a bloody break! I am so tired. Please, just a slight reprieve before you tackle another project.”
“If I don’t do this project, are we going to be okay financially this fall?” I finally asked Eric yesterday.
And that’s when I realized that I was applying for the job, like my friend, out of fear. I was afraid that if I don’t write the saints book that, come September, we’ll be out of cash, living on the streets, and I’ll kick myself hard for not securing a job when I had the chance.
I went back and forth on this opportunity a few million times, wanting so badly to look into a crystal ball and see the future. But at some point I realized that I have to walk by faith–which doesn’t come with a back-up plan, as my friend Michelle says–and not by sight, as is written in 2 Corinthians 5:7, and trust that there will be work for me when I feel stronger and more capable of crafting pious thoughts. Moreover, I have to live for today, this very moment in front of me, not for September or October of this year or for February of 2020.
“Don’t let fear motivate you,” I said to myself, just as I had to my friend a few weeks ago. “Walk by faith, which casts out all fear. Well, some of it anyway.”
To read more Beyond Blue, go to http://blog.beliefnet.com/beyondblue, and to get to Group Beyond Blue, a support group at Beliefnet Community, click here.