My friend wrote me today that she has simply been crying, in a state of being overwhelmed. So many people I know are telling me they feel close to the “end of their rope.” For that reason I’ve decided to share my response to her with you.
My sweet friend, I am crying, too. Our reasons are very different. And yet, they are exactly the same.
b) uncertainty about capacity.
c) a sense of being “alone” facing awesome requirements.
d) self doubt. um.
e) lack of trust in God.
f) um. what else? Everything else….
So today, I edited the phrase IF YOU THINK YOU CAN – YOU CAN….
to if you THINK – you CAN.
My answer to a)
I know I have a good thinker. I also know I really can only do one thing at a time, regardless of how many THINGS are standing in line, jumping from leg to leg like they gotta pee, just urgently demanding my attention. I can do a thing and then look up and purposely, calmly call, “NEXT!” I think – I can.
Answer to b)
If history is our tutor, and history often is…then I have demonstrated throughout my life a tremendous capacity for all things. Joy. Sorrow. The whole range. I can draw the concludsion that if I have had the capacity to bear things up to THIS point, I likely have the capacity to bear what is before me now. The thing that makes today different is that I am weary. And my weariness whispers in my ear the uncertainty. “Can you really DO this?”
The answer is, “Yes.”
Answer to c)
Part of the reason my answer to “b” above is “Yes,” is that I am NOT alone. Angels march before me. Watch above me. And while I cannot see them, evidence of their presence is apparent when I am willing to see the signs. My friends are also ever-present. At the ready to steel me up, support and encourage me and celebrate with me. I am alone, at my desk, doing my drill. I FEEL alone. My good thinking lets me know that I am not alone.
Answer to d)
Self doubt is a funny experience. I’ve marched at the head (and back) of my own parade for a long time. I’m a big fan of personal curriculum development, self-reference and personal authority. Ha! Somedays even I ask myself, “Who do you think you are?” And then, I remember. I’m mary anne radmacher. I inspire myself and others. I am committed to a creative life. I want to make the world in which I live better at dusk that at dawn. So when I become my own worst critic, full of doubt and dare ask myself, “WHO says?” The clear answer is,
Answer to e)
God is used to it. That’s why God’s invented so many ways to whisper, “Trust me.” How many ways? Too many to list. The water out my window is the first of many immediate reminders. Water itself is a call to trust in the provision of Spirit…it nurtures everything! The tide is another demonstration of trust. When the tide goes out…I do not have to stand at the shore with anxiety wondering if the tide will come back in. It will. It does. It always does. And when the water begins to rise again and cover the muddy, messy harbor bottom…I hear the whisper, “Trust me. This will pass. It will go away and come back again.”
Answer to f)
Everything else. I think this is the real heart of discouragement and tears of overwhelm. The “Everything Else.” I said to a friend of mine who complained that he hadn’t done what he promised me because it was near the bottom of his list. And he never seems to get to the bottom of his list. I immediately replied, “The only way any one ever gets to the LAST thing on their list is if they actually START there.”
I can do what I can do today. One thing at a time. Anxiety only seizes up the creative capacity I do have. If I have no capacity then the message is clear that my soul and my body need restoring and perhaps a nap is in order, or nutritious choices of food, or good water, or a walk. And then I remember. I cannot do Everything Else right now. I can only do this one thing, now. And then the NEXT! thing next.
So you and I can participate with our tears, let them wash over us and clean out the cobwebs so we can remember:
We have come this far – and grace will take us to the next next!
And then the next! after that.
We are far more capable than we feel today – all we have to do is look at the trail of achievements that are waiting, behind us, to be noticed and remembered.