Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Princess and the Pea

It's raining sideways outside, as I sit at home in my sweats, feeling under the weather.

For the last few days, my body has been trying to tell me that something is wrong-- the nervous fluttering in my chest and the knots & nausea in my stomach may just be a
little bug, or they might be that feeling that I get when life is out of balance.

For better or for worse, I have a very sensitive gauge on my equilibrium, like the Princess and the Pea. When there is something "off" in my relationships-- with myself, God or others-- I am usually quickly and acutely aware of it, and it often takes form physically. Whether I immediately diagnose or act on that lack of balance is another topic all together (sometimes I'm like an ostrich with my head in the sand), but that feeling of imbalance stays with me in the background, like a speck of dirt in my eye, until I find equilibrium again.

I mentioned recently that life felt too big for me-- and yet was somehow a perfect fit. I still believe that to be true, on the grand scheme of things, but I am starting to see that some of the details just don't quite fit me, in the moment.

Oftentimes, the problem arises from another angle-- like discovering a hip problem through the pain in your knee. My big tip off (besides the nervous stomach) came from driving my one-armed husband around town, after he broke his hand. Now I admit that I am not the best driver in the world-- not the worst, but certainly not the most skilled at parallel parking or remembering directions.

Since Chri
s drives 90% of the time, he had many helpful tips for me: You'll want to get in the left lane ahead, this one ends soon; You're gonna hit the curb-- turn the wheel a little bit more to the left to park here... And despite the fact that we have been married for almost 5 years, I get nervous when he watches me drive.

I almost lost it this afternoon when, after asking a stupid question, he responded gently with "Maybe you should drive around the City a little more." I threw a temper tantrum inside (don't you wish we could behave like 3 year olds again, sometimes?), took a deep breath, and tried to diagnose why this was driving me to road rage.

The thing is, earlier that day, I had gotten that old familiar feeling of imbalance. I think that maybe-- just maybe-- I have taken on too much. As exciting opportunities have presented themselves to us in our ministry, we have struggled to discern when to say Yes and when to say No. Today, on an important phone call, I could hear the tension in the voice on the other end, and as I hung up, I knew he was disappointed in me.

Now, I confess that of all my phobias (birds, feet, germs, needles...) my fear of failure sends me into a panic. So when we drove home, and I felt that failure in my job and in my driving, it pushed me over the edge. Well, almost-- I didn't drive off a cliff, or stomp my feet and scream, but I did go to bed with a stomach in knots, feeling like I needed to puke.

I realize that it wasn't really the phone call or Chris' constructive criticism (sometimes known as Back Seat Driving), but the fact that I am taking on responsibilities that I was not meant to carry. I sat at my favorite seat (the floor in the hallway, in front of the heater), and prayed that God would help to center me & restore balance.

As I prayed, I mentally removed the Big, Exciting Opportunity we have to grow exponentially and touch the lives of hundreds of people. Immediately, my stomach & shoulders relaxed and I felt at peace.

It's tough to let go of amazing opportunities, but I think that just might be the better course of action. Unclenching my fists, and opening my hands to let go feels like the right thing to do today. Sometimes it takes more faith to wait in patience for a better fit, growing into those big dreams at a better time.


Anonymous said...

I love old sayings because it makes me realize how many people have already traveled along similar paths - "Don't bite off more than you can chew". Whatever it was your were offered, I'm glad you were able to hold back & think of your sanity.

hanagrace said...

Every time I read your blog it reminds me of me. Thanks for writing! I know how that is, I have 2 opportunities that I'm involved in right now and I'm starting to wonder if I need to choose between them. The problem is, one I can't get out of and the other one I love more... So for now, I'm juggling both. What I really need is to just spend less time on the computer. :-)