A Word on Worthiness

I am WorthyI was asked to be a part of a Good Friday service by a woman who I greatly respect and admire. I am growing as a preacher – am very good with content and am working on delivery because I want to appeal to black church communities. That being said, I was equal parts nervous and excited about this opportunity, which featured seven women in total who were from various faith traditions.

I prepared for the sermon like I do any other sermon. I took time studying, praying, reflecting and writing. As I crafted my message, I felt the Spirit move over and through me. This is a sure sign that I’m operating in my gift and as the words came to life on my manuscript I felt confident that the message that I was given was the one that God had intended.

Then came Friday. Leading up to the worship service, I had fleeting thoughts of insecurity, but I brushed them off. However, when I arrived at the church, every feeling and thought I ever had about not being worthy, not being good enough, not belonging came roaring to life. I literally hid in the bathroom after I arrived because I felt so out-of-place. The anxiety was rising and I though to myself, “How in the hell did I get here? Why do I think that I belong here? I can’t do this.” Continue reading

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It’s Time to STOP Planning

So I’ve failed miserably. Once again, I set the bar so friggin high and when I realized that I couldn’t reach it, I just stopped trying. You may remember at the beginning of Lent I had this amazing plan of reading and reflecting on Not Alone by Rev. Dr. Monica Coleman. I downloaded the book, set up a reading schedule and began what I thought would be an eye-opening Lenten journey. The last post I wrote was on Day 2. It’s now Day 20 something of Lent. Needless to say, I am behind.

I felt guilty. Once again, I feel ashamed. I’ve been here before. And I’ve written about this before. Damn…

I had an epiphany today. I am a HUGE Dr. Brene Brown fan. Like HUGE. Today I watched her with Oprah on the series Super Soul Sunday. As I am watching and tweeting and being blown away, I realized that I am continuing with patterns that are not serving me well. While I think I have this whole abundant living/embracing my shadow/being vulnerable thing down, I realized that I continue to self-sabotage by not being true to myself. How so?

I mapped out my Lenten plan and decided to take on the tasks of daily reading and reflecting during the craziest time of my life. I was hired for a new position, moved across the country, began a new job, am still looking for housing and am trying to stay on top of all of my wellness tools to make sure that I don’t head back to depressionville before my 10 year cycle is up. So why on earth would I take on one more thing? How unrealistic can I be? And that’s when it hit me – I set myself up by taking on too much and creating grandiose plans instead of living in the moment and embracing my reality.

Even as I had this thought I was like, but plans are important. If I don’t have a plan I won’t get things done. I have to dream big. What will people think? I’m realizing that for a person like me, with the issues, challenges and realities I face, planning and being unrealistic can be crippling and lead to a continued cycle of shame, depression and isolation.

So here’s what’s going to happen dear Shadow Lovers. I’m going to stop talking. I’m going to stop planning. I’m going to lean in and just be. That is the best thing I can do for myself. Join me?

Love,

Me

Now You See Me, Now You Don’t…

It’s been over a month since my last post on Embracing My Shadow. I have been avoiding you… No let me be honest – actually, I’ve been avoiding myself. And I must confess that I am ashamed.

I was so excited with the momentum that was building with this movement of Shadow Lovers. I planned for a new year that was full of order and direction for the blog. You can read all about my plans here. I followed the advice of many a veteran blogger and created a schedule of blog posts. The writing had come to me so easily in 2012, I just figured that it would continue. I tend to keep my ideas in the Notes app in my phone but I felt the need to be a little more organized. I printed up a calendar and planned out my postings for the first three months of 2013. I  was ready to take 2013 by storm. I was the consummate perfectionist. I was on top of it. And then, it all stopped…

I was so excited that I forgot myself. I forgot what happens when I place so much pressure on planning and I forget what it means to be in the moment. I forgot what this endeavor was really about. I was caught in a whirlwind and I couldn’t keep up. So I did what I am prone to do when I get overwhelmed. I disappeared…

Time passes. I keep telling myself I’ll get something done. Then I don’t. Then I feel guilty. Then I put it off some more. Then I build it up to be this huge thing and I stress myself out over it. This stress impacts my entire life. I feel a tightening of my chest. My eating habits change. My sleeping patterns change. I get sick. And it generally comes back to the one thing that I am not dealing with. Does anyone else do this, or am I alone in my avoidance issues?

I used to think that this was simple procrastination, but I am learning that it goes much deeper than that. I have learned about what it means to be a perfectionist and must admit that I suffer from this personality disposition. Perfectionism, depression and anxiety create a perfect storm in my life that has led to overwhelming despair, shame and a type of paralysis that perpetuates the self-defeating thought that I am not good enough, nor will I ever be.

So I confess to you, dear Shadow Lovers. My perfectionist tendencies got the best of me and as soon as I fell off of the proverbial wagon, I had to disappear. I mean, how could I continue on when the plan had been changed? When I hadn’t lived up to my end of the bargain? When I felt like I had let myself down? Tis easier to hide…

But I’m learning that not only does this way of being not serve me well, it goes against everything I preach and teach about being authentic. More importantly, it perpetuates a cycle that harms the very essence of who I am and who God has created me to be. So I turn here, to you (and to me) and confess that I am not perfect, nor will I ever be. I over plan and fall short. I get paralyzed and everything stops. It’s time for this to change. I’m going to be honest with myself and recognize that the world doesn’t end because my plans fall apart. I am going to be more gracious towards myself. I am going to remember to live in the moment and just go with it. I am going to give myself a break. I am going to look at myself each and everyday and say, “I am enough.”

I ask that you be patient with me as I work these things out. Maybe you too suffer from some of these ways of being. Maybe we can walk together as we learn to embrace, love and care for our WHOLE selves. Maybe, just maybe, we can come to a place where we realize that we are enough, just as we are.

Love,

Me

Letting Go

Letting Go

People keep telling me that the best way to find peace is to let go. I’m reminded of the wisdom articulated in the Serenity Prayer:

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change

The courage to change the things I can

And the wisdom to know the difference

I feel like the first line in this prayer is my focal point in life right now – accepting that which I cannot change. I’ve been challenged to reside where I find myself, which is extremely hard for me. I don’t want to sit with my feelings of disappointment. I don’t want to stay in a place of sadness. I don’t want to let the things that have happened sink in because I’m afraid that I won’t come out on the other side. But everyone keeps telling me that I will and that the first step is to let go of all the things I want and the things I try to control. Let it go and just be…

For me that looks like:

Letting go of this overwhelming desire to be in relationship.

Letting go of the demise of my marriage and the death of a dream.

Letting go of my drive towards perfectionism.

Letting go of my need to move from one thing to the next and never fully enjoying the moment.

Letting go of my shame and guilt.

Letting go of the pressure I put on myself to have it all figured out.

Letting go of who I thought I should be.

It’s been pointed out to me that transitions are difficult. A part of me is dying and I am grieving. But with death, I know and believe in the promise of new life. So something is being birthed right now. Even though it’s painful, even though it’s out of my control, I know that God is doing a new thing. Today I pray for the patience to accept the things I cannot change and the ability to just BE.

Love,

Me