Soul Searching…

Today has proven to be one of those days of deep soul searching for me.  I’ve spent the last few days thinking about the direction my life will be heading in the next 6-7 months…I know that’s really far out and probably not worth my energy at the moment…but, given the worrier that I tend to be, it’s been on my mind.  My intern program will be ending at the end of July, and so I’ve been thinking a lot about where I’d like to work when I convert out of the program.  What’s interesting about this is that I’ve known from pretty early on in the program that I wanted to ultimately work in the NIH Clinical Center.  I’m so touched by the work that is done there, it just feels like where I’m supposed to be.  Despite knowing this, for some crazy reason, I won’t say this out of my mouth to the people who could have a great impact on this becoming a reality.  As I was going through on of my mental fits today, I had to come to grips with that awful thing called vulnerability again.  I just shared a message at church 2 weeks ago about the need to be authentic and vulnerable, and yet, I struggle to be those exact things on a daily basis.

It’s so easy to be true to ourselves when we’re just talking to that thing that resides between our ears, but when we have to express those thoughts and feelings to an audience that resides outside of our brains…that’s when it gets hard.  Telling other people those things that could result in me falling flat on my face is tough stuff, especially when everyone has an opinion.  People are certainly entitled to their opinion, but too often I think we forget how courageous a person is when they share the tough things in life.  In an instant, I could go from looking quite clever and well put together to looking like an absolute fool.  No one wants that!  And yet, today, it became crystal clear to me that the only way I’m going to make forward progress in life is by crossing the tracks of authenticity and vulnerability.  In this introvert’s book, life doesn’t get much harder than that.  It’s one thing for people to secretly know that everything isn’t all together in my life, but it’s something totally different for me to openly admit that I’m stressed out – financially stressed, mentally stressed, physically stressed, emotionally stressed…JUST STRESSED!  I’m trying to hold it all together outwardly, but inside I’m wondering when are all of the chips going to fall into place.  Don’t get me wrong, life could be much worse so I count all of my blessings, but…I’m tired of my daily commute to work, I’m tired of having to be in the office 5 days/week because telework isn’t an option currently, I’m tired of church, church responsibilities, and church stuff, I’m irritated because I’ve gained A LOT of weight, I’m tired of being too tired to go to the gym, I’m tired of having a too tight budget, I’m tired of people taking advantage of my willingness to do this, that, and the other, I’m tired of others not stepping up to the plate but always wanting to take credit, I’m tired of not saying “no” enough for my own sanity…I’m just plain fed up with my own self.

And yet, reaching this place is a good thing…it leads one to do some serious soul searching.  Today, with a little nudge from my mentor, I’ve been driven to critically assess some major life decisions – where to live, where to work, what I need from both of these, what’s a want, what’s a necessity, what’s absolutely unacceptable for my life.  I’ve had to remove emotions and remove the influences of others (who indeed mean well, but can’t let go for their own reason), and figure out what is best for my life.  I’ve come to value the wisdom and advice of others, but now is a time to step back and look at things from my perspective alone.  It’s one of those seasons in my life where I truly have to do what’s best for me.

Suffering from ADD!?!?!

I was unintentionally reminded over the weekend that I have not written on here in a really long time!  It’s a reflection of just how busy life continues to be.  At the end of August, I took a great leap of faith and began my journey as a seminary student at Wesley Theological Seminary in the District of Columbia.  I knew it would be challenging, as I’ve never worked and attended school at the same time, but I never expected it to be this taxing.  My Old Testament class is great and it has certainly caused me to think deeper about everything I believe, and while enlightening, this has proven to be an extremely draining time in my life.  I’m mentally and physically exhausted and I’ve managed to upset a few folks along the way because I can’t be everything that people desire for me to be in their world at this moment.  This season has taught me how to say no without feeling bad…that’s not to say it’s been easy, but I’ve learned that there are moments when I have to put self first, and at the least, I’ve had to rethink my priorities.  I think that perhaps one of the greatest challenges in life is becoming comfortable in one’s own priorities.  It’s so easy to allow friends, family, jobs, and/or social organizations to dictate what is important in our lives.

Funny enough, I was talking with someone about Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) over the weekend…after that conversation, I started thinking about ADD a bit more, not as a medical condition, but instead as a reality in our busy lives.  I started thinking about all of the things and people that need my attention, but don’t receive it because either I truly don’t have the time to give them my attention or I don’t make those things my priority which results in an attention deficit disorder.  The evidence that I’ve got ADD is clearly seen in my world – I don’t exercise nearly as often as I need to, I don’t get to visit my family back home or spend time with friends as often as I’d like, I don’t get to go out and enjoy the things that bring me joy often enough, I’m frequently tired and often oversleep, I’m always in a rush, and there are many things that I just forget.  I don’t want the necessary and important things in my life to be neglected of my attention, but sadly, we now live in a society where everyone and everything but ourselves seem to dictate our lives.  In the office, if one keeps a 9-5 schedule, he/she is viewed as the slacker and if one doesn’t complete a project in a day or less (even if we know it should at least take a week), we’re made to feel bad.  In our social lives, the accepted view has become, the busier we are, the better our life must be.  And to make matters worse, folks will often try to shame you into doing things that you just don’t have time to do.  That’s happened to me one too many times in the past few months.  No one values the thought of being still, enjoying the moment, and savoring life.  No one appreciates that our human bodies need time to settle down and recharge.

Having things to do is wonderful, it’s energizing, and good for the soul.  Having too much to…now, that’s another story – it’s toxic, it’s taxing, and deadly.  I don’t have this balance thing down at all…nope, I’ve mastered the art of juggling and doing what is needed to get by, but that’s not the life I desire to live.  I desire that balance that allows me to be successful in fulfilling my life responsibilities, while have moments of sabbath sprinkled into my life daily.

Peace and blessings…