I can’t seem to stop thinking about my life lately. I’m sure many people think about their lives on a daily basis. The difference is, I never use to think about it. I just lived it. Maybe that’s part of the reason I am so bent on examining every minute detail of it now. As I was just living it day by day without thinking about it, things were happening that I simply ignored. Life was happening and I simply ignored it and went about my day. And now, I am here. So where is here?
Here is miserable at the moment. But since misery loves company, according to the experts anyway, you’re all invited to listen in. Life feels completely out-of-control. Financially, physically, emotionally but more importantly, for me anyway, life is in a tailspin spiritually. I suppose some might say these feelings are just a sign of the times. It’s because of the state of our economy, or the state of our world, it’s because of terrorists or Muslims building mosques near ground zero or because Obama is in office. Ok, I admit, I really need to stop watching the news hoping for answers. I am pretty sure, no, I am positive, none of those things can explain why I am so retrospective at the moment. Believe it or not, none of those things freaks me out. Oh, I have opinions about it all, just ask anyone who has known me for five minutes. I just don’t blame life for my life. I blame me.
I truly believe when we live our lives with integrity and honesty, choosing to be present in each moment we are given, things will go generally well for us. I don’t mean we won’t have hard times or sickness or sadness. I do mean we will walk through each day able to make it with our heads up knowing tomorrow is a new day and today and all it holds is not all there is. Believing this and living it seem to have escaped me somewhere along the way. I feel lost.
One of the things I have said a million times to my children and to others is, “Know what you believe and why you believe it.” Well, I thought I knew what I believed and why I believed it but all of a sudden I am just not sure anymore. Is it because we are in the toilet financially at the moment? Is it because I have fifty extra pounds on my 5’2” frame and all I can think about is, “How the hell did that happen?” Or maybe it’s because I have a child that is completely lost and wandering and hating every fiber of my being right now and there is not a thing I can do about it. I’m not even sure I would if I could which makes me less than the perfect parent I have always hoped I would be. Maybe that’s the problem and the answer.
Perfection. I have focused on being perfect for as long as I can remember. Knowing my parents or teachers were disappointed in me when I was a kid just about killed me. I never wanted to let anyone down. Ever. Then, as a teenager, I lost my mind and went wild. I didn’t care what anyone thought of me. That season lasted about six years until I found Christ at nineteen years old. I believe this is where I really screwed things up in my thinking.
For the last thirty-three years, I have run myself into the ground trying to be good, trying to be a “Christian”, trying to please God, my family, my friends, my neighbors, strangers, the mailman. I have an endless supply of guilt that fuels me on a daily basis. Guilt for never being good enough, smart enough, pretty enough, pleasing enough. Guilt that reminds me daily what a crappy mother, wife, friend, daughter, sister, fill in the blank, I am. Where does this guilt come from? I have no idea. Maybe I just don’t want to know.
Anyway, that brings me here. Today. Rethinking life. My life. Ok, everybody relax. I am not leaving my husband, disinheriting my children, (they’ll each still get their $1.75 when I croak), or trading the minivan in for a sports car. That would be silly. Have you ever seen a fat, middle-aged woman stuffed behind the wheel of one of those things? Ridiculous! I am also not becoming an atheist. I am, however, seriously questioning what I believe and why I believe it. I want to live a life of integrity. I want to be able to look in the mirror and honestly say to the person looking back at me, “You, my friend, are the real deal.”
Now that would be worth an examined life.