Folks content with simple things intrigue me, particularly those content with enough instead of excess. This discipline remains uncomfortable for me like sitting on the floor and reaching to my outstretched toes — beyond my grasp, but I stretch and it burns.
After an epic anxiety meltdown on Sunday about what a nutcase I am for freelancing, because what if nobody wants to hire me for gigs? Two requests for me to speak showed up plus three requests for me to take portraits.
In this season I feel stuck wandering in the wilderness. I look back and wonder — why did I leave the secure place and set out on this adventure? Was I nuts? Was it the worst possible plan, and does everyone think I’m crazy too?
I want to be a success. I want to be relevant. I want to be capable.
And perhaps, this is what wilderness does: it forces a showdown with the temptations I’d rather rationalize or sugarcoat. I feel the hunger for approval and acceptance as a nearly tangible force.
But is it really other’s approval I am after, or is it meeting some arbitrary benchmark of public success that I set for myself? I increasingly suspect the latter. I am not okay with me, so I expect others aren’t either. I’ve not yet convinced myself that enough is enough for me.
On practical terms, this week I learned (the hard way, unfortunately) that two lattes in a day overwhelms my common sense and ability to manage my emotions. That amount of caffeine slammed me right down the shame spiral and straight into the land of everyone-hates-me-and-I-want-to-crawl-in-a-hole-and-hide-forever-because-there-is-no-way-anyone-could-ever-love-me. Knowing I’m bananas and not being able to hold it in check is absolutely mortifying for me.
So, in the future, no more than one caffeinated drink a day because I can’t hold that much emotion on a regular basis. Knowing that I’m blowing things out of proportion without being able to pull back into reason is not a fun place to be for me.
And yet, I’m learning, in spite of the anxieties, I am beloved. I learn to receive love, not just give it. To know that I am loved without earning it or proving myself is a great gift.
Like the manna in the wilderness, it is enough to nurture me through now. But I can’t hoard it through tomorrow, and I’ll wrestle again with that fear of smallness when the next hard conversation or the next failure or the next risk pops up before me.