A large part of creating and doing and living like I want to is just simply psyching myself up – up being the operative word.
Too often I psych myself out of things – a sort of self-preservation that I dub “being a homebody” or an “introvert”. I have good intentions but they require moving past my comfort zone. I have the desire to do good but this flesh is too clingy, too comfortable in my safe harbor and too aware of the possibility for mistakes or disappointment.
I psych myself out of a lot of grand ideas because they’re so far removed from what I think I can do, or should do. Always the shoulds.
I need weeks to think about things.
I need days to prepare.
And I’m distracted from doing the difficult or uncomfortable by all the easy and brainless things – check email, sweep the floor, start some laundry, wash the counters. I piddle away perfect opportunities by cleaning things that will be dirty again in 30 minutes.
So I psych myself up and give little pep talks.
My word for the year is encourage and I practice it on myself – fake it, take it like vitamins and so much spinach. I tell myself things I know are true and good for me, but they are words I don’t often swallow deep into my soul. It seems I’m more wired for lies and fault-finding.
Lately, one of the best pep talks I give myself is this: What could it hurt?
What could really be hurt by inviting that person over? What could be hurt by leaving the dishes and taking your camera and kids out the door for an hour? What could go wrong with taking TWO weeks for spring break instead of one? And what could it hurt to put your name down on the sign-up for the Easter drama? (They could be so desperate they pick you, that’s what.)
The usual outset of things is with excitement and motivation, but The Long Haul and the Carrying it Out are what strike fear or discontent. It seemed like a great idea has to be turned into excitement again.
Often, the only thing hurt is my pride or my comfort.
If it seems like I’m a constant mess of good intentions and second guesses – I am. I am learning to hear God in the good intentions, though.
I learn again and again that my fears are mostly pride, because obviously I need to do everything perfectly or do nothing at all. When doing nothing at all doesn’t seem like an option, I’m hearing God say to be willing to be imperfect. So I psych myself up for that, too.
This is how it looks in my real life:
I put my running clothes on first thing in the morning and psych myself up for a run.
I invite moms over to talk homeschool and psych myself up to carry on, to keep it up and find endurance.
I find my voice inside a thousand doubts and psych myself up to hit publish on numerous posts that are safer in a journal.
I psych myself up to spend a day tackling a project, and let go of the housework and normal daily routine because it really can wait.
Psyching up is less about finding the strength within myself, and more about convincing myself of the strength of Christ, in me.
This is the start of our second week of spring break and I fear that I might piddle it away. I am slow by nature but always feel a strain to produce, and this week my prayer is to embrace both – to enjoy the slow routines, and break them up with some projects and events that take more guts than I have on my own.