Have you ever had one of those days when you just know you’re going to end up in tears at some point? Not because something bad is necessarily happening, but because you’ve been avoiding your feelings and you can no longer find a place to stuff them. That was me today.
Fortunately, I’ve been blessed with a dear friend who doubles as a leadership coach and we had a meeting scheduled for this afternoon. Although from the outside our conversation may not have been very professionally focused, what we accomplished today broke through my façade of control so that I can be real, vulnerable and capable of growing.
Tears flowed as I talked about everything I was trying to do and how I was failing to do it all well enough. I berated myself for not being engaged enough with my work goals as it dawned on me that my harsh inner critic has demanded a lot of my attention lately. As I told Debby I kept striving and striving to “figure things out” she commented: “Isn’t there a verse that says to cease striving?”
We both went to search for it online. When I found the reference in Psalm 46 I got chills. “Oh, it’s in the same psalm as ‘Be Still and Know’” I exclaimed. Wait no. I couldn’t find “Be still…” in the version I was reading, but I knew it was Psalm 46. Turns out, it’s actually the same verse in another translation! Psalm 46:10 in the New American Standard Bible reads: Cease striving and know that I am God. The English Standard Version is: Be still and know that I am God. Wow. Debby and I both marveled at the clear message we’d just received.
We sure have to learn the same lessons over and over and over again in this life.
Since our lovely summer vacation up to Humboldt, I’ve been striving a lot. School and all its academic pressures resumed, busy season kicked in at work, we started some new routines at home including an eating protocol (I’ll share more about that soon!) that is great but requires a good amount of planning. In short, I’ve been letting my inner critic take the reins for awhile now. She is productive but exhausting and soul crushing.
Such peace and stillness followed our conversation. I’m looking forward to an evening of connecting with my family, ignoring my inner critic and being still. As I’ve learned time and time again, when I let go of striving (or control/perfection), the opportunity for genuine connection and joy are ever present.