We live our lives in measurable minutes, looking to the clock, the paycheck, the success of others. I got the contract. I’m winning! She got 2 contracts. I lose. I got the good metabolism. I’m winning! I got bad skin. I lose. I have food, a home, my health: I win! I worry, I pout, I covet: I lose.
And the cycle circles frantic on the level of our soul. We only let it go on because we don’t realize it’s happening. It’s become normal, familiar, and automatic. For some, the motivation is to win. For others, it is simply not to lose. I know it’s simplified here, but isn’t it true? Perhaps the reason we feel behind is because we’re chasing the wrong goal.
Perfection. I have a job coming up this weekend, and I feel behind when it comes to mind. But I’m beginning to realize I’m not technically behind at all. It isn’t the type of job you can really work on beforehand. But the reason I feel behind is because I’m worried about the outcome. I’m worried I won’t do the job well, and so the worry fuels the frantic wheel. I’m trying to catch up to perfect.
Expectation. Even though I have read the books and the blog posts and listened to the conversations, I still feel shame when my house isn’t clean. I know I shouldn’t. I’ve gotten better. The voices don’t shout like they used to. But the whispers are there among the paper stacks and the dirty bathroom floor. Their taunting convinces me that I am behind and I need to catch up to clean.
Beauty. I chase beautiful on the treadmill three times a week. Sometimes more. Usually less. I’m not always thinking of it that way, there are days when I go for healthy reasons, soul-feeding reasons, right reasons. But when I feel behind, when the wheel is spinning anyway, there is one more thing to throw on it. I am behind and I long to catch up to beautiful.
We are tricked into believing that the only relief from feeling behind is to catch up. But this is war, and the enemy is an illusive and foggy expectation. How can you catch up to a vapor? How can you ever run next to perfect, look her in the eye, and pass her by? We can’t but we try, and in our rush to get there we drop all the things we hold dear in order to lighten the load. Art is the first to go. Then patience, faith, and peace are tossed into a heap on the grass beside the track. But instead of a lightness, heavy comes instead. The pavement turns to quicksand, our opponent all but disappears in front of us, the race feels a joke, and we bear the brunt of it.
Show me where it says you are supposed to do it all. Point to the truth words that say you are expected to catch up. I want to see. This disease needs a cure, and only a Healer can give it. The only Healer I know invites the weary and the heavy to come for rest.
Release every detail of the job to him, from the equipment to the schedule. Tell him, cry if you must, close your eyes and believe. Open those reluctant hands. Feel the wheel begin to slow beneath you. Consider true beauty. Dare yourself to let it be true for you. What if there is no behind? What if there is only right now, this moment? Would anything be different?