Today began a long overdue re-read of the book PRESENT OVER PERFECT by Shauna Neiquist. If you’ve ever read the book you know it is a breath of fresh air and even more, it’s like a kiss from prince charming for a princess caught in a deep sleep of over performance and disconnection from her own heart and life. If you haven’t read it, I urge you pick it up TODAY!!
[By the way, I am not receiving compensation of any kind to mention this book, it’s just a personal recommendation of my own.]
I went into an almost frantic search for the e-book on my Nook due to some feelings of overwhelm that I have been experiencing lately. Instantly I judged myself, as I always do when I go into these introspective escapades. Which I do quite often and more so since I’ve gotten older. Call it wisdom or over-analyzation. Whatever it is, I have learned to keep a careful watch over my soul especially when I have physical issues, like I began to experience weeks ago.
A sinus infection that lasted for months which turned into headaches lasting for days with vertigo going on two weeks, has put me in anxiety mode! I’ve had a problem with recurring vertigo for over 10 years and the doctors can’t nail down what the problem is. So upon recommendation from my doctor, I visited w/ a physical therapist to perform a maneuver, which is quite terrifying to me.
Before the treatment, the therapist spent a while asking me every question in the book to try and determine the treatment method. While answering her questions, I could feel the fear welling up inside me that turned into anxiety. I was not looking forward to going through the Epley maneuver as I had done countless times before even though it is proven to bring relief.
You would think as many times as I’ve had the maneuver that it would be a piece of cake. It’s not. At least not for me. It causes me tremendous anxiety and I judge myself severely for that reaction. Which only makes it worse.
But this time, the PT mentioned something that caused me to begin my introspection of today. She said that vertigo could be brought on by stress! My first thought was, “if you were going through what I was going through with all these medical things you’d be stressed out too!
I immediately began to examine myself, other than this situation, am I stressed about anything? What changes have happened in my life lately that may be causing stress? Job? Family? Finances?
A few stresses came to mind, but none I thought I hadn’t handled before. But there was one, and it was just enough to make me stop and think about how I was navigating my life. So I reopened PRESENT OVER PERFECT.
One of the common threads that I looked at is that I JUDGE MYSELF. I didn’t realize just how much I do that. And the more I thought about it, I do it ALL THE TIME. I judge myself if I “do” or if I “don’t” or if I have a conflict about whether I do or don’t!! Crazy I know. But it’s an indication to me that something is out of whack in my thinking, which ultimately could be affecting my health.
Granted, this may not be the only thing, but it is a good starting place. I don’t think I’ve ever consciously thought, “I judge myself too harshly”. But when I did today, it brought about a sense of peace, just acknowledging that. When I recalled how much I actually do this, I thought, it’s going to be a huge work to overcome this, but I almost began to feel better just realizing it.
These examinations brought me to this conclusion: I don’t want to live a life that is out of touch with my soul and my inner life. My spiritual life. We can even become so religious with what we think our spiritual life SHOULD look like that we miss where we truly are in that sacred place. I don’t want to live like that. I want to live fully connected to God, myself and others and when that isn’t happening, to quiet myself long enough to know it.
When life is busy and moving fast, it’s not something we can feel until perhaps our family or our body begins to break down and scream loud and clear. If we don’t listen, it brings us more trouble than we bargained for.
So what is my takeaway today? Listen. Feel. Slow Down…NO….STOP! Take inventory of where you are. Not from what it appears on the outside but what your soul is telling you on the inside. Be honest. Deeply honest and then seek God about what adjustments need to be made. And go get the book PRESENT OVER PERFECT, it will nurture your soul and give you guidance on your next step.
I would love to hear your comments about where your life is today. What aspects of the post connected to your heart? What adjustments do you know you need to make TODAY? Let me know if you get the book and how it impacts your life.
Let Christ be glorified in all!