42 Days: A Hair Trigger? Finding the smooth lane on a bumpy road (Tue – Jan 29)

HPIM0541 CroppedI had no idea how much a roommate website could trigger fear, followed quickly by anxiety and anger brought on by the fear. Talk about a “hair trigger” Al-Anon reaction! Oy!

In an effort to be pro-active in finding a place to live, I registered on one of those roommate-matching websites. It sounded like a good idea…sort of. First, I encountered very limited space allowed for what should be a field to let someone know a little about you. Then came fields like your favorite movie/TV show/music/etc. – which, of course, would certainly be my primary criteria for finding a compatible roommate. Not! Although I suppose it might help me eliminate some.

A couple of days later, when I had a few moments to log on and add a bit more to my profile, there was a message in my inbox. Sadly, the person must not be good at reading what I wrote, for she lives in the wrong direction from where I’d said I’d like to be. Perhaps she’s as geographically challenged as I often feel…

This afternoon, I decided to add more to my profile, disliking the way it was feeling more and more like a poorly designed dating site. I did a quick search and was discouraged by what popped up. I live in an area where there are a number of educational institutions and the proliferation of people looking for someone to share their room – not apartment – for what should be rent for one place or a shared apartment boggles my mind. I keep wondering, who gets the side of the bed closest to the bathroom?

I suspect the very reason it was triggering me so much is because it does come across like a dating website. It suggests that competition is steep and your questions better be cleverer than everyone else’s or you won’t get far. To make matters more challenging, the rent I can pay is on the low end of the scale around here. But it’s what I can manage for now.

HPIM1810Ironically? Poetically? Perhaps perfectly appropriately, this morning I turned to a devotion reading in my Daily Guideposts 2012 that must have foreseen my afternoon. The verse with it went something like, No one can discern their own errors. The reflection with it was about a woman who filled in for her rabbi one Saturday morning. She knew well the words she would be reading and reciting; what she failed to consider were the logistics of moving from point A to point B during the service. She encountered one after another of mishaps – a locked cabinet that she should have unlocked, a piece she was supposed to remove but wasn’t tall enough to reach, and so on. Yet after the service, people kept thanking her for making it inspiring.

She was baffled! How could such a klutzy performance be “inspiring”?! When she asked a friend who was there about people’s surprising response, her friend told her that because it had not gone perfectly, but had still been done, others saw it as something doable. It didn’t have to go professionally and perfectly, as they were used to seeing with their rabbi. (Glad I caught the “rabbit” vs. “rabbi” typos! ;-))

The message of this woman’s experience hit home for me in a profound way. I hope I will be able to apply it to my attempt to use a roommate-finding website. As I left the office, with the fear escalating into anger, I struggled to find my rational mind. I recognized that I was being triggered and I began to sort out the reasons why. Or at least, I got a start on it. There are probably lots of reasons really. But being able to recognize what’s happening, even if I feel like I can’t control it, helps. It reminds me that I have a program, I have tools, and I don’t have to do it perfectly.

It’s not about my answers, the details of my profile or anything else on my listing being “perfect.” It’s about taking a first step toward what I want – which is a place to live.

I’m grateful that just writing this here reminds me that this is about taking a first step and about letting God meet me wherever I am, however far I do or do not get. At my meeting Saturday, there were four slogans in a sequence that caught my attention: This Too Shall Pass, Let It Begin With Me, Let Go and Let God, and Keep It Simple. I want to remember these slogans and appreciate how they can remind me that this really is about taking it one day, one step at a time.HPIM0822

Day 25 – Thursday, Dec. 29: Learning to let go

A little over a year ago, I wrote something in my reflection journal that I appreciated reading this morning. I was responding to several things: a verse from Philippians (4:11), where Paul writes that he has learned to be content with whatever he has; a reflection with this verse from a Daily Guideposts devotional (not sure which year, probably 2010); and the events that were going on in my life at the time – upcoming surgery, final semester in seminary and so on. In some ways I am in a very different place in my journey; in other ways, I am very much in the same place. Here’s the gist of what I wrote:

The (devotional) author talked about a mythical place called “When,” as in when I get done with xyz, I’ll do this. I know this place well – I think I lived there most of my life. But when I read this devotion, I realized I have already moved out of “When,” at least for the most part.

I can hear lingering thoughts in my mind even now; wistful images of happiness when this happens or time to do that when that happens. The difference is that now I know better. I finally get that things in me, especially behavior patterns, do not change just because outer circumstances change. Moving into a nicer room will not magically cause my files to suddenly become organized. Nor will buying new organizers relieve the problem either. (I’ve tried that many, many times.)

It’s taken me a long time to get this far and I still have a ways to go. Most of my progress has been through letting go of the fruitless seeking of quick fixes. And that has been a slow lesson to get.

I still dream of a larger room, a nicer apartment with lots of light and camaraderie, a loving partner to share my life, and so on. But I know it takes time for all of this to happen – especially for me to become ready to receive these dreams. In the time between now and whatever blessings may await me, I am learning more and more to appreciate all that I have now.

 The funny thing is, I did get a couple of those things. I moved into an apartment with a friend. The place had lots of light and my room seemed much larger, although it probably wasn’t that different in size. But my fears kept me from moving forward and I didn’t know how to break the patterns of my behavior that were holding me back.

I’m still working on this, which is why I am here, writing this now. I read something else that I wrote in another journal entry last year that I keep thinking about:

Every step toward trust is a step away from fear.

I’ve been thinking about this a lot in the last few days after coming across it. Sometimes I think my fears are this giant challenge I have to overcome all at once, with or without God’s help. I forget that sometimes it really only does take those small steps, one by one, little by little putting distance between me and the fear that used to hold me back.

Today I took another step, trusting that whichever way things went, God would show me the way to what I need. I’m still learning how to make this more of a consistent way to respond to my fears and know that this, too, takes time and practice.

How do you let go or move past the fears and challenges in your life?

Today’s action step(s):

  • Getting my thyroid prescription filled – affordably and gracefully easily! (I was anxious that the prescription was “past due,” but that wasn’t an issue whatsoever.)
  • Taking some things to storage.
  • Parking a little farther away from where I need to go just to get a bit more walking in.

© 2013 LuciasJourney.com