February 2: Hiding in the Shadow

I’m sure someone has written something about shadows and winter on Groundhog Day and even though I’d like to be different I am not that creative. On this beautiful February 2nd day, we spent nearly the entirety of the morning gathering tax documents and talking about our budget. Which is fun and boring all at the same time. And like Phil this morning we found we have at least 6 more weeks of winter(i.e. student loan debt) but then we should see some refreshing, spring sunshine! In August of 2016 I wrote a post about what happens when the Dave Ramsey plan fails but I think I’ll have to eat some of those bitter words. Since August of 2017 I have been listening to all three hours of Dave’s podcast and I have realized how much of his plan I got wrong. I(we) needed more patience and someone on the plan to keep me(us) accountable. When you seek advice from people who don’t know what Dave is talking about you get lots of mixed signals and you lose your direction and focus. Isn’t that so true with so many things that can lead us down a better path for our lives?

Ever since Henry has become a youth director I have felt unsure and uncomfortable in my own skin. Around that time I started writing a post about the fact that now everyone at church saw me. I went from a regular person in the crowd to Henry’s wife and I had no clue who many of the congratulatory church members were (that says a whole lot for my welcoming and fellowshipping abilities at church). I was no longer in the shadow of anonymity where I really like hiding. And I never published it. My fear and insecurity has actually pushed me to run more towards my shadow.

I’m not winning any popularity contests or anything now but I definitely feel like I’m more exposed than before. And this scares me. I have major trust issues. I have so many walls of defense set up to keep all of my failings and ugliness hidden and this strategy typically works well for me. I am totally stealing my friends words but often I am nothing but smoke and mirrors. And I like it that way. Henry has tried to challenge me this year to open up and accept anything from someone else and I just cannot. This severely affects my faith relationship as well. Which makes me want to hide even more from those who would see my terrible, awful, no-good, very bad self.

I took the Enneagram personality test and I am pretty sure I am a 3, an Achiever – highly driven towards advancement and success. But the difficulty with being a 3 is that I greatly fear being viewed as worthless. And I think all the things I do make me worth something. So I do a lot…however not much of it is at church. And even though I do a whole lot more at work, all the doing does not translate to skill or knowledge with the super critically ill patients (and honestly I don’t want anyone to see that).

Do I have any idea how to change this? Not really. I know I should just trust more and pray more and lean on God more but none of that feels safe. And I don’t like doing things without genuine emotion behind it. Does anyone else feel this way? I didn’t make any resolutions this year because I couldn’t find it in me to lie to myself and commit to something I knew I couldn’t do. I didn’t want to face the shadow of failure.

How can I feel that I can safely come out of the shadows and be visible in the light? Not much actually grows in the shadow. There is richness and fullness and life in the light.

I am working on a plan. I even bought this great planner with “What a Beautiful Day” plastered on the front. I think I wrote something on January but February is blank…maybe I’ll fix that tomorrow.

Right now, my step 1 is to finally pay off that stinking student loan debt and see what life is like on the other side. It will happen. This March. Everyone be excited!

My step 2 is blog every day this month and me more honest and uncomfortable and maybe even helpful with my blogging. So in doing so…I should be sleeping. I have to work tonight and as I said yesterday, I am still sick and I can’t hear out of my left ear. Don’t be like me. GET ENOUGH SLEEP!

Step 3…TBD. I should fire up the ol’ Bible Project app and read about everyone else’s failings so I can rest assured that God loves me despite all that I do. I don’t need to hide in the shadow.

What about you? How will you step out of your shadow to embrace the life that comes from living in the light?

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