I have just finished reading a book called Present Over Perfect by Shauna Niequist. And I can tell you, this book had me in tears so many times. Shauna may as well have been writing my thoughts and feelings.
The older I get, the more I feel that I have wasted so much of my life on what Shauna calls 'hustling' - making sure everything is perfect, working hard as a way to prove my worth, never taking a rest as if you are not working you are just being lazy. It was all about the output, the end result. If I had nothing to show for my time, I wasn't proving my worth. It was like I had to justify the space I was taking up on this earth.
The quote I am including here really opened my eyes. I read this and thought, 'oh my gosh, that is me and it sounds just terrible.'
The candy throwing referred to here comes from a trip Shauna went on, where it was a tradition that every time kayakers from a nearby camp passed by your dock, you threw candy to them. Just because.
'I used to throw candy, right in the middle of it all. I used to throw candy no matter what. I used to be warm and whimsical. I used to believe in the power of silliness and memory-making and laughter.
And then I became the kind of person who threw candy as long as nothing else was going on - as long as it didn't get in the way of being responsible. I threw candy at approved and sanctioned candy-throwing time, after all the work was done and things were safe and lunches were made.
And then I got so wrapped up in being responsible that it was never the right time to throw candy.
And then, the worst thing: I became the kind of person who made fun of candy-throwers . . . please - who has time? What is this, kindergarten? I've got a list, people, and a flight to catch.
What a loss - for me, for my family, for our community, for all the joy and laughter and silliness we missed out on because I was busy being busy.'
I read this passage (and many others in the book) and was horrified. It WAS me! I've become so bogged down in the details, so mired in the belief that only I can do things right and if I didn't do everything it wouldn't get done, that I was missing everything. I had become the party-pooper, the boring voice of reason and fun-squashing.
There was another passage where Shauna talks about self-care and says that she used to think people who took time for 'self-care' were babies and self-indulgent. I have had those same thoughts. When friends have talked about having a massage or going to a day spa, I have thought that's all right for some but I could never do something like that - what a waste of time and money. When I think about the self-righteous thoughts I have had along these lines, I am totally ashamed.
SO, to cut a long story short, I am going to use 2018 to re-train my mind and soul, to learn to throw candy again. I need to remember that God will accept me as I am, as He created me - I don't need to prove myself to Him other than to follow His commandments and to live by His word.
Throwing candy - that is my prayer for this year.