Monday, May 6, 2013

Decisions, Choices, Changes


This is a bit of a long post, so you might want to grab a cuppa and settle in for a read.  Maybe grab a snack too.  I had to stop and get myself two cups of coffee, a snack and lunch while I wrote it.  I just thought you should be forewarned.

I have been doing a lot of thinking this past weekend and I've come to the conclusion that some major changes are going to have to take place in my life, starting now.  I know, I know, I know, you're probably like, "we've heard that before and yet, nothing has changed."  Well, this time it's not just a choice I am making but a sort of forced change of behaviour.  Both my body and other people are telling me that I am going to have to slow down, stop pushing myself to the limits and let go of trying to both do and control things that I'm not supposed to.  I once heard that doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results is a sign of insanity, but I don't think that is what this is.  I think this is stubbornness.  I want to be able to do things my way and I'm not happy when anyone else, including my own body, tells me it is not possible, or that I can't do it.  I am one of those people who when someone says "you can't do that" I immediately have to go out and prove that yes I can.  Now this can be a handy trait to have, but let me tell you, it has it's disadvantages as well.  Especially when the thing is something that in all reality I shouldn't be doing to begin with..  However, now that they've said I can't, I have to prove that I can.  Even when it is a detriment to myself.  I think what it really comes down to is a desire to always be right...oh humility is a hard pill to swallow!  Now I understand what the Bible means when it says pride goes before the fall!  Well fall I did, and flat on my face.  It has been a hard lesson to learn that no matter what I think, I am NOT superwoman.

I don't necessarily think this fits into the "Being Kind" to myself category fully as some other things in the past have, because I've honestly thought these were the things I truly wanted to do, not things I was pressuring myself to do because I thought I had to.  And some of them probably did have undercurrents of "I should do this" that may not have been what I exactly wanted, but on the whole these have been things I have had a desire to make, do, see, change, etc.

I started out this morning writing this note to a friend:

"It's feeling better today (which is my hand that I hurt yesterday opening an onion bag...yeah, pathetic, I know), but I still think I'm going to rest it as much as I can.  I honestly don't know why these things keep happening to me.  I used to be able to knit/crochet with no pain whatsoever, and now it seems like I'm getting pain from almost everything I do."

I have to stop here to say that the moment I wrote that, I knew immediately that I actually did know why these things kept happening.  It is because I am pushing myself way to hard.  It's like I'm trying to keep up the pace of "Christmas knitting" every day of my life...which just in case you are wondering, is not sustainable.  Anyway, back to the note:

"I think I must be just doing too much.  The last few months have seen a lot of knitting and crocheting from me, and maybe it's time I really, really cut back.  I think I set myself these great big grand plans, but in all honesty, they're probably not humanly possible, at least not possible to sustain for a long period of time.  So, I think what I am going to try to do is just slowly work on my crafts as it is comfortable, even if that means one row a day,  and really try to learn to relax more.  I find that when I'm in my "making hurry" I tend to overlook so many things each day and not take the time to just "be" and see what is really going on around me.  I sit in one place stitching, stitching, stitching, without even looking up.  Mom or someone will come into my room to talk to me and I hardly pay attention because I'm so focused on what I am doing and trying to get it done."

This is so true.  Life is passing me right by while I am focused on "getting things done."  I'm always thinking to myself that I will start slowing down and take real enjoyment of life when I'm done this one particular thing.  The problem is, once that one thing is done another one comes up to replace it and I never get around to actually enjoying anything.  I don't even enjoy the process of my crafts anymore because I'm so overly focused on completing them so I can start something else.  It's like I'm trying to accumulate a pile of accomplishments ..and what for?  I've thought about that question a lot, and I think it stems from a deep-rooted feeling of failure.  I think I'm trying to prove that I really am not a failure and that I can actually stick with something and see it through to completion by doing all this.  I need to let that go...  I know God has forgiven me for my failures, and I have chosen to forgive myself, but I haven't really been living in that forgiveness.  I've still been trying to prove that I am worthy.  I need to remember that God says our own "works", no matter how good they are, are still like filthy rags to Him because He doesn't love and accept us based on our own personal goodness, but based on Who He is - He is Love and He loves us perfectly and unconditionally.  We cannot earn His love.  Rather, we are just to accept it and live in the freedom of it.  Clearly I still have a lot to learn in this area, but I'm glad to know that God still loves me even though I'm a "work-in-progress."  And I have to make sure I don't try to change on my own, but trust Him to help me change.  Otherwise, I'll keep going around this same old mountain again and again, and I am honestly so ready to be done with this.

I think what I need to do instead of trying to do all that I want to or what I think is expected of me, I need to just do what I can do, what I am able to do without putting unnecessary pressure on myself, and learn to be satisfied and happy with that.  Not always expecting more, more, more, good, better, best, but just realizing and accepting that these are my limits and to be content with that.  I am what I am.  My Finnish grandfather had this saying that basically meant "It is what it is."  That's what I am going to think about myself - It is what it is, I am what I am, nothing more, nothing less.  I am not a failure because I have limits, I am human.  Man, that feels good to say!  I am choosing to take the pressure off myself now and just accept me as ME.

So really, what I guess I'm trying to say is that the blog is going to take a little turn from displaying what I have done, to following me as I pursue this new way of living.  It will still tell the tales of my projects, but you just may see a certain project at various stages of "in-progress" for a lot longer while I take my time working on it.  Also, it will probably follow more of my everyday life as I go about learning to mindfully live each day.  It's going to be a learning process, but really, isn't that what life is all about?

Thanks for sticking with me through this all, and I look forward to sharing my journey.



  1. Yes, take care of yourself as your body is especially telling you so. There is so much out there that grabs our attention and others whose lives we envy and feel we ought to be like that. But in reality, be yourself and what makes you happy, doing what you can. Life can be too short. It's time to smell the roses and enjoy each day as every one is a gift.

    1. Thank you Stef, I am taking your advice and taking time to smell the roses and enjoy each day :) You are so right, there are many things we can get caught up in and wanting other people's lives, but really, we are only given our own lives to live and we should learn to do that and be happy with who we are.

  2. Once again, I can very much relate to what you are saying and feeling. Acknowledgment is a big step and you've done it! That's something to be proud of. I will keep you in my thoughts and look forward to reading about your journey. You are an inspiration!

    1. Thank you Claudia! I'm really looking forward to sharing my journey :)

  3. Big HUGS Raili! I'm proud of you for stepping up, acknowledging that you have limitations, and accepting that. That's really hard to do...I'm trying to do it myself and I don't always feel very successful. And those who truly care for you will understand that they need to accept you for who you are instead of trying to force or guilt you into being something different. :) As you've said, God will be with you to help strengthen and support you. It's so easy to forget that it's okay to lean on Him, that it's not just our own burden to carry.

    1. Thank you Rae Lynne! It is a hard thing to have to admit to having limitations, but it's also very freeing. I've felt like a big weight has been lifted off of me. I will be praying for you as you go through this too. We will both have to lean on God, and you're right, it's not our burden to carry, and He is so willing to carry it all for us if we will just give it to Him :)