“If I just had _______________, then I would _________________.”
Nate and I have a long standing joke about me saying the above phrase with different things inserted in the blanks as I try and convince him to let me buy/obtain/do whatever I’m wanting at that moment in time.
better knifes / cook more
new runners / exercise more
a nicer dayplanner / be better organized
voice lessons / be the next Sarah McLachlan
etc, etc, etc
I spent years saying that until Nate finally pointed out how ridiculous it was because I hardly ever followed through on my promise. Now I say it to get a laugh from him or when I want something completely frivolous and silly. I’ve learned so much about myself over the past years and finally realized that if I’m not doing something now, having new knives/shoes/dayplanner, won’t spur me on to cook/run/organize any better than I do right now. I need to start doing now and buy the tools after I’ve proved myself.
I’ve learned this lesson. It’s been years since I’ve said the above line with true conviction. I understand that new things won’t motivate me. They never have. Probably never will.
Imagine my surprise though when I suddenly realized that I am still saying that line. Except this time it’s not to Nate but to myself. And this time it’s not about obtaining a new object but about living my life.
“If I could just become more organized, then I would have a handle on life.”
“If I could just structure my day better, then I would feel in control.”
“If I could be more consistent in all areas, then I would finally be able to achieve my goals.”
“If I could just spend more time in prayer, then God would help me in these areas.”
“If I could decorate my house the way I want, then I could focus on more important things.”
“If I could clean my house more consistently or have the money to hire a house-cleaner, then I would have the time to focus on my kid.”
The phrase I’m saying is slightly different but the spirit of it is the same; dissatisfaction in life.
At the time of this realization, I was about to step into the shower. The water was running, my towel slung over the door. I literally stopped in mid-step as this awareness washed over me. I sat down on the lid of the toilet and began weeping. Tears of being utterly crushed, completely blindsided. How long had I been telling myself these lies? How long had I held life at arms length? As I sat there I started thinking back over my life and discovered that I have been telling these lies to myself for decades. Decades! Decades?!
Why have I been putting a contingency on LIFE? I’m never going to have the kind of life I want if I’m constantly talking myself out of living it. And if I did or became all of the things I think I’m lacking would my life be any better or would I still be dissatisfied?
My thought process in how to sort through this is so convoluted that I don’t even have the capacity to write it out. All I know is that I’m going to stop telling myself these lies and the hundreds of other ones that I’ve tried to pass off as truth.
I did it with the phrase at the top of this post so I know that I can do it with this one too. God help me.