There's a metaphor that has been in my mind lately. I have been an overfunction-er in many relationships, especially at work. There's a feeling of having to do it all, or everything will fall apart. This entails taking responsibility for things outside of my control/boundaries. In truth, we're all tiny pieces in the giant puzzle of life. We don't have to be the entire puzzle, or even the entire section, we just have to do our tiny piece's part. And then let it go, pass it on. And then, not take responsibility for anything more than our part. If it falls, it falls. It wasn't meant to be. That also means that having hard conversations when someone else is not taking responsibility/accountability for their part..., but that is still better than doing someone else's part. Doing someone else's part feels terrible, and disempowers all.
I can either be responsible for my boundaries, or someone else's boundaries - but I can't be responsible for both.
This idea feels like a long exhale; more right-sized, contained, healthy, empowered, AND empowering for others around me.
It requires trust, truth, focusing on the process - not the outcome, allowing myself to give up control, and to actually be right sized.
And that is a leap of faith.
That's ok, I can do it.
Woke with my heart pounding. Mind racing, fear activated about some made-up scenario involving my children, taking place at some point in the future. Again. The details change, but the fear of something outside of my control impacting my children wakes me regularly.
Generally speaking, I am a conscious parent; thoughtful, intentional, protective. I am also a smart, capable person. And, I frequently miss things which, I think subconsciously, makes me feel a paralyzing terror for all the ways in which I feel powerless to protect them. These fears wake me, frequently. They also appear on a random Tuesday. Unpredictable.
I am powerless to a random, capricious, unknowable, uncontrollable life. I can't rely on this brain to keep them safe - as good as it is, it simply misses too much. And they are in the world, away from me, too much for this role. And so I must learn to trust them, while simultaneously relying on a power greater than me - a power that sees it all.
Anxiety is a sure sign that I'm trying to do too much, that I'm out of order with God.
And so, when this happens, I turn it all over to God. "God is the strength in which I trust." Over and over. Turn it over. See the strength and lay down my shield.
Slowly my heart returns to normal. My mind stills. My body relaxes. Compassion arises for the soft self that went through that.
God gets me through the moment, and then it is my 'homework' to see where I need to hand something over to my children. These feelings are also a reminder that my children are fully equipped to handle themselves in the world. They are not yet adults, but they feel agency in their lives which must be honored and trusted. When I take on responsibility for things beyond my control, it denies them that place in their world, the place of their responsibility. Which they greatly want and need to inhabit, and want me to cede to them. It is time to allow them to grow up a bit more, to pass a bit more of the rope to them. To trust.
Perhaps I'll never be free of these feelings. Perhaps I will. For now, they are a part of my wiring, a release valve for the tension that accumulates throughout my life. I'm ok with that, as long as I can remember to see the greater cycle, that the feelings are part of a larger cycle of highs and lows, that the feelings pass, that they are there for a reason from which I can take meaning and action, that regardless God can handle it, that there is room for all.
Norma Van Horn