Monday, 15 February 2016

I am giving up "arson" for Lent

I am giving up arson for Lent.

No the burning stuff kind of arson.

Arsin' about. Wasting time. Procrastinating. Avoiding tasks.

Because i do not have a regular schedule to my day--sometimes I am working and sometimes I am not--I find more and more that I am arsing about.
Aw, who didn't love Sea Monkeys?

It is easy to do. Thanks to YouTube there are toy adverts from the 70s to wax nostalgic over, music videos from the 80s to dance to, clips of sketches from Saturday Night Live from throughout the ages--the funny and the unfunny to watch.

There is the bottomless pit known as Yahoo News (and I use the term news in the loosest possible sense) where I can read about celebrities I don't know doing things I don't care about.  I can learn hacks for my chopsticks--great! Now I need to learn to use chopsticks before i learn a hack for doing other things with them.  Now I can watch people I don't know getting their face smashed into a cake or falling while taking a selfie. I can watch it and feel my life's energy and will to live slip away.

Yet still i watch it.

For hours.

I never mean to. I always say I will only watch one thing and then it spirals out of control.

But secretly, deep down...I know why I do it.

I am afraid of failing. We have lived in Wales for a year and a half and i have yet to get regular employment. I am actually mostly ok with this--because the irregular employment is very good. I work odd days here and there in my friend's shop.  I am also a private tutor to two delightful home educated children once a week. I am born to be a teacher and so this brings me unimaginable joy as well as a bit of cash. The only problem is I wish i had more students.

 And how does one get more students? By advertising--by putting myself out there. To make posters and bookmarks and work at it to get someone to notice me and be willing to let me teach their children.

To face rejection if no one else is interested in my services.

I watch YouTube so i don't have to have people reject me.

Not having a regular work day *should* enable me to spend more time (because I have more time) doing the things I love--playing the ukulele, reading, designing and making jewellery.

But somehow it doesn't. Something is making me read that Kanye West is saying he is broke on Yahoo news and laughing because he has no idea what financial hardship feels like. So what am i avoiding?

Again--rejection. In December i wanted to open an Etsy shop. For those of you who don't know ETSY is a place where you can sell your crafts online. I spend a month making things, photographing things (which was hard without natural light--we had 40+ days of rain and the house was dark) and getting things ready.

Then came the bit where you have to write it all up online and upload photos and set prices and make banners for the shop and think really hard about things and make them perfect.

Perfect shop--so that people will want to buy from me.
Perfect items--so that people will want to buy from me.
Perfect prices--so that people will want to buy from me.

And the nagging feeling that nothing is perfect especially me sent me into a month of watching YouTube in my pyjamas. Did you know you can watch Lifetime Movies on YouTube? Well you can. Dreadful, based on a true story garbage that makes your worries about perfectionism disappear.

No one can ignore me, reject me or even see me if I stay home and arse about.

So what am i doing for Lent? First and foremost, reminding myself that No one fails who does their best for God. 

Secondly, i am banning both YouTube and Yahoo News from my life. I am prayerfully asking God to help me face my fears and get the lead out.

Because I have to TRY. I might not succeed, but if i don't even make an attempt to do these things then I will  definitely NEVER succeed.

I need to change my thinking. To stop worrying about the past and recalling in painful detail the six (count 'em six) interviews i had last year where it went *so* well where they thought I was "amazing" and "fascinating" but didn't give me the job.  And obsessing negatively about the future--whatever i have to offer nobody will want.

I am resolving to stay in the present moment. To notice anxiety and kindly tell it to sod off and then to breathe deeply. I am taking a free online course though Future Learn about Mindfulness. I am already in week two and feeling the benefits. it is a free online course and i would highly recommend it. Go here for details:

Did you know that anxiety and worry keeps you in that fight or flight mode and your body can not only become mentally ill with all that negativity and tension but physically ill as well? I want to get out of that kind of thinking.

I want to stop obsessing over what I lack. Because, when you really look at it--i am living in abundance. 

I have a roof over my head.
I have delicious, healthy food on my table.
I have my health.
I have a soul mate who loves me.
I have friends.
I am full of creativity.
I live the life others can only dream of--safely immigrating to another country  without being hated or shunned or labeled or feared.  We are so lucky and blessed to live in the green valley of Wales.

What do i lack? More regular employment. Is that it? Seriously, is that it? What else do i have?
Time to write for the blog.
Time to play music.
Time to read.
Time to pray.
Time to create.
 Would I like more regular employment? Yes of course. Would I like more money? Sure. Our budget is tight as a drum, but we are always (and I mean ALWAYS) taken care of by God. There is plenty for everything we need. For example, I have seven days of shop work coming up which will pay our rent for the month. Just like that.

Since we have redefined what we want in life--what is important to us--then pretty much that is taken care of too.

Would I like to have more money to throw at our debts? Hell yea. Would i want more money to put towards our retirement? Uh-huh.

But if I am in the moment and really trying to live Luke 12:22-34 then i am better off.

Do Not Worry
 22Then Jesus said to his disciples: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. 23 For life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. 24 Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! 25 Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life[a]? 26 Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?

27 “Consider how the wild flowers grow. They do not labour or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendour was dressed like one of these. 28 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you—you of little faith! 29 And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it. 30 For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them. 31 But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.

32 “Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom. 33 Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will never fail, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. 34 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

So for Lent, I want to change myself, to change my attitudes and fear of failure and face my fears. To feel the fear and do it anyway.

We are only a few days in and already I am seeing a profound change in my attitude and my use of time.

What are you doing for Lent?

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