This routine is nice and clean, from dawn to dusk

What’s important to me?
paying my bills. Jesus. Real relationships with people – people who know me and call me out on sin, and people with whom I can do the same. Learning to expend energy for someone else’s good. Family. Sitting outside on sunny, cool days. Coffee (although I can learn to like decaf). Writing. Music. Correct punctuation. Reading. Setting an example for my sisters, brother and cousin. Learning to take care of myself. Having time to sit without feeling that I’ve got to rush to my next appointment. Church. Growing in my relationship with Jesus and as a person. College football.

What do I feel is getting in the way of those things?
Working part-time. Not having a regular schedule. Distance. My own attitude. Laziness. Uncertainty about my career goals. Fear, both of change and of money. Anxiety. Not being open with people. Not having time to be open with people. Turning to other things for comfort and guidance. Not taking life slowly enough to appreciate it.

The big question: What can I do about it?
(This might take a little longer to answer. But to start … ) Pray. Prioritize. Work full-time. Stop carelessly spending money. Develop my own schedule, at least as far as sleep is concerned. Spend less time on the Internet. Take at least one night a week for myself. Reread “Changes That Heal.” Pray about my career goals. Invest in my friendships.

“Where am I today? I wish that I knew
‘Cause looking around, there’s no sign of you
I don’t remember one jump or one leap
Just quiet steps away from your lead”
-Sean Watkins, “Reasons Why”

3 Comments

Filed under Autobiography, Faith

3 Responses to This routine is nice and clean, from dawn to dusk

  1. Binx

    I stumbled upon your blog a while ago and have been reading it ever since. My, you’re the brooding type, aren’t you! At first, I’d mistaken it for self-absorption, but now I see you’re coping with something even more difficult: you’re almost paralyzed with fear and self-doubt. You’re lucky I’m here to straighten that out!

    In my opinion, the root cause of your fear is predicated by the fact that for some inconceivable reason, you’re totally unconvinced of your ability, talent, and potential. It’s one thing to exercise humility with these things, but another matter to discount them altogether. You’re more than entitled to skepticism. After all, I don’t even know you. But, the most compelling writing pours the soul onto the page like a bottle of wine knocked off the dinner table; something transmuted from order to chaos. And, because you’re a good writer, I’ve been able to make sense of the mess.

    For the life in me, I don’t understand how someone as talented and capable as you could ever be insecure. Sure, that sort of doubt is hardly unique. It’s something all of us face on occasion. But, the extent to which this fear has become an impediment is blatantly obvious: especially when you write about yourself.

    Because I don’t know you, it would be difficult to enumerate all of the abilities and potentials that comprise “Carla.” But, from this perch, it’s manifestly obvious that you are thoughtful, intelligent, and caring. I can even forgive the fact that you’re a dual Alabama-FSU fan because you are passionate but moderate. And, your faith in Christ is clearly buttressed by humility, patience, and love. Heck, there’s so much depth to you that I’m sure I’ve missed a lot of what makes you special. So, in sum, I ain’t worried about you. Nor should you be.

    You’re young and talented, so you will confront many more opportunities and, thus, myriad decisions. Because of the boundless choices you face, it is so important that you embrace a sober, robust confidence in your talent. Why? Because decisions made in fear are decisions rendered from weakness, and thus not in your best interest or in the interest of those who love you. So, believe in yourself, and you’ll exercise good judgment. With such confidence, you’re almost guaranteed to succeed. Even your worst days will be gumdrops, lattes, and Counting Crows. As opposed to, errrr, Elliot Smith.

    Because you are talented, you must never be afraid of a dynamic, open-ended future fraught with potential but bereft of security. Indeed, some relationships and lessons endure. Yet, ideas, emotions, jobs, and seasons are fleeting. Again, this dynamic underscored the importance of not just believing in yourself, but wielding your autonomy with discipline and faith. The stability and strength one draws from a relationship with Christ and self-confidence are the most essential companions in a cynical, lonely world. Like Kierkegaard, you will never “lack the courage to think a thought whole.” And you will be a patient and empathetic ear for others in their trying times. Heck, perhaps most importantly, you’ll be able to make that eventual boyfriend of yours pretty grateful for your company, affection, and occasional guidance.

    Oh, and last but not least: money. Whatever. If you enjoy your work, you’ll be good at it and, one way or the other, financially successful. Regardless, most good ideas and lessons come free of charge. I think you’ll find that these are the things you will want, and need, the most.

    I hope these words offer you some encouragement. You should know that I’ve discovered these things not through mere intellection, but daunting experiences like the ones you are having now. Good luck with all of your endeavors. And, from now on, when you take that long look into the depths of your soul, I hope that you will see the ability, talent, joy, and compassion with which those who love you must certainly be familiar.

  2. Oooh! Oooh! Oooh! Why don’t you start reading my Weblogs and start psychoanalyzing me for free, Binx! PPPPPPPPPLEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEASE?!

  3. Heather

    I miss you. I hate distance. And I know how you feel.

    H

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