How not to be ferocious with myself.

This past week I managed to pull a typical Micha move. I’m not naturally organized. My brain doesn’t remember plans, I don’t think in terms of details, and I tend to spring for new ideas and exciting possibilities as soon as they arrive in my brain’s inbox. For the past few years while on staff with Young Life, when my job was so flexible that I had to gain some control, I became pretty good (and dependent upon) using a calendar.

Then I became a stay at home mom. Yes, August and I have things we have to plan. Like playdates. And doctor’s visits. And there are the events that are set in stone. Like Mom’s group or his school. In the midst of my non-demanding schedule, I’ve become a failure at using my calendar.  It’s not that I don’t write things down in it. It’s that it’s no longer part of my life. I don’t check it every day; I mostly rely on my (deteriorating) brain.

So, this past Monday when I remembered that the Young Life prayer group I’m committed to was meeting on Tuesday night at the same time as the impromptu dinner I was throwing for Preemptive Love Coalition at my house, I was simply annoyed with myself.

If there were something I would immediately change about myself if given the opportunity, it would be my frazzled nature. I’m late, I drop things, I lose my keys, I forget appointments, and I often fail the people in my life who are dependent on my ability to follow through on my commitments. Every time I fail I simply can’t understand how my head missed it.

That’s how I felt on Monday when I realized that due to my own lack of organization, I would be missing my second of the three prayer meetings since I’ve been part of this group. I immediately emailed my spiritual director, who happens to be on the prayer team with me and who also happened to be the one hosting the dinner I was supposed to attend.

I always assume the worst in the reactions of the people around me: severe disappointment, a realization of the kind of woman I actually am, some sense of having forever spoiled the once pristine image they held of me. I apologized to Debby. I told her I didn’t understand myself. I joked about the craziness of last week as I spent all my free time either apartment hunting or throwing up. I hoped that my excuses would be humble and still redeeming.

I’d like to quote Debby’s response to me:

“We will miss you. Please, be gentle with yourself. Listen to Evelyn Underhill: ‘Cultivate a loving relation to Him in your daily life; don’t be ferocious with yourself, because that is treating badly a precious but imperfect thing which God has made.’”

That is why I love Debby. What I didn’t need this week is to be chastised for my failures. And what I also didn’t need was to be pitied for my combination of pregnancy brain and apartment search and busyness. What I needed is for someone dear to tell me that I am a “precious but imperfect thing which God has made.”

I read the email to Chris and he told me I should write: “Don’t be ferocious with yourself” on my mirror. Maybe I will.


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8 Responses to How not to be ferocious with myself.

  1. Lex

    I love that response, too. Thanks for sharing that.

  2. That quote could not come at a better time, Micah. I hate being confronted with my weaknesses, which inevitably leads to seeing even more weaknesses until I hit the place I wonder why God even bothered with me in the first place. Such an insult to an incredibly loving creator. Get yourself a fun a calendar and I’ll post Evelyn’s qoute in my office and sing “Jesus Loves Me .. . . ” as much as I can.

  3. CAQ

    Micha, I am a disorganized swear word. I have multiple calendars. The one that works best is right beside my front door-so I try to look at it every day as I am walking out. Then I remember what I am supposed to be doing that day.
    Don’t be ferocious with yourself. You are juggling many things right now. Give yourself at least a sigh and/or bad movie now and then.
    This is coming from Courtney! ps I might be going to TX soon…I will let you know xocaq

  4. Campbell

    I spent a graduate semester at a Buddhist school and learned about this beautiful concept of “maitri” — loving kindness towards one’s self. One of the things I’ve held onto from my time there. Thanks for sharing, as always.

  5. Oh! my word. I have had a ferocious day and this (along with Leeana Tankersley’s guest post at your brother’s blog) has been so comforting. Thanks, friend.

  6. Pingback: october spotlight on: pratipaksa bhavanam (cultivating opposite thoughts) | here / there / everywhere.

    • Hi Micha! How are you? Thanks for sharing this post, it really resonated with me. I mentioned it in my blog as well.
      Hope you and your sweet family are well, and congrats on your pregnancy too! Sending big love from NYC, Sara

  7. Pingback: A ‘Mother Letter’ for the Mamas | mama:monk

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