“It’s our fear of the unknown and our fear of being wrong that create most of our conflict and anxiety.”
~Brene Brown, The Gifts of Imperfection
My daughter started measuring the square footage of her dorm room before she received the acceptance letter to the school of her choice. Visualizing furniture placement, she’s already imagining herself living independently as a college student. It’s the topic of our conversations lately–the few short months she has left with us before leaving the nest.
Last week, four of us were spread out around a large semi-circle booth meant for eight at our favorite Mexican restaurant, where the owners know us by name and anticipate our choices from the menu. We were talking about financial aid and scholarships between bites of salty tortilla chips and spicy green salsa. I was repeating a conversation I had earlier in the day with her admissions advisor from SCAD when I asked H the dreaded question.
Do we actually know how much it costs for her to go to SCAD?
I didn’t really want to know, I’d been avoiding the question for weeks.
Of course, she knew the answer; she knows the dimensions of her potential dorm room for heaven’s sake.
“It costs $35,000 a year and that doesn’t include room and board or books,” she responded while rolling her eyes. She thought I already knew the answer based on previous conversations I had actually tuned out.
“That doesn’t include incidentals either,” H chimed in.
I didn’t want to know the answer because I knew what it meant for me. H and I have talked about it but saying it out loud means I have to own it, take responsibility.
I have to get a job.
I haven’t worked full-time since she was born 18 years ago.
Can I be honest? This fills me with anxiety.
I feel incompetent and faithless, like I have soul dementia when I start thinking about the details of this. Even though I’m a firsthand witness to countless miracles – not just coincidences – regarding unexpected provision, I feel like I’m six again. I want to crawl into my Grandpa’s lap, curl myself up in the fetal position and let him stroke my hair while he whispers loving assurance over me.
A few days later, I closed my eyes to pray and pictured myself sitting on Jesus’ lap. I couldn’t stay there, even mentally, for more than one minute. I wanted to crawl down, grab my list and show him all the ways I have everything figured out, prove I’m a capable, responsible adult.
I don’t know how to accept grace for myself but I can do it for you all day.
What does loving myself look like when I’m anxious about being a mom who needs to provide for her daughter and feels terribly inadequate?
I let go of an insatiable need to cling to certainty about an uncertain future. Remind myself that while I have anxiety and fear about unknown outcomes, He does not. I filled out all of my own college applications and put myself through college without help from my parents.
His faithfulness isn’t selective.
He doesn’t expect you and I to have everything figured out; we will be continual students. Sometimes my classroom is an over-sized booth covered in granules of salt and drips of salsa. I will always have more questions than answers. You?
Join us in the comments and for further discussion at Redemptions Beauty Book Club on The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown as we let go of certainty and comparison this week to cultivate intuition, faith, and creativity. This is day 14 of 31 Days of Letting Go in the Deep End. Find out more here and join us for daily posts delivered to your inbox by adding your email address to Subscribe in the sidebar. It only takes a few seconds and it’s painless, I promise.