Recently I have realized (for the 50th time) that my plate is too full. This time is different, however. I have gotten to the root of why I keep over-filling my plate. In an effort to gain approval and acceptance, I so often take on jobs that are asked of me, or even just offered. There has been a great empty space in me that I keep attempting to fill. A chasm of inadequacy, a continual desire to be told I am worthy of breathing air on this planet.
Most of my relationships, I realize now, have been based on this emptiness. I have used friends and family constantly to make me feel valuable, and I am always open to a serious decline in value should I not receive a quantifying response. I have used other people as a measuring stick of my worth.
Recently I have reassessed my gauges. I have reorganized my yard and begun to set clear boundaries as to what I allow to affect that yard. I am building stronger fences in between those relationships which leave me the most vulnerable, and in the process, I am able to more clearly see the beauty of what God has given me to care for. He created a garden just for me to tend and I am learning to not allow my energies to be drained by others, whether by their doing or my own. For that only leaves me with an empty cup at the end of the day from which to pull my resources.
Any projects that I take on should be done joyfully out of an abundance of wholeness, rather than an attempt to fill an emptiness. I am learning to open up these dark, empty spaces in myself so that the Spirit may enter and work me toward fullness. He is the only way to a whole and healthy place, the only truth and the only life.
Photograph: The Boathouse