On Not Waiting for the Other Shoe to Drop
My heart is in a good place right now.
It’s full of contentment and generosity and it feels safe. Loved. But not in an armored sort of way. It could be hurt again, and my head knows that and is posting all these warning signs.
The road I’m on is one that was called to love, and right now, that’s easy, because I feel like the people that matter know me and love me, and that’s what makes a heart feel safe enough to love others.
And for so many reasons, I don’t want to leave this place.
I want to anchor down, right here, and claim that I’ve arrived.
I have enough, I am enough, and I’ll circle the wagons right here, thankyouverymuch. But that’s not what hearts were created for — they weren’t made to drop anchor and set up camp.
They were made for a journey, a transformation, a call to the action of love.
So instead of setting up camp and calling this comfortable zone my end-all and be-all, I’m acknowledging that I feel safe and loved, and that means that the call to open arms and love harder and give more freely is just around the next bend.
I’ve got to admit, it’s a bit frightening.
I very easily find myself holding my breath, waiting for the other shoe to drop, rather than fully enjoying the good that’s present in my life.
Brené Brown describes it perfectly.
If you ask me what’s the most terrifying, difficult emotion we feel as humans, I would say joy. How many of you have ever sat up and thought, ‘Wow, work’s going good, good relationship with my partner, parents seem to be doing okay. Holy crap. Something bad’s going to happen’? You know what that is? When we lose our tolerance for vulnerability, joy becomes foreboding: ‘I’m scared it’s going to be taken away. The other shoe’s going to drop…’ What we do in moments of joyfulness is, we try to beat vulnerability to the punch.
Anticipating tragedy doesn’t protect us from it when it comes our way. It just robs us of the moments of joy we could be experiencing right now.
The best way to combat those thoughts when I catch myself fearing the future rather than leaning into the joy of the present is by practicing gratitude. Choosing to focus on what I am thankful for redirects my attention and reframes my perspective. It doesn’t dissolve the fears, but it helps me not give them undue priority with my thoughts and emotions.
In the busyness of this holiday season, it is so easy to get swept up and distracted. Friends, let’s choose — together — to stop and savor the moment. Commit to pausing more. Practice gratitude. Slow your breathing. Refocus.
Yes!! I had this epiphany several years ago. I could either protect myself or go all in and savor every moment. It was liberating once I made that decision to go all in. Life is for living fully instead of letting fear dictate our decisions.
Thanks for sharing, Melissa! You are a huge inspiration!
Thank you!! 🙂
Your words resonate with me this holiday season. I recently left my full-time job to focus more on my family, and while I’m happy with the decision I made I find myself worrying about what could happen now that I don’t have my career. All of the ‘what ifs’ keep running through my mind. What if my husband gets sick (even though he’s healthy now)? What if we need more money (even though we’re comfortable now)? What if, what if, what if? Living life based on the ‘what ifs’ definitely robs me of joy. Thanks for a reminder to choose joy this season.
I started the practice of ”giving thanks daily” in a season of darkness shortly after miscarriage. It was in those days that I learned joy can truly be obtained not only when things are going as we hope. Joy is ours for the taking…let’s own it whether storm or calm. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Whitney.
One thing that works for me is getting out of the house and taking a walk outside. Something about the fresh air, the expanse of the outdoors, and being surrounded by the beauty of nature helps to clear my mind and put things in perspective.