A Reckoning

On the last day of my 46th year I carried out a reckoning. The dictionary describes a reckoning as an evaluation, a way of thinking, an appraisal.

Daniel Coffee in his blog, “An Emphatic Umph” writes that a reckoning is a calculating of one’s position within a situation and taking the necessary steps, doing what needs to be done, not just coming to terms but settling that which needs settling. A reckoning is an inflection point, a juncture, a turning, a transformative moment that redirects one’s flow of energy.  A reckoning shifts the very terms of the apparatus: it is a metabolic realignment.

Well, how about that? Can I pull off a metabolic realignment?

What a year my 46th has been! I have grown so much, my mind has expanded with new knowledge thanks to good Wi-Fi and fantastic podcast and You Tube subscriptions. There have been too few books but I did enjoy those I could get on Audible when I could still afford the monthly subscription.

I have stepped back from church and examined my core beliefs. I have grown closer to God, enjoyed seeing the love of Jesus with fresh eyes, and thought about the different ways he lived out sacrifice and purpose during his life on earth. This new understanding of the cost of obedience has made my more painful sacrifices make better sense to me. Joy in affliction is no longer such an oxymoron.

I have released myself from the desperate pressure to urgently run away from my circumstances. When the light at the end of the tunnel seemed to grow further off, I drew up a more relaxed and realistic timeline that allows for gathering the resources required for a less stressful landing. In a truly transformed mind shift, I am now playing the long game and resisting the lure of instant, but deceptive, gratification. I remain enthralled with life plans and Excel flow charts but I am more surrendered to God’s timing and I trust his provision for the journey ahead.

I have established a new business that brings together my writing, project planning and researching skills. This is a venture for the new season, something that I intend to do for many years to come. There have been times I floundered, but now I know enough to consider this as growth and not a reason to give up. I will professionalise this venture, invest in it, grow it and use it to bless and serve others.

In the past year, I have resisted the urge to become a hermit! Granted, the global and national pandemic lockdowns made me secretly glad that I had an excuse not to meet people or go out. I think I may be an introvert.  I also tend to spend anxious hours ruminating over previous conversations, beating myself up for sharing too much and coming off as a fool or naïve. If you have read enough of my blog, you can tell that I spend a lot of time in my head.

But I tried hard not to draw back and enjoy isolation too much. I have opened up to new people despite the risks that this brings. The risk of being misunderstood, being taken advantage of, despised and dismissed. I have shared my love and friendship, counsel and encouragement even when it leaves me drained. I have acknowledged the fear I have about relating with people and gone ahead and done it anyway, allowing myself to be vulnerable now and then. This is a response to where I feel called and I will continue to find ways to thrive with others.

I have learned new ways to cope with the stresses of life, to restrain myself from constant despair, pulling back from self-pity and shame.

That thing called shame! In the past year, I learned that there is such a thing as becoming a vibrational match for your vision. Gratitude is a high frequency that aligns with abundance. Shame is a low frequency whose vibration will not serve me.  

In an article on Psychology Today, Bernard Golden Ph.D. describes shame as a feeling that involves negatively judging ourselves when we believe we’ve failed to live up to either our own standards, or the standards of other people.  Breaking through the bubble of shame requires the cultivation of awareness, self-reflection, and some degree of optimism that, in spite of the thoughts we experience, we can ultimately loosen their hold. The term “plasticity” refers to this capacity to change the brain.

I started a gratitude journal in 2019 but at some point that year’s entries turned into desperate pleas for relief and rescue. It was not a good year.  However, on learning the impact of gratitude, last year I downloaded an app called Presently, with pretty colours and fonts, and congratulatory notifications whenever I hit a new milestone for the days I had recorded my thanks. When the cleaner turned up to work, I noted it down. When my kids collaborated on a task without a fight, I typed smiley faces in the app. When a new client called because of a referral, it went on record. Homeschooling running smoothly for a whole week? Halleluiah! 

The shame thing is still a work in progress but much progress I have made. Every day, I make an effort to combat the thoughts of inadequacy and racing panic at where I find myself in life.  The entries in my collection of hot-pink journals show a person who has “done the work” as the personal development gurus call it.

If I were to wrap up my reckoning with a bow, I would say that in my 46th year, I was able to embrace my life, accept the lane I am on and learned to be content. At the same time I reaffirmed my dreams, stopped being apologetic about them and learned to trust God’s timing and his support.

Have I achieved a metabolic realignment? Well, with gratitude, self-acceptance, and a more compassionate inner dialogue, I daresay my vibration is higher, and much sweeter now.

I cannot wait to see what the future holds.

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