My Empty Bookshelves

My bookshelves are empty.


On the left, I have an iPod chager and a couple of CDs.

On the right, there’s my extra phone (as many calls as I’m taking, and as long as some of them last, I need an extra phone when the batter goes dead ; ) I’ve also got some programming books, because, programming books.

The desk drawers are empty, as well. My nest is barren.

Selling the house and moving. Changing jobs. I’ve re-decaffeinated just to keep the stress levels down.

This morning, I had 10 miles scheduled plus some core work. About six miles into the run, I found myself thinking (as is my wont) “okay, if I get this 10 in today, and 3.5 in tomorrow, then I can make 40 for the week – if I can hold that, then that should give me enough of a base to at least finish the Sioux Falls marathon on September 8th…”

And then I stopped.

And I suddenly realized – after I was sick this winter, I started back running again slowly, and ramping up my mileage slowly, because that was all that I could do. And as I ramped back up to 40 mile weeks, I was then thinking “Okay, I can ramp this up to 45 over the next four weeks, and then up to 50 the next four weeks, and still get in a two-week taper before Sioux Falls…”

…and then the job and house happened, and I only got 8 miles in last week.

So why was I planning out how things were gonna go? MY LIFE NEVER GOES AS PLANNED!…and those empty shelves, right there, are concrete proof of that.

I can plan out a task, and follow through with the plan. But whenever I try to plan out my own life, I find out that I can’t possibly do that – once again proving out Deming’s System of Profound Knowledge, that “a system cannot understand itself”.

Now, this is actually good news. It means that Somebody Else has to run my life for me. It’s when I forget that (which is when I start saying “Next week, I’ll do this…”) that I become fearful. I am fearful – even if I don’t know it – because I have started to run my own life, when I already know that I cannot possibly do that.

The Big Book says that all fear comes from self-sufficiency. Self-sufficiency has failed us. But we think that there’s nothing else to depend on, so it’s like walking across a frozen lake and hearing the ice crack behind you.

So I become fearful, and suddenly decide that “I’d better get my stuff together! I’d better get my life figured out, because Chaos is descending and I have a sense of impending doom!”

This, of course, causes more fear. And I wake up in the morning to buzzards on the bedposts.

It keeps going until I become uncomfortable enough to realize that I’ve fallen for that lie again.

As soon as I cast off that delusion – the delusion that I can wrest satisfaction and happeness out of this world if I only manage it well – I will say something like this:

“Whups! Sorry! Father, here I am and here are all of my troubles. I am making a mess of things, and I don’t want to do this any more. Please take me, and take all of my troubles, and do whatever You want to do with them. Amen.”

At that moment I feel my intestines start to unwind – sometimes, I can  actually hear the bubbles as things start flowing down there again. All it takes is the decision to not run my own life anymore to make the buzzards go away.

So I don’t know how many miles I’m gonna run. And I don’t know which job I’m going to be working at. And I don’t know where I’m going to live.

But Somebody does. And He’s much better at planning my life than I am!

1 comment
  1. Comment: size of the thing being managed. Projects at work are a particular size and consume a certain amount of work and attention relative to their size.

    Conclusion: Your life it larger than that.

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