This seems to be a period of self-revelation!
I realised on Saturday afternoon that I struggle to feel good about something if I haven’t expended (what I consider to be) sufficient effort.
On Saturday I had begun giving a course on The Spiritual Exercises. I was giving an input on discernment – something I talk about reasonably frequently. Last week had been the first week of the semester. I always underestimate how taxing that first week is! So, I hadn’t prepared quite as well as I might have. Added to which (the real confession) I had gone out for an early dinner with a friend on Friday night instead of working on my input.
On Saturday afternoon after I got home I had a brief messaging conversation with the same friend. She asked how it had gone. I was aware that I didn’t feel that great about. I’ve had enough feedback both from my co-leaders and from participants to suggest that actually the talk went well.
As I was messaging her, I suddenly realised that my feeling was entirely related to my self-recrimination – I should have done more to prepare – rather than any actual feedback.
I was reminded of a conversation I had with my sister over the Christmas break – she suggested that I will never feel good about something that I haven’t given myself wholeheartedly to. Given that my life requires divided attention – that is a really big problem!!
Seeing it in action this weekend was really helpful. I need to pray for the grace of freedom from my own expectations of myself! I am well aware that there is a fine balance to be struck here, but right now I am erring on one side in a way that isn’t helpful.