Tuesday, 8 March 2011
Where Security Lies
Sometimes, I get too comfortable.
Thanks to a couple long-term contracts and regular monthly work, my freelance writing income is strangely (strange for this chosen profession) predictable. It’s been a huge blessing after the first five years of freelancing, which were filled with uncertainty and stress and not knowing what the next month might hold in terms of projects and paychecks.
Which is probably why I have a few stressful, freak-out moments every once in a while, when I imagine that all my clients will unceremoniously drop me in the same week.
The past week has been like that. I feel like I’m running away from something for a few days, frenzied, vaguely stressed and on edge. I look for clues in little things: A late response to an email, no reaction when I send in my work, department shifts and strategic plan changes. I catastrophize each new hint and think Oh dear God, it’s over. That’s the end. And then it devolves into being somehow about the quality of my work or even my character: They hate me. They’ve hated my work for months now and couldn’t find a way to tell me. They’ve been waiting for this person to leave/this plan to change/this contract meeting to break it to me: I’m not good enough, and they don’t want me anymore.
I don’t have time to unpack all the issues in those thoughts alone, but what it really boils down to is this:
Where is my security?
Is it in my work? It didn’t today, but it really all could end tomorrow.
Is it in my family? Tragedies happen every day, to people just like me.
Is it in my home, my husband’s job, my plans for this life? It could all change in a heartbeat.
Because things are stable and we live in extraordinary safety, it’s so easy to just coast. To forget that we’re all dust, that this life isn’t mine, that my plans are just a guess.
A life of normal, predictable stability has its own dangers: It seems right to make it all about increasing my comfort and security. Insulated, I forget the struggles of my friends and neighbors, near and far. On the surface, it doesn’t look like I have to rely on God for much of anything.
And so, even after being stressed that everything could come crashing down, I’m inspired to pray dangerously: Jesus, shake up this snowglobe. Every once in a while, throw a wrench. Remind me of my humanity, give me a glimpse of life beyond my apathy, “a reminder that we are sacks of water / that can puncture.”
Don’t let me coast. Help me lean into your everlasting arms and feel the wind in my hair as you steer me where you want this life to go. Where I can know you more deeply, depend on you more completely and where your gifts in me — the ones that will show your glory — will burn so bright even I’ll have to close my eyes.
Unsettle me, Lord.