On the Deconstruction of the Self

Recently while feeling sad and a bit hopeless, my loving husband reminded me of how many obstacles I have overcome throughout my life.   I pick the hardest things to do and then I succeed at that super hard thing.  Power yoga with fused spine? Check.  Single parenting and a challenging career? Check. Recovery from addiction and getting out of debt? Check and check. Recovering from a terrible broken arm, surviving the pandemic, shepherding my teenaged son through pandemic related depression… wait. I am not triumphant here.   

My friend Mercia tells me that this current phase of life is showing me a new level of powerlessness. I have prayed all the prayers, invested a lot of money in my son’s therapists. Twice a week I spend an hour at the OT’s office to rehab my arm. I meditated. I rested.  I have done everything that I can. There is nothing else I can do. I’ve reached the end of self.

Octavia Raheem has released a new book called “Pause Rest Be” and it starts with endings. Then it takes us through liminal space- the space of long gone and yet to come.  Then brings us to the beginning. 

At the end of self is the beginning of God. 

As I listened to my husband shore me up by reminding me of how I have triumphed over adversity, I felt a little ashamed. My self-reliance, determination and grit made things happen. 

We all do this. We read the self-help books, we go through the work outs, we log the points in the Weight Watchers app (or count macros, or go Keto, whatever).  We consult a life coach, a business coach, or a mentor.  We do everything we can to make life bend to our will. We dream big then do everything in our power to make those dreams come true.  All of this stuff shores up the self, giving us the illusion of strength, power and control. This sounds great, right? Our culture tells us that is the goal, the sole aim of life, to succeed.  In the end though, does it work? Control provides an illusion of comfort.  It is only when we stop to deconstruct this illusion that we find true comfort and peace.

Through the last few months, I notice the deconstruction of the self and a fresh surrender to a Mysterious Power.  My prayers are changing.  Instead of presenting requests for God do miraculous things, I am simply asking for his Presence. 

Just for today

I’ll realize that I can’t do life on my own. I’ve tried and I can’t pull the sword from the stone. I will relax and take it easy. I will let go and let God

Prayer

God, I need you.  That is all I need. 

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