1. I find myself toiling in tasks like this, too, at times, which is curious, given that I’m scattered when it comes to most things. My best advice: Recognize the actual moment. We spent so much time and though planning and thinking through possibility, that we forget not only the beauty of the current moment, but the huge impact it has on what will come next.

    • This is great advice, Eli. Do you have any practical or tangible things that you do to help you remember to stay “in the moment”? I feel like I’m really great at realizing my lack of presence after the moment has already passed.

      • You have to take a barometer of your day. Set a watch to go off every top of the hour. Annoying, I know, but here’s what you ask yourself right when it beeps: Is what I’m doing right this instant making me better, or is it a detriment? If it’s the latter, change the behavior. If it’s the former, reinforce it, and remember it when you have those times when the path your on doesn’t lead to a better you. And by better, I mean less self-induced stress.

        • This is great advice. I’ve been using a timer for all of my different tasks and making myself switch tasks after 25 minutes. This helps break my mental train of thought and keep me from obsessing.

          • That’s a great tool. I feel like I have to change stuff up regularly – go from timed to untimed, music with words to ambient sounds … whatever it takes.

  2. Michael Lining

    Hey sis! Big bro here! Quite a blog post! Its very complex. Its very complex, as you know. Step back from yourself for a few moments and take a birds eye view of who you are. By the way, who is dad? You know, spreadsheet master, actuarial guru, the awesome man who comes in the driveway after work, makes the same stops on the way up stairs, stays in schedule, puts his chapstick on the right side of his dresser, puts his belt rolled up in the top drawer, has an order to every process, and if something goes missing, it really can throw him off. OCD? Maybe, but you are your father’s daughter in sooo many ways. His strengths are your strengths: organization, scheduling, processes, procedures, smarts, perfectionism, life in Excel spreadsheets. I knew this growing up with you. You have inherited those traits. You have thrived on schedules, order, procedures, check lists for years and years. Early on, you adopted that as a way of live, a way to make you thrive, in school and the religious systems and legalism we were exposed to fit right into that, and it was cemented into your way of life. It made you who you are. Probably that has a lot to do with when the rug got pulled out from underneath you several years ago, it was such a shock to your system. Now you’ve recognized the religious underpinnings of the legalism but you’re seeing that yourself as a person are who you’ve grown up to be, and maybe that’s why its so overwhelming to you; because you now see that your modus operandi, is your greatest asset but your biggest weakness. But the good news is, you don’t have to obsess over who you are. I’m not saying you’re OCD, but you have some very OCD tendencies that has structured your very way of living since you were a teenager. Its what made you thrive in school, and thrive on schedules and organization. But now you’re seeing that is a weakness as well. Now you see it, you don’t have to try to change who you are all at once – that will lead to a bunch more obsession that you’re not changing enough or fixing the problems and cause more self-directed anger.

    Without doing a bunch of research, think of ways to challenge the self-directed anger you’re experiencing into something else that doesn’t bring you down. You realize I am who I am, I AM this person, and I accept the person I am. You can only make gradual changes now that you see the problem (which is really not really a problem). Lets say you are full blown OCD (which I’m not saying you are). That’s not something that can really be changed, so its not necessary to be self-loathing or angry about. Its partly hereditary, and its partly what your natural response was given the circumstances we faced growing up (i.e. churches, etc). You recognize it, and you know when you’re obsessing, and you work on it a little at a time; but you can’t change the core of your being all at once. You don’t have to be angry that you have responded in certain ways or did certain things. Just like it has taken time (years) for Dad to change the person he was (for the better), it will take you a long time too. Don’t try to change it all at once, it will just cause more anxiety, obsession, and pain.

    Try to reduce your dependencies on your schedules and spreadsheets as a starting point. Don’t feel like you have to research everything. Occasionally, I look something up with parenting, but most of the time we just go with the flow of what we feel in our gut our child needs, and its usually always right. For example. sleep training. I have done some research on the issue and there’s so much opposing research. I say, forget it all, I’m going to do what is best for my child and my family, rather than sorting out all the opposing viewpoints and pros and cons etc. Waste of time.

    Imagine what life would be like without Google. Mom didn’t have Google until you were in middle school. Try to reduce your dependency on tons and tons of research, and trust the Bible first, then your feelings. As you know, you can spend your life researching and trying different things only to fail and then wonder what to try next. You’ll know internally whats right for your family and your kids.

    So for the how questions, start with little things. You know you can’t change how you’ve operated in the past, so there’s no need for regret or anger at who you are. You are an image-bearer of Christ. Your body and spirit are God’s. You’ve had to shed the checklist style Christianity for an authentic relationship with God. You can also shed the checklist style structured mindset you’ve developed for years, but it takes lots of time. You don’t have to and won’t have instant results, any more than I could instantly lose 100 lbs (though I want to).

    Put your brain on pause. Accept who you are and accept the past. You’ve got this – God’s got your back – your sins have been forgiven. Accept imperfection. Now going forward, you realize how you think about life and how you see the world. Where you know that you’re obsessing, stop, pause, and channel the negative energy and emotion into something you can do that will change your thinking about whatever you’re obsessing about. You’ll be fine just don’t be too hard on yourself (which leads to more obsession – vicious cycle!) We’re all works in progress.

    • Wow…LITTLE brother, this comment is SO awesome. I am going to have to read over and over and over it. No wait, that would be obsession.

      But seriously. Thank you for giving me some much-needed perspective (and love) from someone who really knows me. LOVE YOU!

    • Also, you are the second person today to mention OCD to me. That’s something that has never even occurred to me. When I think OCD I think Monk, obsessing about germs, neat freak, etc. None of those things I am. But there is definitely an obsessive-compulsive component to the things I deal with in this regard.

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