I was hesitant to post today, but out of the misery of yesterday, I have had some victory, so I should probably share that. Here's the story:
I was, as mentioned yesterday, feeling guitly about taking the day off at the last minute from work on Monday. Then, yesterday afternoon I got pulled into my boss' office for a discussion. Basically he had a note put in my personnel file about taking days off without proper notice. Not disciplinary action, just a note that he and I had had a "discussion." If it should happen again, it is documentation that we have already had a "talk" and it will at that time progress to more of a disciplinary status. If I had called in sick, which would have been a lie since I wasn't, that would have been OK. But, because I took a vacation day instead of a sick day, I got a verbal warning about a lack of proper notice. I fully accept responsibility for the fact that out of my rebellion in refusing to pray about whether I should take the day off or not, I took a day off of work that I shouldn't have. I did it, and I fully deserve the consequences to my behavior. I should have listened to that still small voice telling me to buck up and go to work anyway. I was already feeling guilty, and what was a day already starting out bad, continued to get worse as I felt even guiltier. I basically had a "black cloud" of crud following me around all day yesterday. So, what did I do? I ate more than I was planning at our Christmas potluck here at work. And then, feeling guilty about that, went home and ran three miles (which normally would be a big victory that I am up to that far of a distance) and skipped dinner in an effort to stem the tide of food going in the mouth. Not a good idea to skip dinner, since I went from my run straight to a four and a half hour choir practice.
As I lay in bed last night digesting my day, feeling like a failure, beating myself up for all the ways I messed up, recognizing how I was striving my brains out out of my own strength, but at the same time just wanting to give up. I had a revelation. I realized "I am right in the middle of one of my thought patterns! I have the ability to stop this right now!" You see, my day yesterday was a classic case of what my typical sin cycle looks like: believing I am a failure, hating myself for not being perfect, beating myself up over the way(s) I messed up, and feeling ashamed of myself over my mistake(s), doing things to make myself feel better about myself, when doesn't work so turning to things to comfort myself (ususally food, sleep, or entertainment), and then finally giving up in defeat.
Literally, I was at the point of defeat: "I should just look for a new job anyway. Maybe I won't go to choir practice tonight, no one will miss me. I should just eat what I want, one day won't hurt." When I realized where my thoughts were, I was able to recognize this: "it isn't like me to want to give up." Because it really isn't. When I get to the point of wanting to quit, it is like a little white flag waving in the air. Subtle, but it works. And so, last night I rose up in victory of the truth and woke up this morning feeling better and having a much more joyful and victorious day today.
Now, if I could just recognize this pattern BEFORE I get to the end of that cycle.....I am seeing more and more every day how deeply I believe I am a failure, and how that affects my life. But I am in great need of stopping those thought patterns that develop so quickly before they start to spiral. So, I rejoice in victory, but, there is still much work to be done.