05.13.14

my best moments

Posted in Uncategorized at 9:53 pm by Administrator

it seems obvious that every week has its best moments and its worst moments. more specifically, i feel like i can identify when i’m at my best and my worst during every day of every week of every year. and that’s because i have a very distinct sense of what i like and don’t like about my personality and behaviors.

i feel that i’m at my best when i’m energetic, focused, and driven. i’m at my best when i’m involved in something competitive that i win.

and i feel that i’m at my worst when i’m angry, depressed, or lost. i hate being reactive; and i feel like i’m at my absolute rock-bottom when i’m helpless and dependent on others.

the funny thing is that i can recognize, when i look back at my life, that i’ve made my very worst mistakes when i was at “my best”. and conversely, i’ve come to some of the most important realizations of my life when i felt that i was at my lowest. there’s an inverse correlation between when i feel i’m at my best and when God works through me most strongly. this isn’t to suggest that i ought to feel down and out all the time; but i think it does show that “success” is so often a non-intuitive thing.

i often see my life in two dimensions: as a cycle of reactions to challenges and hardships. my first stage of reaction is always confrontation and anger; my second stage of reaction is withdrawal and rumination; and my last stage is synthesis and reengagement. perhaps these stages are universal, and perhaps we only differ in how easily this cycle is triggered and how long we dwell in each particular phase of the cycle. my first stage (confrontation and anger) is brief but very intense, while my second stage of stress response is very prolonged. i ruminate a lot on my struggles and on the struggles of others. invariably, this is when i blog the most—and when i most avoid the company of others.

i think that i’m at my best when i’m in the engagement stage of my stress cycle, and i profoundly dislike going through the rumination/withdrawal stage of my cycle. i dislike that stage so much that i do whatever i have to in order to minimize stress. but i’ve learned that my stress response cycle is not only unavoidable but also necessary—every stage of it. and nothing i experience within that cycle is evil or reprehensible in and of itself. what determines the value of the cycle is how and where i emerge, in synthesis. it is the change in my perspective as a result of the cycle which proves the value of what i experienced.

God urges me to see my life not in two dimensions—as a revolution between pleasant and unpleasant states of mind—but rather in three dimensions. there is a centrifugal force after all that is driving the stress response cycle; and that is the reason why i do not disengage from my stressors as a result of repeated stresses. in fact, going through the stress cycle time and time again seems to draw me closer to the thing which triggers my stress—closer in understanding, closer in relationship. the morality of my process lies in this trajectory: my tendency to veer toward the thing that i struggle with and even fight against. and in life, the main thing that i veer toward is community, just as the thing i struggle with most is people.

it is sometimes hard for me to admit how much i dislike people. God doesn’t ask me to pretend that i don’t often despise them for the ways in which they hurt me and one another. He presses me through my stress cycle, and the more i twist and turn upon that axis, the closer i get to really understanding the thing beneath. love is not affection. love is the nearing, the approaching, the inexorable gravity. i orbit the thing that consumes me, and i am changed through every turn of my cycle, out of love. i call it completion; God calls it reconciliation. however you see it, it is a journey, a neverending motion, and though it hurts, it is me—at my best

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