Last weekend, I was in a horrible place. Old demons and old stories were playing havoc with my mind. I was worried about money, craving the attention of people who seemed to be ignoring me, telling myself I was failing in the self-employment journey, wishing my writing had more influence, and just all-in-all not having too many pleasant thoughts wandering around the ol’ grey matter. On top of that, I was having horrible, ugly, death-filled dreams that clung to me long after I’d woken.
In the most vivid of the dreams, I was gradually killing myself. Each day I was consuming small amounts of some substance that I knew would eventually kill me, but I was never quite sure which day it would work. Eventually my roommate, a dark figure dressed in dominatrix attire, decided to speed up the process and rammed a truck into a pillar supporting the balcony I was standing on. I plunged to a bloody death. I woke from the dream not sure whether the sobbing was real or part of the dream.
Trying to shake the ugliness, I went for a walk to the bookstore. Once again, the demons whispered in my ear “You’re not good enough. You’re failing.”
Halfway to the bookstore, the voice of Sophia God finally broke through the din. “It’s not about you,” She said. “Stop taking everything so personally and just let me do the work I need to do through you.” The words shook me out of that self-absorbed place.
On Tuesday, I woke up early, excited about launching my e-book. Even before I launched the post about it, there were several subscribers who’d shown up after I’d posted the sign-up box the night before. After the post was launched, a steady stream of people started showing and downloading the book. Not just a stream – a rushing river. Before long, I had to increase my email database subscription beyond the 250 I got with the free trial period.
It was truly remarkable how many people showed up hungry for what the e-book has to offer. Not only were they downloading it, but they were tweeting about it, blogging about it, and sending me the most tender and beautiful e-mails. The response that touched me the most was from Qualla, a young woman I’d met at ALIA (and whose 19th birthday I helped celebrate on a dock after kayaking in the Atlantic Ocean), who wrote her very first blog post in response to the e-book. (It’s beautiful – you really should read it.) I was ecstatic. Something I’d created was meaningful to people!
But then the voice came again. “It’s not about you,” She said. “Stop taking everything so personally and just let me do the work I need to do through you.”
Right. It’s not about me. Just like I can’t get too personally attached to the negative stuff, I can’t get too personally attached to the positive stuff. This is the work God wants to do through me and I just have to be a willing conduit. Letting my head get too bloated won’t serve the work.
In the end, it’s about surrender. It’s what the dream was about – surrendering the old self that doesn’t serve me anymore. Surrendering to the Mystery. The Divine. The God of my understanding.
I have to keep surrendering day after day – whether I’m flying high or dragging my feet. It’s not about me.
Just like the butterfly, I can’t grow wings without the surrender, without the chrysalis. I can’t soar to the heights unless I’m willing to let go of the ground.