Choice: Love and Duty.

(listen to the audio version of this post here)

"So, it's going to be difficult, but we're going to work at-"

"But I used to be able to do this! I could do this without thinking!"

"Look, honey, as we get older, our bodies change-"

"I don't like being old!"

"I know, honey. Me either, but as we get older-" "I don't like this new me!"

That was me whining in yet another ridiculous conversation with my husband. I still haven't grown up...much.

It's become kind of my favourite thing, devolving into a neurotic mess, whining to my husband. I refused ever to be that person for twenty years.

I considered it weak, cowardly, lowly, ridicule-worthy, many et ceteras.

"I made this mess, I'll clean it up." I would think to myself.

"It's my fault, I'll have to find a way to fix it." I'd say.

"This may not be my doing, but I'm going to make sure I solve this." I'd scheme.

"It doesn't matter if this wasn't my fault, it's in my hands. I need to fix this." I'd wither.

This is currently my life theme, and I've been shown how damaging it is to people with high-functioning anxiety. Me.

We apply this mindset to everything when we shouldn't. We've been conditioned to believe that the mentality by which the business/corporate world operates its warmthless dronage is how we are supposed to act in every facet of our lives. Our jobs have become the measuring stick for everything.

What we should learn is: We work to live. We don't live to work.

I carried over my high-functioning anxiety into a position I felt called to spiritually. However, at the end of two months, I devolved into a puddle of physically manifested neurosis: my skin crawled whenever I thought of people "seeing" me in this new role. I swear I felt eyes on me.

I told God "mistakes were made!" (hah!) "I'm sorry I failed You, but I quit!"

I spent over two hours telling Him that I knew my life was going to get worse because I chose to quit. I told Him I wish I could find a reason to stay, but I wasn't strong enough emotionally to handle it and so I was leaving! I am a horrible person. I'm a failure. Many et ceteras.

I repeated myself several times. He said nothing. I knew He was mad.

The next morning was my birthday and it was horrible. I was sick to every part of my body. I had to ask my husband to come home. We chatted, we talked, I whined, he spoke wisdom. He surprised me by telling me that he agreed with me 100%!

He felt I needed to just spend time going to church, getting closer to God, not serving on any teams until I've healed (it's been a year long story). He said "Some seasons are short, and I have no doubt that you made a big difference in someone's life because you were there for that amount of time." I couldn't believe it. He gave me a reason not to stay in that position.

Last night, I dreamed I was part of a marriage choosing ritual where I got to know two men and each were going to make a choice between me and another woman. One of the men I didn't really like: slim, affluent, correct, rather sober and subdued in personality. The other, I liked immensely. The other was portly, approachable, good natured, wealthy, and a snappy dresser (my favourite). I preferred him. Everyone I knew preferred him. His family and mine enjoyed ourselves in a pool, just having a good time.

The one I didn't care for, approached me while the one I liked had stepped away for a moment. He handed me the symbolic ring that told me I was his choice. I was upset, but I dutifully accepted it and put it on my pinky finger on my left hand. I was sad. Now that he he had chosen me first, I had to choose him, too.

Then, the one I preferred came back and gave me his symbolic ring. I was happy, but upset. I put his ring on my commitment finger on my left hand. I was very sad. I couldn't choose him because I had a duty to the one who chose me first.

Because we and our families were so close, we all went back into the house to retire for the day and discuss what happened. I chatted with his sister who said her brother said that no matter who he chose, he wanted to spoil, to buy her everything she wanted. He wanted to be there for her all the time. In turn, I imagined being with him all the time and thought about every moment we would spend together. I knew I was up for anything he wanted to do. I would do anything with him. I realized at that moment that I not only preferred him, I loved him. I knew it was stereotypical to think I'd rather marry him because of what he could do for me, but it didn't matter. He wasn't obviously the best choice. He didn't look all that attractive, but he was so huggable. I'd welcome all manner of intimacy with him, because I loved him.

I decided then and there "duty be damned". I loved him, not the other. I would be morose and forlorn forever with the one I was duty bound to, so I would choose love.

It felt so good to make that choice.

When I woke up, I thought about it and thought about it and thought about it and thought about it. I was forced to feel every feeling. I found myself avoiding the feeling of my dream joy of choosing love. Because it isn't natural for me to choose an emotion over cold, hard facts and reality. I stomp down feelings. Feelings only cause problems, right? Emotions lead to bad decisions, right?

I couldn't help it though.

I felt joyful over my choice in my dream. I chose love over duty. Then I knew. God was letting me know that it was okay for me to wait to love to be in that calling. He wasn't mad at me for quitting.

It was okay.

I was ok.

He knows I'll get there, and when I do, when I love the choice, I'll be so happy I'm there.

Good morrow.

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