Yesterday, we transitioned Mae to cloth diapers.
That was something we had talked and talked about doing before we ever had her. We had decided to go for it, but as we researched it, we found it to be almost prohibitively expensive to start. Over $350 for 15 diapers or something. Of course, these things tend to eventually pay for themselves, but we just didn’t have the cash to drop at the time. So we did disposables just like most other people for the first nearly 5 months of her life. Then one day, I hit craigslist for something (probably daycare toys) and came across a deal for 20 diapers for $100 (which actually ended up as 22 diapers).
We decided to finally go for it. It seemed inexpensive enough to give it a real good try. So we drove to their house, picked up the diapers, asked 20 questions, came home, and then the diapers sat. First on the entrance table, then in a box, then into bags, back into a box – for probably two weeks. First we didn’t know what accessories we were going to get, then we didn’t have the right detergent, then we didn’t have the waterproof bag to put them in and excuses on and on and on.
Finally, we got our ducks in a row and yet, I still hesitated to start. Why?
We had everything we needed. We were going to be home all weekend. Heck, I’m home ALL. THE. TIME.
When I sat down to think about it, it occurred to me that I was actually feeling anxiety about starting these. Anxiety? About cloth diapers?
So in one of my free moments that I selfishly took during the weekend, I thought about it. What is the big hairy deal? What I discovered is that it wasn’t necessarily the cloth diapers and the extra work involved and all that – it was simply starting something new. It turns out, I’m fairly a creature of habit. I like to do what is familiar to me and I have a hard time incorporating something entirely new into what I do. The reason why this causes me anxiety is because I don’t know what to expect. I don’t know how it will end.
What if I’m terrible? What if I don’t get it? What if it doesn’t work?
I think back and I remember having anxiety about getting pregnant. I had anxiety about giving birth. I had anxiety about starting cloth diapers. All of these were completely foreign events to me.
Some people LOVE adventure, they LOVE new things, they can’t WAIT to try them. I am not one of those people. While on the surface, that may not seem like a terrible thing, it can be a barrier to growth. If I never move outside of my comfort zone, I never grow, develop, learn, or mature. I stay exactly where I am and who I am.
Which, to me, is unacceptable.
We aren’t meant to be stagnant, to stay in the same place doing the same things for our entire lives. We are meant to grow and develop, to become the best person (or representative of Christ) that we can be. Admittedly, it’s much easier to stay where I’m comfortable. I know what to expect, I know what is expected of me, and I have a good idea of how things will turn out. It’s much more difficult to jump into a foreign situation and just see where it takes me.
It’s the same thing in our spiritual lives, too, isn’t it? We like to keep doing what have (or haven’t) been doing, the same time, the same way, and yet we wonder why we aren’t growing. Why does God seem distant? Why am I not hearing his voice anymore? Am I even making a difference? Does anyone notice that I’m a Christian or do I need to get a face tattoo to say it for me?
At church, our 2014 initiative is to read and live the Bible more than we’ve ever done before. I have to admit, so far, I’m not doing so great. I’m busy, I forget, I make excuses. The truth is, if I want to grow, I have to make it a priority. Like I said in my last post, I have to be intentional about doing it. I’ve been more intentional about reading my daily Bible verse emails before I check facebook or other emails. I still have work to do as far as consistently doing the daily readings, but I’m getting there.
I need to lower my expectations for myself. I always expect myself to do things perfectly the first time, as though there is no learning curve. That is probably also a likely source of the aforementioned anxiety. So what do I do? I think I can boil it down to a few steps.
1. Intentionally try new things.
2. Learn from my mistakes instead of beating myself up.
3. Apply the lessons.
4. Relax and keep on trying new things, like grabbing my feet.
What are your seemingly strange sources of anxiety? How do you cope with them?