Just like I felt I needed to tell you to love yourself, it is coming to me to remind you that it is just fine –really!– if you are not ready for something.
For some reason we prize readiness, probably because it feels satisfying when we are, or because other people act like we should be ready when we aren’t. But not being ready is completely ok, and needs to be respected, even honored.
Maybe there are some things other people are ready for that we never will be. One of your fellow blog readers, who I have the pleasure of knowing locally, just jumped out of a plane with her son. She was ready for that, indeed she amazingly felt “completely at peace” dropping in free fall at the incredible rate of two miles in one minute. When I was a structural engineer back a few decades, I was ready to hang from scaffolds 40 stories up on the outside of New York City sky scrappers. However, I will never be ready to jump from a plane, and I’m just fine with that.
Sometimes what we need to do is just different than what other people need to do. Remember, there is absolutely no judgement in that, simply individuality. You do you; they do them.
I feel we are given the readiness we need, and maybe not the readiness we don’t need, for if we were ready for everything, we might get confused and not know what to do next.
Our readiness quotient is a metric by which we can check and see if we are living congruently with our instincts. Not being ready may easily indicate that it is either the wrong idea or the wrong time, for you. Respect your individual indicators, and don’t let what feels authentic to others, pressure you into feeling like you should feel like doing what is not yours to do. Similarly, don’t let dogma or preconceptions dictate to you either.
This doesn’t mean we shouldn’t step out of our comfort zones. Otherwise we’d never try something new. After all, I’m fond of saying, “Go out on a limb– that’s where the fruit is.” My mother used to preach, “Nothing ventured, nothing gained.”
I wasn’t ready for this blog when I started it, which is pretty clear from my earliest posts, but I took baby steps. Now, 4,500 posts later, we are all getting something out of it. I did it anyway, because I was prodded from on high, and finally just needed to be obedient. The point is, not being ready is fine, and sometimes that signals a need to just start slow, do only what you can, and be easy on yourself. Get more information. Take only the next step, not focusing far into the intimidating future. You don’t need to do it all today, just take one little step forward.
In our home, we’ve created a saying, “getting ready to get ready.” Sometimes–often!– it is a process. As an onlooker, some step, project, or job looks straight forward to us, but the other one is dragging their feet. Maybe they need help, even though you don’t think they should. At least be gracious. Either help them, or give them a wide berth of grace while they sort out their internal struggle, which you may not comprehend.
Sometimes I want my husband to mow the grass before he’s ready, and since I don’t want to do it, I try to be patient instead. I’ve been getting ready to get ready to get ready to get ready to clean my office, which is an attic space with tons of potential and too many boxes that need sorting. My husband probably thinks it will never happen, since I always find something I’d rather do. In one way, I feel ready, but the weather is too fine and I’ll go out hiking, the phone rings and I need to work, or I respond to a host of other demands. I’ve stopped “shoulding all over myself” about it, but simultaneously, I really do want it accomplished, so I keep getting ready to get ready, and eventually I believe it will happen, either in a huge spurt with help or the baby stepping approach.
So what we actually are ready for is what determines our lives and will keep our focus. I’m ready to walk, or paint, or cook, or pray, or read, or blog. I’m ready to try something new, explore somewhere I’ve never been, be faithful and loyal, educate myself, amplify good, make new friends, appreciate beauty, help those in need, or to lend my kids moral support. Notice what you are ready for. That will be who you most intimately are and will determine what you actually do.
Notice what your loved ones are ready for too, and nurture those things instead of urging what might be outside their sphere, for them, at least for now. I’ve noticed that if you don’t give others grief over what they are not ready for, the circle of what they are ready for gently, almost imperceptibly, but definitely, expands. And everyone is happier, feels more understood, and they only have to get over themselves instead of you as well. Nothing taught me this better than homeschooling three very different children.
And if you are just not ready? No worries! There are as many ways of living and being fulfilled as there are people. Give yourself the same patience and forbearance you’d offer those others.
If something is a right idea for you, and you are battling resistance, read this blog of mine to help. If something is a right idea, and just not yet the right time, you’ll know when the time becomes right, because suddenly you’ll be ready and any perceived barrier will have disappeared. You’ll find the way will become open before you. And frankly, you’ll know too, when you do not feel ready, but need to do it anyway, because you’ll be getting a not-so-subtle divine nudge. (God being all-power will prevail.) Just make sure you don’t let anyone else push you past what you feel ready for!