Reaching Limits, Finding Space

If you miss open space  in the city, like I do, the one thing you can always do is: look up.

Here is a wide expanse, here is room for you, here is a glimpse of freedom…

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I think Lent is doing its work in me, an ‘internal spring-clean’ that creates space for new things. For God to make new things, for me to be open to receive them. I’ve given a lot of possessions away in the last weeks, and I’ve started sitting in silence for 20 minutes at the beginning of the day. Most of the time it feels like my mind just seizes that opportunity to turn up the volume (…) but there’s work being done in me still. 

The most recent new flow is around work, in particular around working in an environment that isn’t just stressful in general and perhaps by default, but that also includes a very difficult relationship with my supervisor. I’ve been dealing with this for a very long time, because the place is important to me, and I don’t wish to leave just because of one difficult relationship. Things seemed much better for a while, but now we’ve apparently gone back in time again. And my response to this ongoing conflict is often that I try to analyse my way through it, I try to understand what the dynamics are, what causes them and if there is anything I can do to change things. I lose myself in these details, and I find it very difficult to switch off from thinking about it.

Today, I felt I took a step back and saw this relationship for what it is to me: toxic.

Whatever the causes, whatever the details, this relationship is poison to my self-esteem, my confidence, and my health. It causes my anxiety levels to rise, it causes a lot of physical tension, it grinds down my resilience in every way, and it stops me from trusting my own judgment and my own worth. I end up with the “is it my fault” mindset, questioning myself when the actual issue is often not mine. I am so busy trying to emotionally process the effects of the very often unhelpful and at times unprofessional behaviour from my supervisor, that I lose time and energy over it that I’d much rather spend doing other (better) things. 

I am not happy where I am. I don’t thrive where I am. I deserve better. 

It’s time I had some compassion with myself. It’s time I trusted myself again. 

No matter how much this place means to me, if it now means more than my health and happiness, something needs to change.

My work life doesn’t have to be like this. I’ve had all the persistence and stickability and goodwill anyone (including myself) can expect of me. It’s enough now. I can’t do more than do my best. And I’ve given this every chance I could, I made every effort I could. I don’t have to break myself in pieces while trying to fix a situation I can’t fix. I can’t change this person. I can only change what I do.

So it’s time to look up now.

My next move might not be perfect, but there is no ‘one right thing’ I can do now. I don’t need a one-in-a-million solution. I just need a good new place to move on to.

To leave can be a strong decision. It’s not failure or weakness to go when going means showing myself new care and respect.

And God will go with me. I’m not alone, even when I leave what has been my home for years.

It’s time to see that there is more than this. There is space above and around me, a wide expanse, room for me, a glimpse of freedom…

O God of comfort and challenge,

whose presence is ever reliable

and ever unexpected:

grant us to grieve over what is ending

without falling into despair,

and to enter on our new vocation

without forgetting your voice,

through Jesus Christ, Amen.

(Janet Morley)

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