The Body Never Lies

The body can’t lie. We can avoid, deny. Deal with, list out. Arrange, re-arrange, anticipate. Organize, re-organize. Adjust or face a stress-induced situation head on, but the body never lies.

The body cracks. Scales. Itches. Bleeds. Tangles. Constricts.

Metaphysical representations of the psychological within. Even when it feels dealt well, not just dealt with.

Plate tectonics of scalp shift and lift. Headaches squeeze eyeballs against brain. Shoulders touch earlobe.

Reminders that while I am Monica Gellering the hell out of whatever life obligations require me to manage, to check back in with myself.

Ask my husband. Slow down is not my auto-pilot. Obedience is not my strong suit.

I attribute this need to be a part of everything to my little-sister-syndrome. I peg this distrust of authority in part to the code of conduct characteristic of my no-man’s-land generation straddling the X/Y gap, in part to my family, but mostly to my general stubbornness.

Like, intense stubbornness.

It should not come as a surprise, then, that when I heard the bell-whistle of a voice in my gut called God-Wisdom to quit the job I love doing, it took a struggle to obey.

Excitement in change. Power in subduing chaos to order. I like these things.

Work. I actually like working, even though (or maybe because) I don’t know how to do it any other way than putting my very heart and soul into the work. Beating, bleeding out of my chest into the work.

The line between product and performance is easily blurred for those of us who enjoy working, especially in roles like church staff or teacher (examples of my actual adulting life) where the purpose of the work feels important. It requires a hyper vigilance and self-awareness to recognize when I am resting in my worthiness simply by existing as a child of God and when I’m tap dancing for that worthiness by presenting a product of my effort to others.

My body is telling me to rest. My soul is telling me to rest.

Do you know what mental work it is to rest?

The moment I slow down, the shame spiral, like vertigo sets in. Disorients and spins. The not-enoughs and would-coulda-shoulda lies abound and I’m doing the mental work required before true rest can ensue.

All to say, I am walking away from my part time gig in ministry. I am thrilled about the space this is creating for our family to reclaim a nothing-on-the-calendar day during the week, about the possibilities of more creative energy, of attending or not attending a church service again with my spouse, and the freedom to say yes to more fostering gigs. Ministry is the full-time gig of our lives anyway right, not a position on church staff.

It’s work to exit a job, work to claw out of a shame spiral, work to not allow the projected perceptions of others about why I’m leaving matter, work to not become scared about how the last time full time stay at home mommydom drove me a little bit batty, and work to not fill up my dance card of commitments before I’ve actually left this one.

I feel so good and true and confident in the decision that an obedience to not work right now is the actual heart and soul work I am required to pursue. I am grateful. I am joyful. Even so, my body is the truth-teller highlighting the inner tension. It struggles on the outside while I struggle with obedience on the inside. The body can do many things for us, but it can never lie.


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