Maybe you are like me. Sensitive to hard truths that hit you like a gut punch. I want to be strong but my desire to learn and grow has wired me to seek feedback in all circumstances. And while feedback on who I am tends to be mostly positive, one slight reminder of something I thought I was over and the truth hits hard. When that happens I go through an intense review of my actions and up the intentionality meter to be more aware and more focused. In the process I shrug off the feelings that make me uncomfortable. Those are the feelings that have boiled over the last few months.
Over a year ago I left my office unaware that I would be working from home indefinitely. At the time it seemed surreal. Almost like a scene from a movie that unfolded with a dark uncertainty that kept everyone unsure of what would happen next. Once sickness and death took over it was hard to see the future through clear lenses. How would we react to all that was happening? How could we live freely when asked to be in complete isolation? What psychological impacts would this reality have on children and their families? The ability to answer these questions got even harder when the topic of public health became a political argument, as if public health should be a partisan debate. This was our reality too; with friends and family.
These challenging times became real when the irony of a positive test meant bad news. This test reminded that not everything that is meant for good is indeed… good. As I dig deeper into my personality traits I have recognized that maybe my intentionality has grown from two types of roots.
The positive root
How could I be the best husband, father, son, brother, friend, co-worker, neighbor, leader, and (insert role here) if not by intentionally looking at the ways I act and react, think and process, discern and decide? I am not perfect – none of us are – but the opportunity to improve and be everything I was meant to be; the best version of myself is worth the effort. If anything, my family deserves it. My work benefits from it. It is all well intended and I’ve grown as a man thanks to this “always on” approach. But inside… it still hurts when the opportunity to grow is so obvious. Mainly because it is in these moments that I recognize I have very little control over the current reality and the future.
The negative root
What’s not to like about improving oneself? In many ways when I explain my intentional approach to life it is received with honorable mentions and recognized by the people around me. But this is what I learned from this pandemic, for as much as I tried to control the outcome I still ended up needing to quarantine. Could this focus on intentionality actually be a camouflage for my need to control the outcome? If so what was I controlling the outcome from? This recent revelation led me to seek help.
The value of mental health
The thoughts that eco through our minds reverberate through one’s soul and sink deep into the heart. My inability to recognize the fears that have haunted me have led me to a place of deep sorrow. A place where thankfully God has met me daily, and with mercy and grace. I am blessed to have a wife and family that have been supportive through this journey. And while it is hard to be in this place, I know I will be better for it. A type of intentionality that is worth pursuing.