I’ve been up and down the past several weeks, especially lately. I recognize the need for grace, simply to permit myself to feel differently (off) some days more than others. At first COVID-19 was fascinating, surreal, and obviously an unfortunate news story. Time seems to move at a different speed these days. I feel like it’s been a year since so many were dismissing this as “just another flu.”

This blog started out as a way for me to chronicle my journey of SURRENDERING, verses trying to control. Perhaps through this voyage of learning and adapting to a heart of SURRENDER, I can help others do the same. My mind runs rampant at times, so maybe this blog is simply my version of an organized notepad. Frankly, at this point I really don’t know. Regardless, COVID-19 rearing its ugly head as I approach a year of this blog has certainly brought an interesting perspective to the word SURRENDER. I mean, in some ways we don’t have a choice, we should SURRENDER to “stay at home orders.” We are forced to SURRENDER our normal way of living to this pandemic, at least for now. Yet when I dive deeper into my underlying state of emotion, these waters certainly become a bit choppy.

The flare ups of ego, which have subsided some, were certainly prevalent at the initial reports of COVID-19. The dismissive tones and lack of belief that a virus could actually halt our daily routine were touted by so many talking heads. Boy, have egos subsided as the pandemic jolted life for all of us! Perhaps letting go is a lesson to be learned here, at least of the egotistic responses. Perhaps learning a little humility that we aren’t actually “in control” will be stamped on our minds for a while (although we humans tend to have short memories when convenient).

The internal stress created from feeling out of control must be hindering so many. Even myself, who attempts daily to LET GOD take my wheel, is struggling with internal stress (my choppy waters). My doctor once educated me on the “hypochondria zone” located in our gut, which to my surprise has been flaring up lately. So much of this “stress” is a subtle undercurrent, and I cannot fully grasp what’s causing it. Perhaps a fear based response to the virus? Perhaps too much negative energy from news platforms? I’ve certainly struggled with OCD tendencies my entire life (one reason for starting MY SURRENDERER PROJECT), yet I cannot quite pinpoint why my anxiety is consistently higher than before. I am aware enough now that I can actually feel it though, and it’s somewhat disturbing.

I was texting back and forth with a friend recently about the virus and our differing responses. I admired that he’s been taking the time to welcome relaxation and intentional quality time with loved ones, while not focusing on performance. I wrote a piece last week about how much performers must be struggling, while admitting the “old me” would be panicking right now without the ability to go “conquer the world” (sales, achievements, accolades, etc.). I still wake up each day now with a massive to-do list, which admittedly is mostly self-induced. I have an App called STREAKS, which is awesome for daily tracking (unsolicited plug). STREAKS has 12 commitments that I’m currently tracking (daily, weekly, etc.). I actually woke up yesterday a little annoyed, as I muttered to myself “UGH- I have to do all of my STREAKS again today.” My friend seems like he’s finally able to take his “performance hat” off, yet have I truly been able to? While I do my best not to “perform” for others anymore, I still feel like I might look back at this shutdown with some regret for not pausing and taking more of a forced breather.

I’m always open to learning a lesson, even while navigating storms never seen before, like this pandemic. I don’t have the answer to why I feel like I do. This same friend said something that stuck with me: “I’m pretty sure they’re not handing out COVID-19 trophies for the most productive people.” He probably knows me well enough to realize I’m not a fan of “chasing trophies,” given my lessons learned from years of doing so without correlating fulfillment. His statement certainly has me thinking though.

I believe our gut tells us when something is off. My gut has been wreaking havoc lately and I believe it’s signaling that I’m out of alignment somehow. I’m not sure what I’m supposed to be doing throughout this shutdown, but I’m pretty sure my lofty daily commitments aren’t helping at the current level. I wonder if others struggle with overcommitting, or feeling guilty that they cannot do more than currently permitted throughout COVID-19? Have I simply replaced my normal tasks with others in an attempt to create busyness? Maybe these choppy waters of my gut are in relation to current times, OR perhaps something deeper is at play? Maybe I’m missing something? What if I’m not pursuing life as I should be right now on a grander scale?

📷 by @tyler_kirk

I suppose reflecting on each STREAK as to whether it creates JOY or better health mentally, physically or spiritually is step one. Does each item on my “daily task list” meet the criteria of creating positivity in my life? Does each task help transform my mind as in Romans 12:2? I’ve been extremely productive the past few weeks, despite much of my productivity measures being different than pre-pandemic days. I ask again- why do I feel like I’m swimming in such choppy waters, both mentally and spiritually, when I believe I could use this time for calming my seas overall? Maybe I’m looking at this entire dilemma through the wrong lens? After all, Jesus calmed the seas:

Jesus responded, “Why are you afraid, you have so little faith.” Then he got up and rebuked the wind and waves, and suddenly there was great calm. The disciples were amazed. “Who is this man?” they asked. “Even the winds and waves obey him.” Matthew 8:26-27

I believe only Jesus can truly heal a broken heart. Jesus is the only one who can rebuke the wind and waves. Why then, would this gut feeling, my “choppy waters,” be any different? Maybe my gut is indicating more healing needs done, or that something needs to change for the better. I do believe the gut is a clear indicator when we are out of alignment spiritually. When we are missing our mark, swaying from our divine purpose, the gut will flare. This underlying current within me- maybe it’s reflective of a spiritual misalignment. The more I read, pray and ponder, the more I believe this is a time to dive deeper into my purpose. I believe the phrase “follow your gut” carries great weight in life. I’m coming up on 365 days of My Surrender Project. Maybe my spirit is calling out for more! More movement toward TRUE fulfillment! More movement toward my Divine Calling! More movement toward PEACE! More chasing JOY! More movement toward being the Good Kind of Crazy! More movement toward God!

I guess I leave this post pondering this question: what’s driving these choppy waters of underlying anxiety? My overwhelming self-created “to-do list,” or something bigger at play? I pray for answers. I SURRENDER this question and ALL THINGS to God.

Until next time. Many prayers for us all. Stay healthy and safe. Much love. -Dustin

Follow me on IG: @surrender_project

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