Contribution, its meaning and its importance looks different for most of us. For me, the thought of contribution can quickly feel like I’m not doing enough, there’s not enough to go around and obviously, I AM NOT ENOUGH.
This thinking takes one of two paths in my head. I veer hard right and head up hill where I find myself out of breath and frustrated by the altitude of comparison, long lists of should haves and a rocky, muddy path with a view of my dreams too far away. This path feels easy to rush down. I already have a list of ‘what ifs’ fueling this hike, with a big helping of I’ve probably already missed my chance, to snack on along the way. I can’t see the physical toll this will take on my body and mind because of the sun flare reflecting off of the do more/she sacrifices more/the world benefits more from them. There is no view of what’s ahead or behind. I’m only able to focus on not tripping on what could be. I worry about slipping slowing down the dark side of the hill. Of course I will hurt myself and others, why did I think I had anything to chip in? Suddenly this hike feels undoable. What exactly was I trying to accomplish? It’s time to head back, carefully. Goodness, I feel too fragile to be out and about at all. I am alone. Deep breath.
What were we talking about?
Oh, yes, contribution.
The other path the thought of contribution leads me down is just out of sight around the bend. It feels like a place I’ve already been, so it’s not necessarily the most intriguing but my feet feel steady and my eyes clear. The path is lit with confidence and the reassurance that it will remain the same whether I choose to walk it or not. I contribute here because of who I am not, because of how I walk/run/trip on it. On this path, I find my kids waiting with water and inside jokes. I am there momma simply because I am. I see a pal who wants to walk with me so I can show them what I’ve seen in them and what I’ve discovered along the way. I contribute simply by being present. Hey, there is that big old massive tree that I cheered for my husband to climb! I couldn’t hoist him up no matter how hard I tried. Stepping aside and reminding him what is true made his climb much faster. Truth, is an incredible contributor. Suddenly this hike feels expansive. What exactly was I trying to accomplish? Nothing. The contribution was already made when I was created. Goodness, I feel whole.
The second path leads to quite the view. From here the sun illuminates other people’s contributions and I feel inspired. There are shadows that soften the appearance of my failures and makes them look a lot like lessons slathered in grace. Hope rises like steam off of the stream flowing next to me created by that storm at home the other day. It reassures me that the result of something hard brings relief and calm. I thought my feet would ache by now. I look down to see my shoes gone and my toes nestled in lush grass fed by the nourishment of the truth that all my efforts to contribute could never increase my worth. Here is where rest finds me simply because I chose to show up. Now, the pressure is gone. The performance piece of contributing takes a back seat to the magic that happens when I show up, whole. When I choose to walk past comparison, uncertainty, and elbowing for my worth and step on the path that is waiting for exactly me to walk it, I am free to contribute exactly what the world needs from me. This isn’t without effort but within the effort is my whole hearted contribution.
Have you found yourself questioning your worth? You are distracted by “them” spewing their contributions everywhere. You’re confident you’ve missed out on your opportunity. Your brain is cloudy and your body is weighed down with the busyness of performance. How can you get your feet/head/body on the path that makes you feel whole? My advice, change what you are looking at. Take a pause. Take a breathe and look up. Look down. Look around. The two paths are the SAME you silly goose. You are exactly where you are supposed to be. You contribute because you are you. Your worth is unwavering. What is true will steady you and soothe your antsy feet. What you see as a failure is bathed in grace already, you just have to look for it. I promise that what appears to be a shadow is only there because of the good that is creating it. The two paths are differentiated simply by your perspective and if you find that you can’t change what you’re seeing find someone who is safe and who loves you and ask them to show you what they see.