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For me, Shabbat’s the real toughie

Releasing control and recognizing that the world can and will run without her: that's the big challenge

The biggest complaint I hear is that people lack self esteem. They don’t think they can do it. They just don’t try hard enough. They are worried they will fail. Me, I have the opposite problem. I am a total workaholic. I can be a real perfectionist. I am always striving to do more, begin another project, make a difference. It is not that I think I am so great or so talented, but perhaps my issue is a reverse insecurity. Rather than thinking I can’t do something, I maybe fear that if I don’t, if I don’t have something to show for myself, then what? Then who am I?

It is a common theme in my life. When I do I don’t need to think. Doing is an all around great excuse. When you are so busy, working so hard, no one questions you. And then it is a lot easier not to question yourself.

So as we get ready to hear the big 10 this coming week, those all-inclusive commandments we must abide by, I know which one is my greatest challenge. Most definitely it is “Keep Shabbat.”

On the most practical level, I am always late when it comes to lighting my Shabbat candles. I almost miss Shabbat each and every week. And even when it comes in, I have a hard time letting go. And all too often, as much as I love it, I wait for it to end. I wait for it to go so I can “do” something real. Accomplish something. Work.

Letting go. Releasing control. Recognizing that the world can and will run without me, is definitely my challenge. For if it can, if it does, then how do I justify what I do during the week? I so easily get caught up in the details. I have to answer that email. I have to take that urgent phone call. The article must get edited. The caption must be fixed. But seriously. Who am I kidding? I am not a surgeon. No life is on the line and waiting for my expertise. And if I don’t complete my “to do” list, will the world come to an end? No. It simply won’t. Life will go on. Ultimately, I am replaceable.

And that is one of my biggest fears. That someone else can do what I do. Or even though I honestly and truly believe that no one else can do what I do, I worry that someone else can replace me anyway in my work, at my job, and no one would really notice the difference. If another speaker shows up to an event and people think she is great, then it is not vital that it be me when asked. If another writer has wittier lines, then I didn’t need to bother writing the article.

And here we go again. As hard as I try to avoid it…I need to let go. I need to lose control. And I need to focus and refocus on the areas of my life where I am irreplaceable. Where people will notice if I am not present and where no one else can fill my shoes. It is not the most glamorous place, and there are certainly no accolades or anyone singing my praises. And I guess that is why keeping Shabbat is my hardest commandment. It is not just the letting go of the control. It is not just recognizing that I don’t run this world. But understanding that my true growth and development can only come from within. After all, Shabbat is connected to Shalom Bayit, peace in the home, and that is what I need…to create peace within my home. To create peace within myself.

About the Author
Sara Esther Crispe is the Co-Director of Interinclusion.org as well as a writer and motivational speaker. She lives with her husband and four children in Merion, PA.