Bursting the Bubble of Worry

Lawyers and Shrinks

Today's story comes from the dark, scary world of BIGLAW. What's BIGLAW, you ask? BIGLAW firms are the "Goliath National Banks" of the law firm world, the "Big Bad," the "Dementors" that suck out whatever's left of a person's soul after three years of law school. The People's Therapist is a blog by a former BIGLAW lawyer-turned-psychotherapist for lawyers because, let's face it, lawyers can use a good dose of psychotherapy after being crushed by the system.

The Bubble of Worry

The People's Therapist gave a few anecdotes about BIGLAW:
- Someone who, after working the entire weekend and coming in early on Monday to finish a memo, broke down after receiving a call from her 92-yr-old grandmother (who she hadn't seen in a year) an hour before the deadline
- Someone who took an extended weekend to rush his mother with a perforated appendix to the hospital and kept her hospital bracelet for proof that the emergency actually happened
- The need to go outside and look at trees just to remember that there is an "outside" and that trees exist.

He gives a list of things that lawyers worry about, the bubble of worry that they live in. But I'm not entirely certain that these are special to lawyers. In fact, I'm sure they aren't because I can name non-lawyers plagued with the same problems.

* Two hundred thousand dollars in student loans is within the normal range.
* You have to earn six figures or you are a failure.
* You can’t take a vacation just because you “have” a vacation. It must be “convenient.”
* Leaving the office at 5 pm shows a serious failure of commitment.
* Taking a weekend off shows a serious failure of commitment.
* Working night and day and doing your best shows a serious failure of commitment.

What's your bubble? What is your cage? What do you worry about? Do you feel like a failure and can't meet expectations? What have you forgotten or pushed aside?

Remember who you are

Confession: I can't see this phrase without hearing Ghost Mufasa from The Lion King say it in my head, but that's beside the point. The advice that The People's Therapist gives is to remember who you are. Remember your priorities. Remember that people matter and that you matter. Remember to visit the people you care about. Remember that trees exist.

The Gospel: A Step Further

This is great (humanist) advice, but let me go a step further. Who are you? If you're a Christian, you're a child of God. You have been bought at a price. You are no longer a slave to sin, a slave to your job, a slave to your worry, a slave to your bubble or to your cage or expectations and deadlines: you are a slave of Christ, and weirdly enough, being a slave to Christ means that "for freedom you have been set free." Yes, there's a yoke, but his yoke is easy and his burden is light, and all who are weary and downtrodden can cast their burdens on him, and he will give them rest.

Not only that, but if you have fellowship with Christ and abide in Christ, you will find that there are lots of brothers and sisters also abiding in Christ. If they abide in Christ, and you abide in Christ- guess what- you all abide in each other, too. Just as you can lay your burdens on Christ, you can lay your burdens on your brothers and sisters, and you can carry their burdens as well. Fellowship is a beautiful thing, and if you don't believe me, spend some time in 1 John.

The Solution

If (when) you are busy and you are stressed and you feel that the world is against you: remember who you are. You are a child of God and a sibling of other believers. When you are busy and stressed, go to God. Go to church. Go to small group. Remember who you are, and surround yourself with people who can remind you who you are.

What if you feel you're simply too busy and stressed to go to God or go to church? Stress and worry and busyness are indicators that you need to go to God all the more. If your life is too crazy to accommodate what is important, The People's Therapist has something to say about that as well:

If things get that bad...you can leave. To [expletive] with loans and “career” and all that. If this place is killing you, you can depart...If this environment is toxic for you, you need to get out.

I've talked about how my Sunday school was wrong, but there's one thing that has always stuck with me. It made sense to 10-yr-old me, and it makes sense now, but don't you dare let the adult in you rationalize it away:

If you're too busy for God, you're too busy.