Four Months ago, my whole world came crashing down, or so I thought. The experience was so traumatic that it caused me to question everything I believed about myself, my family, my goals, and my future. It made me go silent, because i wasn't sure if anything I had to say, or do, or anything about me had value. That story isn't complete, its still a process. But as I stare this new decade in the face, I realize that that day wasn't an ending, it was a beginning. I feel compelled to share some of the lessons I’ve learned because they may be a help to someone else going through hard things.
#1 My worth and my value are divine and intrinsic. They are not defined by my house, my children, my car, my weight, my religion. I know that I am a daughter of God and that my soul is eternal. The only true measure of my worth is how HE sees me. Nothing that another person says or does can change that. It sounds kind of cheesy here, I realize. But when you KNOW that, deep down in your bones KNOW it, that knowledge changes everything. Messy houses don't matter, because they are not a reflection of your value. Mean words from others become just words. Your child’s behavior is no longer a reflection of your parenting, but of their choices. Five pounds gained it just that-a measurement of mass, not your worthiness. This knowledge is worth whatever pain you must go through to gain it because it truly makes you FREE.
#2 I am not alone. I am loved. I have felt isolated most of my life. That may be a shocker to many of you. I felt good and worthy as long as I was doing something for someone else. I lacked confidence that any of those people would actually have my back. I was so wrong! Through this experience, I have learned that people are so good. I have this amazing circle of supportive women who love me for exactly who I am. They love me in the middle of this messy space. They love me sobbing, sneezing, no makeup, not even smiling. They have come to just BE with me even when there was nothing they could really offer. My life is brighter and richer than ever because my eyes are open to all the good and love that surround me. Above all, I have a savior, Jesus Christ who LIVES. Not lived, but lives. His love is more powerful than anything on this earth and it has saved me and changed me. He has been there in moments when no one else was and HE was enough.
#3 I choose joy. I used to rely on other people for my happiness. If my kids did their chores, I was happy. If my family got along, I was happy. If my husband was kind, I was happy. If my workout went well, I was happy. I allowed the circumstances of my life to dictate my happiness and that means I wasn't happy very often-because let's be honest- how often do all of those things and a hundred others align in a single day? Never. I have come to understand that JOY is a choice and I choose it. If I want to go out for a lunch date, I call as many people as I need to until someone says yes and we go out! If I want to sing, I play the piano and sing! If I want to create something, I create it! I identify whatever it is that brings me joy and I choose it. Its far too important to give the responsibility to anyone else.
#3b It's okay to do something simply because it brings me JOY. I used to ask myself ‘Is this productive?” If an activity didn't get me closer to a goal, I didn't see it as worthwhile. When all your goals and plans are out the window, you get to live life a lot simpler. I woke up every morning and said “What do I choose to do today to feel joy?” And then I did it. Some days it meant sewing or refinishing furniture or painting. Some days it means sitting at the base of the most amazing willow tree and drinking in that energy. Some days it meant watching Poldark and losing myself in the story of someone else’s life. I gave myself permission to do things simply because they make me happy.
All in all, I am so grateful for the experiences God has allowed me to go through so that I could become a completely different person than who I was. I never want to be that woman again. So, as I embark on this decade, I am giddy with anticipation of all the joy I am going to experience and all of the love that I am going to give and receive. Here’s to a beautiful beginning.