Three little words that hold far more weight than one would imagine possible.
Over the last month, I have sat in front of my screen here several times and begun blogs that have been left mid-sentence. That is sometimes for lack of time, and other times for a lack of words for what was in my heart. My most read blogs or, I should say, the blogs I most enjoy writing, are the ones that pour from my soul. But I've been a little dry the last few weeks. So, today I sit here and share with the risk of vulnerability what this fall season has been for me on some days.
When people ask me about my blog, I tell them it's really a hodge podge of thoughts, usually about what I am learning. Today will really be a hodge-podge, but it will boil down to three words: Believe in Yourself.
Learning to believe in myself has been a theme I have had to constantly work on in the last few years, and God has allowed me to make significant progress in this area. Like a tree that gets chopped down one axe throw at a time, He's been chipping away the negativity and allowing it to come crashing down, using some beautiful relationships He's given me and new experiences He's put in my path. But along the way come doubts or old fears and sometimes even wounds I thought were healed that get opened back up, threatening to shift the progress I have made in growing into me more and more. Today, I want to take a moment to share some of these thoughts and the quiet battle I fight to rage against them so that I can keep on growing into the Lion that roars and not a little kitten, afraid of my own shadow.
Losing someone is not an easy road to walk down. When I lost my mom, I began this blog in 2011 because I needed an outlet. The Lord has allowed that to heal over time and be used a little bit to deepen my understanding of death, life, and the different paths people need to walk in the midst of all that. For the first time since mom died in 2011, I have been walking the path of grief again.
It has opened wounds all over that I thought had healed. Memories have surrounded me not only of the loved one I am saying goodbye to at this Thanksgiving season, but also of my mom. Grief is funny like that. Losing my aunt should not be about losing my mom, and very few people have understood why it looks that way for me. But in remembering my aunt, laughing about times with her, and gently letting go, I also have been remembering mom, walking down her last days and letting go of that a little bit again.
And that's ok. I have had to tell myself that, as it felt sort of strange and even selfish. But grief is different for every person. It has its seasons and its lessons. I believe grief is still teaching me about life.
I am a dreamer, but I have learned many times over the last few years how to begin putting my dreams into practice. Little by little. Some dreams I have to let go, or put on hold. (Like my dream of running a race in every state has slowed way down due to finances and life) But in the wake of that, God lights up other dreams and brings them to reality. I remind myself that every day as I continue working on my school degree. This fall has been HARD. I have a looney math professor, who is so very kind I feel bad to say that, but it has made that class a challenge. And yet in the wake of that challenge, I have made 2 sweet new friends, Monica and Ashleh. These 2 ladies are in very different seasons of life, both single moms, both working towards their goals and dreams and the 3 of us have connected to help each other along. I love when this happens.
My sociology class has been really tough, too. Not for lack of enjoying what I'm learning there, but it's so much reading and with so little quiet, I find that difficult to do. But, again, when I stare this difficulty in the face, I also get excited and tell myself, I'm one step closer to the goal I really want to achieve: my degree. These dreams stretch me and some moments exhaust me and when there are some days lack of cheerleaders behind me, the fight to keep going is one I have to wage war against on my own. But it's worth every step, and I have to keep telling myself along the journey- believe in yourself.
- The body
Ya'll know fitness is a huge part of my life. I love to run. I enjoy TRX very much and my health matters to me.I wrote a post a few months ago about the scale which was a lesson I was drinking in at that time. Since that post, I am having to re-read what I wrote because I need to remember those words, that lesson. I really struggle with this. I believe many of us do. There is so much pressure to be or look a certain way. And especially, sometimes I feel, as a runner. Perhaps that pressure comes from media or perhaps I put it on myself. But it's one thing to be healthy, and another to dislike myself because I don't fit into a certain size pants.
The last couple of months, this has admittedly been a struggle for me. I'm not as fast (I've lost a lot of ground) and I probably .. no, i know, I am not as strong physically as maybe I was a year ago. I've gained weight.
But... I've gained a lot of other things in the process. And this is a conversation I have had to have with myself many times over the last few weeks. I may not love the size clothing I'm wearing but I love who I am becoming, and this is the most important way to view myself. This topic deserves an entire blog, so... perhaps I will elaborate on this soon. The point is... I am reminding myself daily to believe in myself, regardless of my weight or size. There really is sooooo much more to life than this. Again, daily conversation... and balancing this with still working to be healthy.
I really enjoy the holiday season. But let me confess a struggle I have this year: commercialism and gifts. I love to buy for others, do for others. But this year, our family has had a lot of financial changes and this year, I just can't do much. The pressure has a tendency to rise when people ask me "oh, what are you buying for your kids this year??" and I have to hesitate and say "oh, I'm not not really sure yet..."
Let me just tell you a few things about this. First of all, I have wonderful kids who are not the "giveme" type of children. My son had a lawn job all summer and has worked hard learning to buy for himself his "wants" and in the process has had a generous heart in his giving as well. Elizabeth is simple and she enjoys the handmade gifts as much as - really more than- the store bought ones. And I have become close enough with my Colombian family to know that it's not the things that matter. So, why do I still feel this pressure? This is another lesson I am drinking in right now.
Life is not about the things. It's about the people, and it's about the love. And as much as I want to give all kinds of fun things to everyone around me this year because I truly enjoy that, I am finding creative ways to express my love. Ways that may take a little bit more time, but much less pennies and a lot more of my heart.
This has been the hodge-podge of what's been in my heart and mind the recent weeks. I have had a little bit of brain cloggage, muddling my way through its messy moments, but every day, learning to believe in myself more. Regardless of all the obstacles along the way. I am a goal setter, so sometimes my setbacks frustrate me, but when I take time to work out the kinks I learn those setbacks are really just pushing me forward with Jesus as my every day strength and stronghold. I will walk as a lion, not a kitten.
Here is a song that is my anthem in this season of needing to remind myself these truths: