And so as I pushed the button that shared my blog, I sat in anticipation and awe of the place I am in. I looked around this house (that I may not live in that much longer – it’s okay I don’t need this much to clean anyway) and it seemed more mine than ever before. Everything felt a little bit less intimidating – for a second. This begins for me, the acknowledging that I deserve to embrace something that I have always wanted and to say in a public (really, really public) way that I have something unique to offer and I think it is worth presenting. That’s power. That’s growth. In confusion we often mix up confidence with arrogance. Certainly, the lines can be blurry. Any one of us can say we are amazing, though, and should – every night before bed in awe and in gratitude. When I say that I am amazing it doesn’t come with a sense of entitlement. It comes with a sense of opportunity. I mean it as it refers to a part of the role that we all have to play in being part of this big…experience.
We’re all looking for something. Even those with incredible faith and/or confidence, have something they would like to find. In the looking we encounter ourselves at our best and our worst, doing what we feel we need to in order to get to our goal. I’m not proud of everything I’ve done. This is not a post for true confessions, so I will not go into a lengthy list of my transgressions. I have done what I can to move past the things I have done and the things that have been done to me. ( Please note I said I try my best. I would be painting a very untrue picture of myself if I did not make clear that I have work to do on forgiveness, of myself and others.) Some days I plod. Some days I skip. I always go on. I have been thinking a lot lately about the shape of my life, from birth to now, and in the present.
I’ve been wondering about the things that hold me up and the colors of my personal walls. Why is it that after so many years and accomplishments there are still things that result in me holding myself back? Do I continue to give credit to things that have hurt me and allow myself to take on offense I should not even acknowledge…or is it something else? In doing this blog I am making a huge leap out into the realm of more confidence, but what are the ways we find that confidence? The battle against our self-doubt and our search to understand what it will take for us to find peace is something that seems to come in the most unlikeliest of places sometimes, at least for me.
Over the years, I think some of my most inspired writing happened in difficult circumstances. This is not unusual, but I think it can seem very paradoxical. Inspiration and feeling like…garbage don’t seem to naturally go hand in hand. However, being run down often brings me to a kind of acute focus. I think it is when we are at those low points, where we feel stripped of the reinforcers of our value that we are used to (a person, specific goal being reached, etc.), that we must continue onward with what is at our core. We don’t have the energy that superficiality sucks out of us, so we have to face head on what really is and who we really are (whatever that means).
12 years ago, I sure wasn’t looking no strong when I was on the bathroom floor vomiting (before you think this is going to take off into a story of hard partying days there was no night before filled with escapades), and I did not feel the best about myself or what I could accomplish in this world. The poems and journal entries that I wrote afterwards, though, spoke of strength and a belief in hope and grace. I read them now and think back to that period in my life in a kind of bewilderment. Now if a light had come down through the bathroom ceiling that night and an angel literally appeared at that moment and led me to lift a pen in a weakened state, this would be a different story and the inspired writing would be expected. There was not any bright light. There was clarity, though. There was a sense of awareness. I knew I did not want to continue to feel that way and did not want to spend my life on my bathroom floor (though that would have made for a very unique blog).
When we are left with our essence, which many are today – in a time when unemployment and divorce rates are high and the news seems to steadily march forward with tragedy and conflict – we can find something else out about what matters to us. We can recognize that we not only should not, but cannot define ourselves by external factors and things that are beyond our control. The loss of something or someone. Harsh words spoken to us. Health problems. There’s nothing worldly that is worth surrendering our real value for. Yet, we do it all the time.
In the middle of a lot of changes (I’m not a huge fan change and some of them are fairly big) I was looking for an outlet and floundering in ways that were not productive. I wanted to fight back against the feeling that a part of me had slipped away, to reclaim what was actually still here in me all along.
By hitting the share button, I became more myself than ever before because I reached to hold onto my story completely.
The apostle Paul says in 1 Corinthians 4, “We have this treasure (the knowledge of God in Jesus Christ) in ‘clay pots,’ so that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us.” He then describes his life as “hard-pressed on every side, perplexed, persecuted, struck down, and always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus.” But he adamantly affirms that he is “not crushed, not in despair, not forsaken, not destroyed.” His conclusion – “We who live are always delivered to death for Jesus’s sake, that the life of Jesus also may be shown forth in our body.”
In the past five years of devastating personal guilt and loss, I also came to “clarity points” of ruin, dispair, and overwhelmedness. Often at those times I found myself holding a gun, and longing for final “big” death. But I am learning instead that it is in surviving the “little deaths” that the core of real living – and loving – is learned.
You and the apostle Paul are speaking the same language, and it is of divine origin and import. Keep it up.
Oftentimes one has to hit rock bottom before they can find the grace and courage to rise back up. There is no shame in it – it happens to everyone. We as humans are naturally resistant to change, but I have found that (planned or unexpected) change has made me a better person by forcing me to be all I can be and step outside of my comfort zone. Our greatest moments come when we think we cannot, and then do. I am proud of you for your journey and thrilled you are sharing it with us!