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Life's Little Lessons

"If you ask me what I came into this life to do, I will tell you: I came to live out loud." – Emile Zola

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Progress

Advancement. Growth. Unfolding. Working. Process. Movement. Practice. Stepping.

These are all words I’ve used to describe life and though there are moments when I would use other words, I’d say I consistently choose these ones because they are all relatively positive and enough relatively positive moments mean something GOOD is taking place.

Life is.

But let’s not hung up on my word choices because I’ve seen word choices hang people up ** as in SHUT PEOPLE UP ** So let’s do this…before we go any further, posture yourself to hear my heart more than you hear my words because the last thing I’d want is to trip you up with mine. 

Ultimately, my words convey that I’m somewhere fluid and not just sitting stagnate, decaying in some corner sucking my thumb. I’m developing. I am a work in progress, like film taken from a camera that finds herself in a dark room for a short periods of time behind some closed door. But here’s the thing…the very best moments happen in the dark, like the development of life’s precious ones. 

For the last TWO WEEKS, I’ve been painting. To hear myself say those words, one would think I’ve painted my whole house, but that’s not the case. Not in the least. I have in fact painted my sons bedroom from top to bottom, some doors, a rocking chair and the start of a bench. I wanted to be done three days ago but I’ve found myself standing on my front porch at 7:45 PM more days than not and am tired of wearing crappy clothes and being adorned with grey, red and white hands. I’m slightly exhausted and ready to move on with regular living, but here I am, still painting. 

Why in the hell is this taking so long? 

Good question. 

For a bit yesterday, I began to feel bad, like l-o-s-e-r bad. Like I SHOULD have been done, I should have been THERE, but I’m not. I am HERE, still. And since thinking like that was getting me NO WHERE fast, I decided to think about Jesus who says, “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” – Matthew 5:44 Sometimes, I am my own worst enemy. This is truth. Sometimes I don’t need your opinions of me, I have enough of my own. During times like this, when I start to feel the weight of my own expectations and that I should be further along than I am, I have to choose to step back and remember I AM making headway. I AM advancing, growing, unfolding, working…

I AM IN PROGRESS. 

Matthew 5:44 helps me remember to go easy, to let my enemy off the hook and remove the chains, even when I’m the continued culprit that places them there. It helps me remember to be kinder to myself because in the end, I am commanded to love my neighbor as myself and if I am being a little too hard HERE…won’t I also be little too hard THERE…with you?

YES. 

So I keep at it. Because really that’s all I have to do in this great life **I just need to keep at it** It’s the place between the starting line and the finish. It’s the place between where film is placed IN the camera and the picture is placed ON the wall. Ultimately it is one brutiful and ongoing conversation with Truth Himself…asking Him what is mine. 

You don’t need to be any place other than where you are at. – Jesus

Keep painting today my friends. At least keep takling what’s on your plate, on your mind and in your heart. I’m going to keep takling mine. If that’s all we get done today, it will be enough. 

 

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Permission Granted

I remember watching a documentary on television when I was in high school about air traffic control personnel. I vaguely remember hearing the words, “High rate of stress that often leads to anxiety and depression,” and I felt sorry for the poor souls that chose high levels of stress as their career. At the time, I was preparing myself for my first year of college as a Sociology major with the goal of one day obtaining a Masters in Counseling. What did I know about massively large vehicles, traffic patterns and safety, let alone high rates of stress that leads to anxiety or depression? 

I was 18. My parents paid for my car insurance. 

20 years later. Ask me what I do.

My husband and I are school bus contractors for our local district.

Ask me what my job looks like on any given day. 

Air traffic control personnel, but with buses. High levels of stress, not always, but there are days and with a husband out of the country on a missions trip, stress runs high. 

Luckily for me, I am surrounded by amazingly great people. “Can I help?”

“Yes. Yes you can.”

In the long run, one of my helpers is also a very dear friend who when I mentioned attending her Bible study this evening as she helped me from point A to point B, said “Don’t even.” 

Maybe she said something else, like “I hope you can make it,” or “Try really, really hard to come,” but I’m pretty confident she said something that totally let me off the hook because she knew I had a good hour left of work, two hours from Bible studies start. 

**Because she knew I had left my kids home alone. Because she knew my chicken was still laying frozen on my counter. Becuase she knew I’d feel a tinge of crappiness for NOT being able to do all things.**

Sometimes we need someone to come alongside us and see what we can’t. Our blind spot. Sometimes we need someone to say, “Done even.” 

In my case…

Don’t even try to do all things.

Dont even think about trying to do all things. 

Should she have pushed me? Should she of planted the seed that encouraged me to push through so I could sit in her living room WISHING to God I was anywhere but there because I wanted to be at home with my people after the last half of my day went to hell in a hand basket? 

Absolutely not. She knew what was BEST for me. Even if I didn’t. 

If you don’t have a friend like that, find one. Find a friend who knows your season. Find a friend who knows your heart. I’d tell you her name but then I’m afraid you’d steal her from me and that would just make me all sad because I’m slightly territorial and jealous by nature. Do yourself a favor, just find someone who walks with Jesus. Like WALKS WITH because I kind of think in the end, He says the same thing when those “SHOULDS” pop into the picture. You know, all those religious things we all agonize one time or another over. “I should. Because.”

 Sometimes you need a good kick in the pants to get you moving if you are stuck hiding out in your cave too long. Sometimes you just need someone to see your heart and give you permission to stop the crazy for a bit so you can get off your hamster wheel and rest without making you feel badly for it. Sometimes YOU need to know the difference. 

Your value does not increase if you show up and it does decrease if you don’t. Know YOUR capacity then take a moment to see the capacity in others. Give them permission to slow it all down when they need too because chances are, they are caught up in the same vicicious cycle of DO as you are. 

Rest is needed folks. It helps you guard that little ole heart of yours, which is a very good thing to DO. 

the burn

It is really hard to show up and do your part knowing you are dependent on someone else to show up and do theirs…

And they don’t.

I wish I could say that I am writing this from a “Been there, done that,”point-of-view, but I can’t. My match has been lit and I am sitting. On fire.

As I sit here, I hear all the “RIGHT THINGS” in my head. I hear, “You have the mind of Christ and these thoughts that you have in your head right now are not. Tisk Tisk.”

I scowl. “Shut up.”

Truly I say to you, unequally yoked IS NOT FAIR. This is one of the many reasons why relying ON others is difficult for me at times. I try, I swear I try, and I get let down and here I am all over again **strike**

I am trying so hard to reconcile what I feel with what I know in my head…and Jesus sits to my side and whispers, “It’s your heart. Pay attention right now to your heart. It is closing…”

Friends, there is nothing quite like having THAT reality shoved in your face…

1 hour later…

An unexpected side conversation took my time and attention off of my brew. Hindsight..this was best. Idleness just gave me too much time to roll the SAME thought through my head and I appreciate focusing on someone else other than POOR ME because that is what IT’S NOT FAIRdoes and it does it with a VENGEANCE. You entertain it ONE TIME and it takes OVER the house and YOU become the hostage.

So here is what I’ve learned in my two-hour jaunt with the burn…

***It’s people. Today wasn’t my turn but my experience tells me that perhaps tomorrow will be. I will show up disshelved and unprepared to do life and I will INCONVENIENCE another living being. They will strike THEIR match on MY heel. Made IN relationship, FOR relationship….this needs to remain the focus.

Tomorrows another day. TAG…someone else please be IT!

***The match is going to strike. I am human. Just because I began to think and feel all this STUFF, doesn’t mean I am failing at life nor does it mean that it’s the end of the world and all is doomed. It just another freakin’ amazing opportunity to put actual feet to my faith. “What is going on inside of me?” Yeah…not good things. STILL WORK TO DO and THAT I can handle.

Commence the continuing saga of “Conversations with Jesus.” Airing daily at theater near you.

***OK so the burn hurts. It hurts my heart which is why the emotions come and the head begins to get all dizzy and flooded with thoughts. It hurt because it’s people. People I love. People I trust. It hurts to get let down. It hurts to take things seriously and see people as important and then when it goes South, it feels like “If they really cared or saw me with the same value and worth as I see them, this would not have happeneded.”

Lie.

The burn helps me realize WHO I AM. Would I still show up the same, fully me, doing MY part? YES. That is one thing I do not want to be contingent on someone else. I do it because it’s a part of me and is nonnegotiable. I think about Jesus. He is who He says He is regardless if I believe in Him, regardless if I am in relationship with Him. I think about all the times I have NOT…and He still IS. Does that strike His match?

His heart remains open to me. No matter how hot the heat…

So friends, WHEN you find yourself in disappointments seat and hurt is driving you straight into a fiery inferno…TAKE A STEP BACK. Take a small piece of your time and GAIN PERSPECTIVE. Go for a walk. Talk to the dog. Listen to someone else share about their day. Does this person really have that much control over you that they have officially RUINED YOUR LIFE becuase they didn’t live up to your expecations? If so, fine. Go right ahead and light yourself on fire and tomorrow or the day after or the month after that, WHEN IT’S YOUR TURN and YOU screw it all up and let the entire world down….

I pray that mercy, grace and unlimited amounts of love find you and tell you…

It’s time to move on. Chin up. Tomorrow is another day.

 

Now what? 

Have you ever been in two places at the same time? The place where you are physically in one place and the other half of you is somewhere else meandering around in your mind or in your heart. I have. Yesterday I was in a car for s-e-v-e-n hours total traveling with my family…fielding questions, singing, laughing and at the same time, I was sitting with Jesus somewhere in the midst of the bustle asking, “Where do I go from here?” I know I haven’t been in the “best” place, but still…not all lost because regardless of what it has looked and felt like, I still have been in SOME place.

Seven hours later, I really hadn’t receive a response that gave a finite answer. I think I’m the type-of-girl who thinks she wants step 1 ——> step 2 = step 3, but really I’m not all about that one bit. Top pretty. Too packaged. The only thing I know is my heart intuition saysto keep taking steps when steps are needed and to keep taking steps WITH Him. “Keep doing what you are doing now.” My family, chaos, car rides and me living in two-worlds with the person of the Lord…check.

I mentioned in my last post “honest” that I asked several leaders from our church to pray for me on Sunday, and not just walk away and “pray for me” or add me to some prayer chain, but “Grab my hands right now, look me in the eyes and stampede the throne room with me.” A tenderhearted man who I don’t know well named Steve Burris grabbed my hand. He asked me to do him a favor, and though I have never really spent any amount of time with him, I know enough to take what he says seriously. He asked me to take a really deep breath.

Because I have been holding mine.

And the tears began to flow becuase THAT hit home.

For months I have been holding my breath, trying to get through with both fist clenched tight. “If I can just make it through the day.”

Me. Myself. and I.

The very breath of life, Holy Spirit Himself, I shut out.

“I can do this on my own. I can get by. I can fix.” 

Pain tempts you to think the most awfulest of things. It makes you feel isolated and alone. It makes you think you are in a great battle instead of trusting that the war has already been won and that you can rest in what has been done. 

I held my breath and gave back my rest. I am sorry Jesus.

So I stood Sunday in the parking lot breathing in and breathing out FOR REAL as my church family stood with me. I don’t think I needed to explain much of the situation, it’s obvious I have been deficient of oxygen as my thinking has been affected by my poor brain, but as I stood…my lungs and my pores began opening up as I felt His/their love as we stood in the middle of a vacant parking lot. Who cared who saw. Who care anything. I was believing lies and wanted to be free. ***Once more…invite people into your pain. If you still haven’t done so and are doing it alone, don’t. Reach out to just one person. Then reach out to two. It’s the best thing I’ve done since Sunday. Perhaps it’s just the best thing I have done.***

LIE: “You have been a Christian for 10 years. You have proclaimed to walk intimately with Jesus. You have… IF you are WHO you say you are…YOU. WOULD’T BE HERE stuck in the middle of the parking lot needing prayer.” This is the lie I STILL hear in my head. It is perhaps the #1 way we get attacked. IF. YOU. ARE. **a good mom**a good wife**a good person**caring**honest**loving**merciful**grace-filled** Sounds an awful like how Jesus was questioned in Matthew 4. Go read it. Once we give into the lie that our identity is anything LESS THAN the truth = BONDAGE. 

Don’t let your pain or your pride stop you from going after what you know you want or need.

*SO* In the car driving, somewhere resting with Jesus…no easy answers, no ah-hah revelation except the simple knowing, my heart intuition, that if I keep sitting with Him long enough, if I keep breathing-in this life, this ABUNDANT, AMAZINGLY BEAUTIFUL life and keep stepping, HE WILL GUIDE ME INTO WHAT’S NEXT.

I don’t have to have it figured out. I have an overwhelming understanding, despite my perceived lack of it, that it’s OK to hurt at times. It is OK to have just walked through a really hard season and say “GEESH. THAT ALL JUST SUCKED.” It’s when I believe the lie that it’s better to do it on my own that I stop breathing because the heavy responsibility of it all falls back on me and my chest feels crushed, lungs and all, by the weight.

Breathing WITH Him. Step one.

Further ahead today than yesterday. Two steps further then the day before. Leaning in more than I have in a long time.

honest

Bondage begins when you come into agreement with something that is not true, like when I was a sophomore in college and believed the lie I was fat. I was indeed not fat but was athletic and healthy and allowed a comment made about my muscular body to partner with a lie that I already believed about myself. That is what lies do, they grab ahold of other lies like straws…hoping to catch one that may stick. I allowed YOU. ARE. FAT. to stick and fell into an eating disorder for thirteen years and when I say that out loud, it is sobering. Thirteen years is a very long time. The lie that I was fat fed a slew of other lies that were already in me and there I was, incarcerated; face in a toilet for years. Binge. Purge. Binge. Purge. Begin again.

The original lie was that I was not enough. August as her original self needed to be different or was too different and needed to right because she was wrong. There was an emptiness inside that needed filled and throughout my whole life, I have used things or people to fill it. Ask me if that’s worked?

When you know you are in bondage to lies you are believing and you want to be free, you take one lie at a time and you tackle it. Where did this come from? Why is it here? What is the truth? If you are lucky, you find a lie that has other lies attached and when you get one, you get some and it’s a win. But some lies are rooted deep and sometimes out of habit, you find yourself sitting back at their feet because they are known and comfortable and you become their slave. That’s been the case for me…known and comfortable because change takes work and hard labor is tiring.

During the last few months, I have been laboring relentlessly and after a solid week of napping every day, I realized WHY I am so tired…I am in bondage. I have fallen prey to a lie and like a captive, am chained. For the last few weeks, I have strained and pulled trying to break free (on my own, in my own strength) and today when I woke up wondering why I’ve been so tired, Jesus said, “Dispel the lie to find your freedom.”

So what lies have I been believing?

**People cannot be trusted. They will say one thing to your face and another thing behind your back. I am tired of games. I am an adult who is tired of high-school drama. 

**People cannot be relied upon. I have turned my “need” of people off because I have been disappointed. They are unreliable, even when I try to keep expectations to a minimum. Even when I think I have realistic standards, inevitably I will have to stand on my own.

**Talk is cheap. Words are worth a dime a dozen. What sounds good is sometimes a bunch a fluff because when there’s not follow through, words sting. 

I am sure I could go on a scavenger hunt and find some more, but these are the three lies that are right now up in my face. Yes, it is obvious I have been hurt. Where does this leave me? All three of these “lies” have been real. These past few months have been hard and these “lies” are legitimate. I wish I could sit back and say they are in my head but they are more in my reality than I’d like. I think the first step in breaking free is knowing what lie(s) I’ve been believing so I can begin a conversation with the Father…which I haven’t done in a while. LIKE A REAL CONVERSATION ABOUT MY PAIN. I’ve been an excellent complainer, an outstanding crier…but listener? Communicator? Not so much.

Word by word. Action by action. Brick by brick. I have erected a wall and today during church, I knew it. Afterwards I walked up to some of our leaders and said, “I need you guys to pray. I am out of sorts.” Shut down, holed up, turned off…whatever the word, I just know I am at a place I don’t want to be and I know the best place to be is to be with people who love and care, even though the lie is present saying that they WON’T.

So if you are in a place you don’t like, a place you know you don’t want to be…my only encouragement to you right now is to invite people into that place with you. Don’t go it alone. Despite what you may think or feel about people based off a few expereinces, goodness wins. Love does. On the other side of the person that you invite into your space is the Lord Himself and when you shut them out, you shut Him out. I thought it wouldn’t work that way…but it does.

If I can’t be honest with where I am at, the lies win.

The lies cannot win.

 

 

The Other Woman 

I dread the doctor’s office. I dread showing up on time and then sitting through the long wait. I dread the paper thin gown with the white strings in the back that inevitably rip off before I can tie them. I dread just about every last thing, but you do what you go to do.

So I showed up, I waited, I tied and I dreaded.

And inevitably accidentally eaves dropped on a conversation that was happening between two women that sat behind me…and when I say accidentally, you know what I mean. Ears are hard things to close.

The one was talking about a mutual friend and it was NOT pretty. “She this,” and “She that.” Had she known I was going to write about the whole thing, I am sure she would have changed her tune, but that’s ok because a helper was on the scene. She was sharing with one who I’ll just gloriously crown, “The Stand Upper.”

This other woman was amazing. It was like she paid the words of her friend no mind. She was rock solid, didn’t miss a beat and didn’t jaunt in defensively; to save or to fix, but rather meandered slowly but surely.

She was matter of fact.

She PRAISED the poor woman her friend was bashing till a wealth of treasure was bestowed upon the invisible woman’s feet. There was no face to the name, but I pictured her…

“Thats never been my experience of her. In fact, she is extremely dedicated and loyal. She has always been there for me when I needed her. She is incredibly encouraging. She has a full plate and manages the best she can.”

I sat there, wanting to turn around and shake her hand. I wanted her autograph, a picture, anything…and if I could be 100% honest, I was so incredibly attracted TO her in all the right ways. This other woman had something I wanted to possess; her ability to stand up and stay steady rather than being swayed and staying silent drew me in.

She was a needed breath of fresh air.

I sat in my seat waiting for my name to be called and thought about all the times I have been a giver and a taker. Since I can only assume that I’ve been the recipient of someone else’s side conversations, I’ll share about my first hand knowledge of how I have dished out my fair share of negativity towards others unbeknownst to them and have felt validated in doing so. Yes, I have played innocent.

I can honestly say, EVERY TIME, it’s a sure tell sign the issue is mine.

Jealousy*Comparison*Pride*Arrogance

Insecurity*Anger*Offense*Rejection

Which can pretty much be summed up in one word, right?

*FEAR*

So what are my issues then if I just sit back in my seat and refuse to stand up when someone begins to drudge another through the mud and the muck? Are the issues really that much different? I think not.

*FEAR*

I think the woman who stood up today was confident in WHO she was. She wasn’t afraid to disappoint and wasn’t out to people please. Fear of man was not a forethought and if it was, she was secure enough to push through the trembling and the best part was…she didn’t do it in a way that was ballsy or brash. She was loving and kind and steered the ship into a peaceful harbor. I appreciate accidentally eavesdropping…so very much.

It made me wonder what I would look or sound like if FEAR were not an option. If I removed THAT…WHO would I be? I want to be ME, but I want in large parts to be the other woman too.

Stand Uppers are one of a kind, in fact they are one in a million. They cannot be swayed by your opinions and are not afraid to go against the grain and form their own. They are tried and true friends.

Everyone doesn’t just NEED one, they need to BE one.

 

 

 

The Intentional Helper

Today I encountered him as I pulled out of the development. The helper. He slowed down and put his four-ways on, which in the school bus world means, “go ahead.” He does this just about every day because I hear his fellow drivers come over the two-way in our office or if I’m in a bus I witness it for myself. They thank him for letting them out and when the exchange happens, it makes my heart happy and I smile.

I wonder…

Does he even know what he is doing?

He is just one of many I know. Disguised as nice, they go slow in life and take their time, often taking the unbeaten path. They don’t get bothered by much and they are generous to the bone. They put you at ease in their presence and you realize it actually brings them great joy and satisfaction to reach out to people.  These helpers aren’t just your regular run-of-the-mill helpers who help on occasion or when the mood strikes them right. Theses helpers are intentional to their core.

WHO can I help?

I think any of us can walk out our door in the morning and can come across someone who obviously needs assistance. The broken down car. The woman totting toddlers out of the store with an armful of bags. The little old lady who can’t quite reach the top shelf but is trying. Some are easier to spot than others, but the treasure lays within the hunt…

WHO can I intentionally help?

These recipients don’t necessarily need it; there are no flags waving or obvious signs that a helper’s presence is requested. The recipients are just every day random people like you and I who go about their day and suddenly, it’s as if an angel is assigned at just the right time unbeknownst to them.

To receive an intentional act of kindness when kindness is unexpected is a gift, but the real gift is in being introduced to the treasure hunter themselves.

Intentional helpers are Jesus in the flesh. They go out of their way, much like Jesus did with the woman at the well, and SEE the person in front of them and they don’t just DO good, they SOW good. Their generosity is contagious and before you know it if you’ve encountered one, you find yourself running back into town saying, “You won’t believe WHO I just met!”

I found myself inclined to pay it forward this evening. I had asked our youngest daughter to clean her room, but this time, instead of watching her walk up the steps alone, I followed close behind and joined her. She turned around surprised and asked, “What are you doing?” in which I replied,“I’m going to help.”

Because I wanted to.

We kept quiet and busied ourselves to get the job done and afterwards, I noticed she immediately went outside and helped her brother stack wood by the shed.

Because she wanted to.

I think this is how it’s supposed to go. Being an intentional helper is life-giving and inspiring. It’s movement and momentum and incredibly generous. I am so incredibly grateful to have been sought out today, even if it just seemed like the right thing to do.

The right thing to do is always…SEE ONE ANOTHER. 

A Sobering Thought

It’s Valentine’s Day, so of course my husband has popped into my mind a time or two. As I write this, I know that at some point I will be confronted with this thought and may secretly wish I never had it. If that’s the case, I hope I allow myself to be challenged enough to sit in it.

“The relationships we have, especially our closest, act as a barometer. Our thought life and the manner in which we interact with those closest to us is a good indicator of our how we view ourselves…and how we view ourselves is a direct result (in my opinion) of our relationship with God.” End thought.

THAT responsibility is a weighty one, but one I believe in my heart we are to bear. It is easier to complain about what someone else is doing than to own up to OUR part and let him or her bear their own. It would be easier to shift the weight from one side of the scale to the other instead of looking at OUR contribution, but easy is never the answer.

When we do the hard work and bear our own weight, even when blame is rightly assigned, we are more compassionate towards one another, more understanding, more grace-filled. I know for ME, I have a really hard time pointing fingers after I’ve taken a long and honest assessment of myself. It is only then I realize, I have a lot of discovery and maturing within me to do.

There is an order to things, even if I wish there wasn’t. Jesus was asked over and over, “Teacher, which is the greatest…” and the answer was always the same.

Love God.
Love others AS yourself.

You know what that means, right? Look at yourself BEFORE you look at others. Love there.

It’s where I’ll start.
It’s where I’ll end too.

pretty

I had a dream several weeks ago; woke up, noted it and poured myself a cup of coffee. I thought on it but not too long, more for the fact that I actually dreamt and actually remembered that I dreamt since dreaming in my head while I sleep is a rarity. That same dream popped itself back into my slumber last night. I was again standing in a room. My heart tells me I was trying to go deeper, perhaps I was in church, I don’t know. Whatever it was that I was doing, I was focused and intentional when someone came over to me and said, “You are pretty.” I know they were being kind and sincere and then they said it again, “You are pretty.”

You know how certain words should evoke certain emotions or thoughts that are good? I think their words were supposed to do that but they didn’t. They fell flat and empty and I became indigent. I didn’t want to be pretty. I want to be anything but.

And that’s my dream. It really doesn’t leave much else to talk about, does it?

Or does it?

Growing up, I was likened to Brooke Shields long before I even knew who she was. I was likened by my dear Grandmother who rallied my family into her cheer corner as she told me I had Broke’s thick eyebrows even though I had no idea what that meant; I assumed it was good since she fussed over them so. She’d walk over to me and croon my short, tousled brown-hair in her hands which prompted me to look up into her tiny, gray eyes and happily oblige. I liked my Grandmothers attention so I’d sit and smile and be…pretty.

In our home, I was the pretty one and the one who caused my parents great grief and my sister was the smart one and the one who followed the rules. When you are growing up, you learn to read between the lines and find that home is a place where you find your place and your experiences begin to shape your perspective. It is also where your version of truth either hits the nail on the head with accuracy OR your assumptions leave you just that…an ass. Looking back now, it wasn’t that my sister wasn’t pretty because she very much was or that I wasn’t smart (though I didn’t apply my smartness to school), we were not one or the other but BOTH, I just didn’t know that yet. We each had our “thing” that we took and buried deep in our unconsciousness which shaped us and encouraged us to keep up and I strived to live up to my label.

Because pretty was my “thing.”

But here’s the kicker, it wasn’t even really “MY” thing. It was some teen actress’s who lived in another state with some other life than the one that I lived in. You want to talk about eyebrows? Fine. Talk about MINE, don’t liken me to someone else. I had been held up to a measuring stick named Brooke Shields and continuously fell short. My poor Grandmother knew not what she was doing. To her, it was a compliment. To me, it was a curse. I appeared incapable of acheiving good grades and was obviously too stubborn to walk the narrow path and I did not look like Brooke Shields; I was me. Tall for my age with an odd name who sported short, tousled brown hair. Sooner or later I forgot all about the actress whom I’d never meet and began gauging myself against my classmates. I traded one for another year after year, comparing what they had to what I didn’t. But I could always come back and at least be with my Grandmother as she whispered, “You are pretty.”

So pretty is what I did.

Eating disorder by 19. Trapped in it for 13 more. Closet full of clothes. A room full of stuff. I transitioned year after year like a chameleon.

Pretty seemed so shallow. It only touched the surface layers of my skin. Pretty was trying to continuously fill my dinner table with insincere flatteries but the only thing it end up feeding were my insecurities; leaving me hungry for more and continually dissatisfied. I knew I was more than yet my refusal to go deeper or my knowledge HOW to left me swimming in a ton of tiny, muddled puddles. I stopped myself short, knowing there was MORE to me but never allowing myself go to those MORE places. Its taken a bit of time and here at 43, I am continually learning to press in and discover. Regret serves no purpose. 

So instead of going backwards, I’ll go forward. I cannot go back and speak to that short, tousled, brown-hair girl with apparent amazing eye brows. That child in me has long grown and tired from those sort of flatteries. I long now to know the depths that are not only available to me but IN me. I’m far more than just a pretty face and I now know it so don’t sell me short focusing on what you outwardly see.

Dig deeper.

Forward I go. My eyes shift from little girls to big, grown ones. Mothers, daughters, sisters, friends…you are more than any box you have been placed in. Whatever label you have been wearing, take it off. It is only a small fraction of WHO you are.

You are not just the smart one. Or the one who just can’t seem to get it right. 

You are not just the good one. Or the bad ass. The one who screws it all up.

You are not just the pastors daughter or the good wife or the with-it mom.

You are more than these things and then some. You are not just one or the other. You are individually unique. I encourage you to look past what you See and Hear; go deeper within yourself to see the original you. The YOU that was dreamt of long before you were thoughtfully created. Your best day cannot define you and your worst no longer has a hold on you.

Sooner or later you will discover that you are in nobody’s box but your own.

Much Love-

August

 

 

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