Defined

I don’t want to be defined by my struggles. And yet, I find myself talking about them, even here.

Others ask me about the things I struggle with, and I know it’s out of concern for me, but I also feel a little diminished almost every time they do. I don’t want these things to control me, or label me. I want to be seen for what and who I am, apart from all the things that have broken me.

It really is true that others will see us as we see ourselves. Confidence makes all the difference in the world, and the few times I’ve been able to act in that, rather than my fears, insecurities, and general quietness, I’ve found my interactions with others go much differently.

Do we control the lens that others view us through?

I think the answer is yes, but it’s often far more subconscious than what any of us can control. That’s why we have to heal the inside first, because cleaning the outside will never do any lasting good.

No caterpillars with pasted on wings, but true butterflies that have the freedom to fly.

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Quiet Confidence

There’s a time and place for quiet confidence, but I think that last piece is often missing from the equation. Are we quiet out of fear, or security? This makes a huge difference.

I was recently at a book group. I can’t stand the book we’re going through, and probably won’t read the rest of it, but I have friends there I want to support. What was interesting though, was that every time we meet, I sit there silently. It’s common that I’m quiet in groups, but this one is especially bad.

People talked about their families, things I fear I will never have. In the past I would dissolve into a bucket of tears unable to articulate any of the intense and complicated emotions that would rush through my soul. But this time. This time I was silent.

I was able to recognize the pain, the loss, and also able to hold it together (without even feeling those overwhelming emotions urging me to cry), because I realized that I’ve healed enough that those wounds no longer cut as deep. Sure, things still hurt, but God’s brought me to a place of acceptance, and not only that, but a new kind of hope, that He still has plans for me. That somehow, I still have value.

And so I didn’t speak. And through this group I’ve noticed a difference in myself. As I’ve remained silent out of the confidence within me, rather than the fear, that confidence has grown. I no longer (at least in that group) feel the fear I used to feel, urging me to speak, to share, to say anything because everyone else is expecting it.

There have been comments from others about my silence, but I’m actually ok with that. I don’t feel insecure about it like I often do when I’m quiet in groups and the comparisons and shame (for introversion and inability to share) piles up.

So today I’m feeling thankful. For the ways that God has grown me, and the ways that He has healed me. I know it isn’t finished yet and I have a long way to go, but it brings hope to my heart that I see Him working in me, that I have this very real and tangible example of where I was verses where I am today.

Lessons From An Extrovert

I’m realizing a lot of my recent agitation is due to overstimulation and taking on too much. I don’t know why it took me so long to get it, but maybe this time the realization will stick.

When my extroverted friend told me, “you’re doing too much,” I brushed it off with a, “probably, but what can you do?” (Not my wisest or most insightful response.)

That should have been enough to warn me, but it wasn’t until visiting her that I was able to embrace the calm and solitude I needed.

Even introverts need community. The question isn’t about whether socializing is good or bad as a whole, but about what interactions, and how often, are healthy or not.

I’ve finally taken the hint from my friend, and stepped back a bit. She helped me to see that what I was doing and trying to keep up with, would be too much even if I weren’t an introvert.

It’s okay to take time to rest, and it’s okay to not always measure up, to not be perfect. It’s okay to take the time we need to relax and just live the lives we’ve been given, without having to be busy all the time. And it took an extrovert and social interaction to show me that.

What unexpected results have you found with social interaction? Are there any lessons you’ve learned from your extroverted friends?

New Sense Of Peace

I sit here this morning with a cup of tea and an empty mind. I’m beginning to feel again. God is so good, so faithful, and yet, I’m not entirely sure what to do with it.

I’ve tried journaling, and it’s been good to get my thoughts down on paper. I’ve felt a little drifty lately, unsure where I’m going, but I’ve also been feeling more peace about it than I usually would.

It’s like the storm has settled enough that I’m now able to begin interacting with normal/real life again. And I have to confess, I’m not really sure what to do with it.

Things have been a bit intense over the past few weeks (maybe months), but after the extremes and intensity, I’m finding a new sense of equilibrium.

Stabilizing may or may not last long. I’m not sure. But God’s giving me peace about it in this moment.

He’s teaching me, and growing me. And it’s interesting to see this new part of myself emerging. I no longer have to hide behind what I do, or my creative outlets. But I can stand here confidently in the unknown, just being what He created me to be in this moment: Me.

No masks. No striving.

A pure and simple solution that has taken me so long to grasp. All I really need is to trust in Him. To be still enough to hear what He speaks in my silence.

Baby Steps

I’ve felt dry and stagnant for a long time now. Last weekend was truly refreshing, and something I desperately needed. There are highs and lows, all of them even out to a gentle hum that keeps my mind ever busy, never present.

I feel like I can’t articulate words or thoughts very well, and I’m not sure what I’m even doing with life half the time. Okay. More than half.

A busy weekend is coming up as I go back home to celebrate the first birthday of a close friend’s child. So much is missing from life, it feels as though everyone’s moving on without me, and yet my feet are glued to the floor, unsure how to step forward.

Do any of us really know what direction we wish to take? What direction would lead the best way? Maybe it’s okay to be uncertain. But what isn’t okay, is something I’m slowly realizing about myself.

I have so many self-doubts, so many fears, so many insecurities, I don’t know how to move forward in life. I stop myself halfway, I think because I’m afraid of succeeding. And yet, on the flip side, I feel so utterly alone and invisible sometimes.

But what I’m realizing is that I’m chasing idols to fill the void of a life I thought I’d have.

Things are good now, in many ways, but beneath the surface, I’m still broken, and sometimes falling apart in ways I can’t even understand. Maybe in losing the things I wanted, God is protecting me from something that I couldn’t understand from this vantage point. Maybe there’s a reason for the pain, the emptiness. Maybe, what I perceive as falling backwards, is actually a step forward, to have the life I truly want to lead.

Maybe, God still has a plan and is ever faithful through it all. As He leads me one step after another, will my heart be willing to surrender my plans, for future He wants to bring me to?

Hopeful Start

Last week was really hard for me. I was caught in a lot of overwhelm and isolating feelings, but this weekend something happened. God gave me exactly what I needed, and I find myself able to enter into this week with new hope, and a sense of peace and calmness that I didn’t have before.

My husband and I were able to just spend time together. Time I feel like we haven’t really had in a few months now. We went for a hike in the forest, and then we went on a spontaneous trip out, a little mini road trip.

These are the things that fill my soul. God uses nature, the beauty of His creation, time together, and the warm weather, to encourage my heart with His love and goodness.

I go into this week feeling full and refreshed. Finally able to grasp the rest that I’ve so desperately needed.

New Beginnings

We left the windows open last night. This morning I woke early to the cool summer morning air. There’s something peaceful and nostalgic about that feeling. Early mornings bring that to me in general. But this time, this time it was like I was walking in a dream.

I found myself able to explore some difficult things with curiosity, rather than fear. And even after journaling and processing, I still feel that sense of calm and peace.

It feels as though I’m entering into a new era. Some things have come to an end, other things are just beginning. I’ve been at this crossroads for so long now.

There’s a sadness at the end, a peace and calm, a stillness in the middle, and an excitement for where I’m headed.

I don’t know what the future holds. I don’t know where this life will lead. But once again, I’m finding hope as God fills my heart with encouragement that only He could give.