grace and its possibility

grace.

grace is a concept I struggle with. I got my Monday morning email this morning and it talked about grace & and how to learn to give yourself grace when you fail because it matters how we talk to ourselves, especially when we have messed up. But not only am I terrible at giving myself grace, I’ve been bad about giving grace to others lately.

If I had written this a week ago, the focus of this post would be about how I have a terrible track record with giving myself grace. I am without a doubt my own worst critic, I am harder on myself than I am on anyone else but I also set expectations for people that are pretty near impossible to meet. I have the idea that if I can do things and put in all this effort than so can everyone else. Well everyone else is not me and that is not fair to put those expectations on others. And so I find myself caught in this cycle of not being able to give up those expectations and thus giving others grace.

It’s an ugly thing to constantly have the feeling of being let down and feeling like you care more because you know what you would do but then others don’t do as much so you think others don’t care as much. Thus, I always feel disappointed and no one cares about me. It’s a horrible cycle because not only am I not giving myself grace and beating myself up, I’m projecting the same thing onto others.

And so all this combined, creates negative relationships with others and myself and then I have the feeling of being unworthy and undeserving of grace and love from others because I’m terrible for placing those expectations where they don’t or shouldn’t be.

back to grace. grace is something I’ve been praying about a lot lately…grace for myself when I mess up and fail and giving that same grace to others. I have to accept that others show their love and care in different ways than I do and that doesn’t mean they care more or less than me, it just shows through in a different way. And I MUST learn to be give myself grace and stop beating myself up every time I don’t do something perfectly. This world and my life is full of mistakes and instead of constantly berating myself for those mistakes, I have to learn to let myself accept the grace that God so generously gives me. Accepting that grace is going to be a challenge but it’s something I have to focus on so that no only can I receive it but I can give it others who deserve it as much as I do.

along with the idea of grace, comes the idea of possibility and the possibility that someone else’s positive view of me can be true. and that one person’s view of me, that I’ve made up in my head I will add, does not mean it’s the Bible truth, ESPECIALLY because I made it up. I think for so many years, I had this idea that this friend saw me in such a negative light because of our interactions and now that I *know* it’s different, I still can’t accept it. I expect this mountain to move to prove that it’s different and that can’t happen because it’s never been different, I just have to look at it differently. If this makes sense to you, then great, because as I am typing it out, I still don’t think I understand myself.

I have to trust and believe that people who are in my life love me for all the good and the not so great parts of who I am. And when they tell me I’m something, I MUST believe them. No matter what. Some I believe more than others & I have NO idea why that is. But most importantly, I do matter and I am worthy of all the things I want to do and that even if someone’s opinion of me is negative, it doesn’t matter because I know I am good enough…God says so and if He does, then I shouldn’t argue with that. The not giving myself grace in ANY circumstance has caused this deep rooted issue of me feeling unworthy of anything good to happen to me. I don’t believe I deserve it so I continue to create situations and thoughts that just take me by the hand and lead me down that dark road.

These are ugly feelings and thoughts to be dealing with on a regular basis. It’s overwhelming knowing that I have the idea I don’t deserve grace or love from anyone but today, when the idea of possibility sunk in, it made me see things a little differently. I have the possibility to do whatever I want and be whoever I want and even when I continue to mess up and make mistakes, God will be there to remind me to give myself grace and that it’s ok and that I’m still good enough. This idea of perfection has got to go because it’s not reality, no matter how many times I tell myself otherwise. And when I finally live that out, then I will be able to give grace more freely to others.

Life isn’t easy and I’m not making it any easier by having this thought process and I’m ready to make the leap of faith. I have a feeling I’m going to like the outcome….

all my love…

new year, same perspective

normally at the beginning of a new year, I have all these hopes and dreams of what I want to do with my life in that year. It's a time for a fresh start, a new year, a new me. I tend to make this big, grandiose statement about the person I am going to be this coming year. Out with the old, in with the new. An excuse to start over of sorts.

This new year is a little different for me. I don't feel the way I have in the past. I don't want to start over. I want to keep doing and feeling the way I have in the last 4 months. I can't say that I was sad to see 2016 end. Part of me was because of all the amazing experiences I had with people I love and cherish & all the life lessons and strength I found within myself….that made 2016 wonderful. However, there was a lot of tough stuff that happened to me and to my family and while there is always that stuff, it seemed extra heavy in 2016. So in terms of that, I was ready for something new.

I've been feeling restless of sorts, like I need to make a big move for myself. Big, out of the box, different, and for me. I think with the experiences and what I've learned about myself in 2016, I need to make this big and different step in order to keep growing and learning and morphing into the best version of myself. I have come out of the last year with my head held high and holding onto this great hope for me and what my life will become and honestly, what it is already. And in order to keep that perspective, this big move needs to happen. What is this big move, you may wonder? I don't know yet. I just know I need to take a big leap.

I want to continue to be observant, be more present in the moment regardless of what's happening, loving on others, and learn to be more loving on myself.

For anyone that knows me, I'm really hard on myself. Like really hard on myself. I NEVER give myself a break, ever. I'm always pushing myself in every way humanely possible to be perfect and I think I have learned that I'm not and never going to be so if I loved myself more and talked to myself like I talk to my friends, I may turn out happier and be more content with who I am…which really is my ultimate goal.

And with that, I also want to be more present and more present with where I'm at personally with my life and well, really everything. I feel that in the past, I missed a lot because my mind was somewhere else entirely. I wasn't focused on the place I was in with family & friends or I wasn't present with my feelings in the moment. I tried to fight the feelings and fix myself (another point of being too hard on myself). And I just finally have learned how much I've missed out on by being that way. I realized my life will be passing me by if I don't change something, and soon. Having my mind be somewhere else and or fighting whatever it is I'm feeling just makes me more restless and unhappy.

I've been working really hard on both of these things and want to continue that work. I know it will not always be perfect but it will help me love myself more and be more appreciative of my life and everything and everyone in it. Life is about growing through changes and losses and challenges and I truly believe that's where we do the most work on ourselves and see the most growth, is in the tough times. We get to see what we're really made of.

2017 is going to be a year of keeping on the path I ended with in 2016. I'm looking to a year of growing to true contentment and peace with all aspects of life. It'll be a nice change from what the last 5 years have been.

Cheers to all that lies ahead in 2017….

 

the mess is the best

“You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, and how you will come out of it.”- Maya Angelou

I wrote this as my Facebook status 2 years ago….I had returned from a once in a lifetime trip & was feeling defeated I think. I am sure I was feeling down & out because the trip was over & I didn’t know how to deal with my feelings and process them in a healthy way. So I am sure I was overwhelmed and wanted to remind myself not to feel defeated no matter how tough it seemed at the time.

All the things have happened to me in the last 2 years….well, ok, maybe not ALL the things, but many things have happened–growing, learning and strengthening things. Tough things. Things I don’t think I ever thought I would experience. Life is so funny- you have this idea in your head of what you think it’s all going to look like & it pretty much turns out NOTHING like you thought it would. Yes, I’m 26 and have not lived as much life as many others but my life is not quite what I had envisioned and that’s OK. I used to fight it because I wanted to have this certain image that I showed to others. I wanted it things to be “picture perfect” and guess what? NOTHING is picture perfect. EVER. Life is messy and it hurts and it makes you want to give up. It’s made me want to give up, a lot actually. But the mess has been my biggest blessing. It has made me give up the need to have that perfect image because I would rather have the experiences I’ve had to allow me to grow closer to God. I feel more confident in the person I am and who I want to be & what I want because of the mess. The good times are good, they’re wonderful, they’re great, but the tough times are when you learn the most about yourself. Being able to look back on this quote now versus where I was 2 years ago- MAN, can I see such huge growth in myself. It’s encouraging to know that when I felt really low, I would come out of that time and  be stronger and more faithful. God has taught me so much trust & how to be faithful no matter what and while I know I don’t always have it together, I know He has me. I know He’s right there with me every step of the way on my journey, no matter what mess I find myself in.

to be

every Monday morning I get an email from hb. She is a 20 something who I felt this instant connection to her words when I received her blog 2 years ago in my email. They’re deep (do I like any other kind?!), mean something, get me thinking and praying, and always so welcomed on a Monday. This morning’s referenced another blog of a friend of hers and MAN was it JUST what I needed to hear this morning.

Melissa’s blog says:

“My tattoo means “Be where your feet are.”

A friend of mine used this phrase as her New Year’s resolution. “Be with the person who planted her feet on the ground today,” she had said. “Don’t walk away from that person…[This life] goes fast. And it’s unpredictable. And it can be cruel and graceless and then the next day remarkable. Choose to feel all of it.””

WOW. How powerful are those words?! Be where your feet are. Yes, I’ve heard that quote before but today, I heard it differently. I heard it loud and clear for the first time today. And it was so welcomed.

You see, I’ve been on this war path (it feels to me anyway, it’s been pretty intense) to feel a certain way and to “be ok”. It’s all I have wanted for the last 6 months or so and fighting with myself to get there has been really tough because I don’t give myself grace. I want to skip the journey part and just get to where I’m ok…and happy. Striving for happiness I feel is just this unattainable goal and frankly, hope I never get there. I realized I kind of love the journey part more. Over the weekend, I went on a trip with girls I’ve known most of my life. Parts of it were not fun but really, I walked away with the realization of how much I’ve grown and how much happier and content I am compared to where I thought I was. I saw the growth in myself but the mirror image of my past self where I wasn’t ok and wasn’t content with who I was. I realized I don’t really care what others think about me and I don’t need approval from anyone for who I am or where I’m at right now. Today when I read Melissa’s words, I thought “Yes, I need to be with who I am every step of the way…..don’t try to hurry it along because every moment is important to your growth and your journey.” It’s OK to feel sad sometimes and that makes the better and brighter moments that much better. And being able to see my struggle through someone else’s (as hard as that was) just made me incredibly thankful for how much I have grown.

The 2016 journey has been everything but easy and I was fighting the hard and the tough because I felt I had dealt with that long enough and when I let go of that expectation and just appreciated for where I was at, it’s made all the difference. The last few weeks have been so incredibly freeing for me. Letting go of that expectation and just BEING, wow. I hope I never lose that, ever. God has blessed and granted me with a pretty amazing journey and story so far and I know He’s got so much more planned for me. And I know I can and will get there…especially by just being me and feeling everything & not beating myself up over not being where I think I should be. He’s clearly telling me I’m not ready to be in whatever place I have dreamed up yet. Embracing the journey and each step and moment make the victories and the feeling of growth that much sweeter.

be. to be. being. It’s the most wonderful reminder. be. be confident, content, present, and free. be that and everything will fall into place.

These feelings will not kill you

this a beautiful way to describe precisely how I’ve been feeling over that last few weeks. It has been a truly wonderful gift & I could not feel more blessed to feel my pain and know it’s making me stronger and more beautiful person.

girl gone free

“Sometimes, when I’m positive I’m being crushed, it’s like I feel God grab my face in his hands and say to me, ‘I am here with you. These feelings will not kill you.’ And every time, I make it through. I survive.”

A friend said this to me on the phone the other day. She’s walking the painful road of recovery from an addiction, and she’s experienced all kinds of feelings of discouragement, loss and desperation in the months she’s been pursuing sobriety. These feelings aren’t new. But for the first time, she is choosing not to try to run from them. Instead, she sits with them. Maybe she asks the question: “Are my insides trying to tell me something? What might I need right now?” But mostly, she just grieves and cries and feels and trusts that God is not removed from her suffering.

We’re all addicts.

We’ve all…

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stop the lies

It’s amazing the power of thoughts. Your thoughts could be the biggest lie out there but if you tell yourself it over and over again, it will become the truth and nothing can be done to turn that around. That’s the problem I’m facing right now. I keep telling myself lies over and over again….and they’re mostly about myself.

Yesterday was one of those days where I just kept beating myself up and was giving myself zero grace. I felt like a failure at everything….my job, my friendships, my hobby, and then I felt like I was failing myself because I kept telling myself I was failing. Does that even make sense? No, probably not. But I was talking so much self doubt & worthlessness into my head that it was impacting everything happening around me. It was ugly and not fair to myself.

You see, I hold myself to this extremely high standard. For most of my life, I didn’t take risks or chances or make terrible decisions because I was afraid of the disappointment that would follow. I had a lot of examples of how NOT to be and I refused to make decisions that would put me in that category. I was so afraid of making those types of decisions that I didn’t live my life and do what I wanted….I was living for someone else or someone elses entirely. Then one day I decided to live my life for me and so I made a decision for me. It was a selfish decision on many levels but for the first time in my life, it was a decision that I was happy about and was for me. But because of taking that chance and making one of those decisions that would lump me in the category I forever wanted to avoid, I find myself long after, still beating myself up. Months and months later, and I’m still beating myself up. I’m telling myself how terrible I am and that God is punishing me for making that choice and that I’m getting what I deserved all along. And those terrible, awful thoughts just keep getting stronger and they’ve become the truth. And because of that, I have less self-worth and self-esteem than I did before (which I didn’t think was possible). I hate that the lies and that severe negativity has overcome my brain and that I genuinely think all those terrible things about myself. I am not allowing myself to be happy and be content and be confident and say, “yeah, I struggled through some of that but I came out on the other side stronger, happier, and a better person”. I feel like I’m never going to get to that place that I’m never going to be able to make it out of the tunnel….that all hope is lost.

I’ve been trying my hardest to embrace the journey and give my mind a break and give myself some grace but giving myself grace is something I’ve always struggled with. I owe myself to feel that grace and to feel good about the decision I made and don’t wish ill and bad things upon myself for making those decisions. Because I feel like every time I turn around, the bad things I feel about myself regarding this choice, are haunting me and that I’ll never be happy. And that is not a way to live, at all.

I’m posting this because I want to hold myself accountable to give myself the grace and happiness I deserve. Life will be ok and God is not punishing me…He’s teaching me lessons and skills that I will take with me for the rest of my life. I want to be happy and living my life the way I deserve to and not how the lies in my head tell me. God has blessed me with so much and instead of beating myself up about it, I will embrace, accept it, and keep going.

Death of a game player.

this post is truly inspiring and really gave me yet another “AH yes…so much truth in these words.” You should read.

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It was two summers ago. 2013.

I would have told you, in a nonchalant tone of voice, that I was “keeping my options open.”

He and I, we weren’t official. We weren’t much of anything at all besides a few dinners and a person to report back to at the end of the night. I knew that if we talked about it then the consensus would be mutual: This won’t go too far. And it’s okay if there are other people you talk to at night.

He was sweet though. Schooled me in enchilada-eating competitions. Took my hand at the movies. Sang (out of pitch and out of tune) right along side me in the car.

You could have thought the world of him. You could have told me he was certainly “it” but my conclusions were certain and drawn already: I knew I wasn’t going to date him long-term.

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