A Spoonful Of Courage

Today I am choosing vulnerability. Today I am choosing to admit that I am both sad and scared. I have been so busy running across the country and traveling, packing, unpacking, cramming as many people and places into my poor, mangled, daily planner as I possibly can. Today, I had the chance to look at the mess I’ve created (they say when packing it always gets messier before it gets cleaner, right?) and I realized how heavy things have gotten lately.

I will tell you that I have this business type of facade about me sometimes. I can get so caught up in being professional, acting like I have it all together and like my life is perfect…it’s more of a defense mechanism than anything else. But today, I am emotional. I am exhausted. I am sad and apprehensive. I am overwhelmed.

I know all the right things to say. I have quite a few of the answers to the questions people ask. But am I where I want to or need to be? Nowhere close. I still have moments of deep, deep insecurity. I still struggle with nightmares periodically, flashbacks, unexplained emotional slumps. I still question God’s love for me and how he could ever forgive a sinner like myself.

There are moments when all the engrained coping mechanisms and habits that I formed growing up – the ones that simply helped me survive day to day, come roaring into my life like a lion. They come rushing into my world and knock me over. You’d think I’d get better at seeing them coming, by now.

I am not who I want to be. I feel guilty, sad, scared, and at times very ashamed about this. I will admit that I am worlds away from who I used to be, and I have ZERO intentions of going back there. But I am not where I want to be or feel as though I should be. And I’m sharing this because something in my gut is telling me that I am not alone in these frightfully powerful emotions.

I’m trying really hard to work on erasing the idea that I have that there is something the matter with me. I believe that we all need to delete the notion or thought process we have that tells us that we are unlovable. We need to take down the walls and the defenses we’ve put up and we need to give up the obsessive belief that we have some sort of personality flaw that stops others from loving us.

In my own life I need to be able to look back with perspective. I need to accept that, although I never was, never am, and never will be perfect…the problem wasn’t me. The people and the relationships that I gave my heart too – the vulnerability I placed trust in in the past – those people took my young, impressionable heart and tarnished it. It is not me who is unlovable and “wrong” but it is the other painfully broken relationships in my life who are incapable of accepting the love I have to give and incapable of providing the love that I needed and need.

The reality is that if ANYONE makes you feel like you aren’t good enough, it is THEM that’s not good enough.

Sometimes (a lot of the time) I carry immense guilt and shame over allowing these relationships to derail my life…I allowed certain people to have power over me in ways that they had no right too and I allowed their emotions, issues, and behaviors to run my path and direct my future. Some days I am afraid of my past – afraid of any glimpse in the rear view mirror. But some days I am able to look back with gratitude

These issues, these struggles, this fight that my entire life has felt like it’s been…these are the things that shaped me into who I am today – for better or for worse. It’s hard for me to accept that I took the scenic route in becoming the girl that I am today. Ends up, most of us take the scenic route at some point or another. But the truth of the matter is that there was (is) no rush in becoming who we are meant to be – there is no time line or limit on the ways that God uses to mold our souls.

My soul is explosive. But courage is having grace under fire. And one of my greatest longings in life is to learn to be courageous. To be courageous means to be able to embrace my own being and the heat of my own fire – to learn not to immediately try to extinguish my own flames, but to let them fan out, spread, and light up the lives of those around me in the best ways possible.

There aren’t words to adequately express my gratitude for all the love and support people have offered me in my life, especially during the last 3 years. But maybe it’s time that I quit trying to “pay back” people’s love that they’ve given me. Maybe it’s time that I accept that they aren’t always offering it with expectations that it be immediately returned or equaled with something of the same or greater value. Maybe it’s time that I stop being skeptical of the people lifting me up and instead enjoy the view from where I am when I feel safe in their arms.

I’ve had trust issues for the majority of my life and it’s not often that I let someone past the “business facade” part of my being. But my goal for this semester which is fast appraoching is to try each and every day to be more “present”, to feel my emotions for what they are – knowing that they are temporary, to accept myself, but to never quit embracing change, and to do one thing every single day that makes me feel courageous. I challenge you to do the same.

And reader, please know that you are loved. You have intrinsic worth that nothing and no one can ever take away.

Confront the dark parts of yourself, and work to banish them with illumination and forgiveness. Your willingness to wrestle with your demons will cause your angels to sing.”
August Wilson

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Have enough courage to trust love one more time and always one more time.”
Maya Angelou

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