I’ve been faced with so many decisions lately that have felt stifling and crippling – I’ve been so focused on how I can make the “best” decision which, to me, meant the decision that would ruffle the least amount of feathers of those around me. But these are decisions about ME, about MY life, MY future, where I want to go, who I want to be, and how I want to live. In reality, they aren’t life altering decisions – anxiety just makes them feel that way. I’ve realize that the power I give to those around me by being so fearful of their reactions or what they’ll think about my decisions, is far too great. Although, saying that is immensely easier than changing the actual thought process and beliefs behind it. But something has finally occurred to me:
I used to think I needed people to know who I am. I used to think I wanted strangers to wave at me on the street or stop me in the store.
But now I know I’ll be happier if I am the stranger, not the star. God has led me here with a passion and a purpose and I refuse to shy away from that. Am I scared? Most definitely. Will I allow that fear to cripple me and leave me feeling wounded and lost? Probably at different points along the way I will fall into that trap – it is a hard one for any of us to avoid 100% of the time.
The important thing is that I have a tribe of people standing behind me to catch me when I fall – to reach a hand into the pit and pull me out. I have a group of amazing human beings that I long to get to know better and whom I want to allow to get to know the insides of my heart as well. I’ve finally realized that these relationships are SO much more important and life-giving than a list of accomplishments. I have finally come to terms with the fact that, no matter what my resume holds, it will NEVER be enough because there will ALWAYS be someone out there who is better, smarter, and achieves more than I ever could.
We all have to decide what to focus on in our lives. We all have choices to make that feel crippling for a different variety of reasons. This summer I am choosing to be (somewhat) stationary. I am choosing to cultivate relationships, to discover more about the places surrounding me, to take more mini-day trips, to have a fulfilling job where I am doing something that brings me joy and makes me feel loved and valued, to pursue new friendships and nurse old one back to health. I am choosing to spend more time with my favorite pal, to write, to read, to play music, to take long walks. I am choosing to, as the young ones say these days, “DO ME!”
It looks different than I thought it would. It looks different that I would have ever planned, even 6 months ago. But, it looks amazing. Praise the Lord that we don’t all want the same things in life – that we don’t all pursue the same passions, the same goals, the same accomplishments. There would only be one winner if that were the case. Thank God there is so much more to our lives than being the one and only winner of this endless race. God has given me this internal passion and placed so many new things on my heart over the past year and I am just bursting at the seams to pursue them and to dive deeper into those pursuits.
I don’t want to live half-way. I don’t want to live by the book or bow down to the expectations of others – ESPECIALLY not if it’s solely in an attempt to keep the world around me happy and peaceful.
My childhood was filled with uncertainty – there was so much effort and emphasis put on avoiding conflict, avoiding arguments, appeasing those around me and what they wanted and thought they needed. I devoted so much energy into being a wallflower in my own home. I watched silently from the sidelines and tried my best not to make waves for fear of the emotions of others. Emotionally, it didn’t feel safe and that absolutely broke me. But what’s weird, amazing, and a hidden blessing is that such an immense amount of the pain that I experienced led me to a place of such powerful joy and peace. I am not happy all the time – I don’t need to be in order to still cling to the unshakeable joy and peace that God offers me.
I still really struggle with people pleasing, avoiding conflict, being a perfectionist, and the list could go on and on. I can’t say with certainty that I will ever live a life 100% free of those burdens, but I am more free today than I ever have been and that’s something to celebrate. I have one more final and a formal jury to perform and then it will officially be summer time for me and my pup.
I don’t usually ever say stuff like this because I was always taught not too, but I just want to say it: I am proud of myself. I am proud of myself for breaking out of the mold that my past put me in, my school environment puts me in, and society puts me in. I am proud of myself for pursuing my own thing, my own interests, my own dreams and passions. God has given me a heart for others and because of that – because of what He’s given me, what He’s placed within me, what He has called me to pursue, the doors that He has opened for me…because of all that, my summer looks beautiful. It looks unlike I could have ever envisioned and I am utterly thrilled and absolutely blessed to be pursuing the endeavors, the relationships, the learning experiences that God has placed before me these next 4 months.
Here’s to the coming summer, the coming years – the unknown future and to overcoming the fear the world surrounds us with. Satan wants nothing more than to have the fear he instill in us keep us from pursuing God’s passions and purposes for our lives. But I want so much more than an average, check list life. So here’s to learning more about myself, my passions, my talents, and my heart. Here’s to overcoming, to discovering, to adventure, new friendships, old friendships, and the pursuit of what fuels my soul.
Jeremiah 29:11 11For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
“It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live.”
― J.K. Rowling