This post is for those of you out there who are finding some of these blog posts demoralizing; I wanted to apologize because that's not my intention at all. Maybe I need to share some more of the context of my journey.
About 6 months ago I found myself in a pretty good funk. I had been at this mothering thing for 6 years, I had three small kids, the days were blending together, I was trying to meet everyone's needs but my own. Coincidentally (is there such a thing?) at about the same time, my friends
Now a word about saying yes.
It's hard for me to separate it all out but at some point something in my brain switched and my attitude changed and I decided to try saying yes a whole lot more. (I am a play-it-safe kind of gal, not one to throw caution to the wind). Now I'm not talking about saying yes to meaningless commitments or to filling your life with a bunch of stuff that just makes you feel more empty. I'm talking about saying yes to relationships, to trying new things, to becoming who you were created to be.
You see, there are always about a hundred and one reasons to say no to something (lap swimming at 5:45am, anyone?) and sometimes - if you are lucky - there is one or two reasons to say yes.
Pick yes. Every time. Trust me.
A word about my
Some of these things I am attempting right now - the exercising and the cleaning in particular - are journeys I am on with other people. Honestly, I would not have stuck with either if I didn't have friends along side me - encouraging, laughing, crying, and ready to take my $20 if I quit.
I believe God created us to live in community; we are relational beings. Please don't try to do everything on your own. Ask for help. Speak up when you're drowning. Seek out people who bring you up; cut loose the ones who only drag you down.
At this point in my life I am blessed with some really great friendships, however, there was a time not long ago when I was pretty lonely. I had great friends through out high school and college and then after college, friends moved away to start new lives in other parts of the country. At the same time an important friendship crumbled in a very painful way. I spent about a year of my life being profoundly lonely. When I look back at that period of time and the years that followed I can see how God brought amazing friends into my life - friends I depend on on a daily basis. My home team.
Some of you may already have this home team in place - invite them along on whatever journey you dream of living out next. If you don't have a home team, this is a great opportunity to form one. Look around you. Don't be fooled, if you're feeling lonely, there are plenty of others around you who may be feeling the same way. Strengthen your bonds with your neighbors, your MOPS friends, your sister-in-laws or cousins.
Yes, you are going to have to put yourself out there. It will be a little scary but it just might be the best thing you've ever done.
Some thoughts on journeying.
"Life is a journey, not a destination." (Honestly I thought Aerosmith made this up, but apparently it was Ralph Waldo Emerson). The day you think you have arrived...well, that's a problem because I don't think you ever really arrive. It's not in the arrival - it's in the getting there. I know it sounds cliché, but everything that I have experienced in the past 6 months is just part of my journey, a chapter in my story.
God created me with a unique set of strengths and abilities, hopes and dreams. He has a plan and he's invited me to join the ride. It's my job to actively work towards becoming the person he created me to be, to learn from the path ahead of me, and to enjoy the scenery that surrounds.
I'm on my way somewhere and it doesn't matter if I ever arrive. It only matters that I started.
And some thoughts on perfectionism.
I came across this great quote this morning: "Striving for excellence motivates you; striving for perfection is demoralizing." I think God calls us to take an active role in this world, to do our part, to work towards things that bring him joy. I don't think God calls us to be perfect.
I'm not perfect by any means and our family isn't perfect. I know it's easy to read someone's blog and think they have it all together. In fact, it's quite the opposite. These blog posts and this journey were born out of the fact that I don't have it all together. I lose my temper with my kids. I don't always take care of the resources God has gifted me. I forget to look for the meaning, the beauty in the every day.
But I want to do better. Not perfect, just better.
And I guess that's my final word of advice: just start.
My running epiphany occurred when I realized that running is 99% mental. What had been holding me back were my own thoughts (you can't do that, it's too far, you're too tired). So I just shut up and set out (see also: saying yes), one step after another, not thinking about how far I was going or how fast I was going. The only goal was to start. The funny thing is that once I started I realized it wasn't as hard as I thought it would be and the joy I have realized for just starting has made it all worth it.
Life can seem overwhelming sometimes whether it's the thought of cleaning out the junk drawer or the idea of taking better care of yourself. Don't get hung up on the what-if's. Don't wait for all of your circumstances to come together (hint: it's never going to happen. You will be waiting a long time).
Say yes. Find friends. Enjoy the journey. Forget being perfect. Just start.
I'm not going to lie - it's a BIG leap of faith - but isn't that often how the best things begin?