We’re about six weeks into 2020. Just far enough to move on from all the reflecting I did as I rang in the new year. Just far enough to start to get bogged down in the everyday demands of life. Just far enough to forget all the promises I made to myself as the new year began.
I have always enjoyed that time between Christmas and New Years. It’s kind of a no man’s land for me. I have time off from work. There is no where I have to be. I can sit, rest, and decompress. Then January comes and life seems full of possibilities. But by the time February rolls around, I find myself back to the grind at work, and I’m buried by all the demands that come with adulting. Before I know it May will be here, school will be out, I’ll take a week or two to breath, and then I’ll start preparing for a new school year. I’ll blink and another year will have passed.
I long for deep and genuine relationships with people and with God.
I can’t begin to count the number of times I’ve said I want to go out to lunch with a girlfriend or I really should call….fill in the blank….and see how they’re doing. I think about friends I haven’t talked to in ages and wonder what they’re up to. But I’m plagued with inaction. I’m an expert at making excuses. And if I’m honest, I’m a bit lazy, hoping someone will reach out to me first.
Many people start the new year by making resolutions, or setting goals. Others choose a word to focus on for the year. I personally like the idea of choosing a word for the year. Resolutions and goals, for me, are just too easy to break, and then I beat myself up for not staying the course. I’ve spent a lot of time the last few weeks kicking around words. Words that hold special meaning for me. I’ve tried to find a word that would both inspire me and guide me. A word that would drive me to be my best self.
Grace….Satisfied….Restored….are some of the words that have been marinating deep in my soul.
Grace is such a beautiful word. I have been shown such grace in my life by God and by others. But I have learned one of the most important things is to show grace to myself. I tend to be pretty hard on myself. Learning that I’m pretty a-ok just the way I am has been a journey.
Along the same lines is the word satisfied. I have been working and learning to accept myself just as I am. I am enough. I am satisfied with who I am. There is nothing more or less I could do to make God love me more. I don’t have to do anything extra.
Restored is the other word I’ve been thinking about. Restoration is a powerful thing. Taking something that is battered, scarred, and broken and making it like new is a miraculous thing. I’ve spent much of my adult life carrying scars from multiple traumas. I was letting those difficult and heartbreaking experiences define me. I have felt so blessed as I have worked to renew my mind and restore my heart.
I have come to realize that I get to choose what defines me.
These are all great words. There isn’t a bad one in the lot. But I’ve come to realize that as important as each of these words are for me, none of them are the right word as I venture into this new year.
I’m not naive. I know this coming year will still bring with it many stresses and experiences that I can’t even begin to contemplate right now. But my hope, when I come to the end of this year, is that my life will be fuller and richer because I choose to intentionally embrace this wonderful life I’ve been given.
I was asked to be a guest blogger for Living52. I was very honored to be given this privilege. They asked me to share my thoughts about what it means to be resilient. I wan't to share the post here too. Please checkout their website and like their FaceBook Page. Their initiative is impactful and moving.
I was 24.I was sitting in a doctor’s office. And I was desperately hoping that this doctor would be different. I was hoping he would finally have the answers I was seeking. You see, for the previous six months, I had been a spectator as my body carried out a mutinous attack against me. I had been to more specialist than I realized existed. I was searching for answers. I was watching before my very eyes, as my body deteriorated and betrayed me. The majority of these brilliant minds agreed that something was seriously wrong as they assessed my symptoms. But no one could put a name to the debilitating pain and fatigue I was experiencing. In late December of 1999 I found myself alone sitting in this doctor’s office hoping against hope that this doctor could finally put all the pieces together and explain why the body of a relatively healthy young woman was imploding.
All these years later, I still remember the doctor walking in and gently shaking my hand. He visited with me for about five minutes, asked me a few questions, and then he said, “You know you have Lupus, right?” As those six words washed over me, I quietly responded, “I know...I just needed a doctor to confirm it.” You see in that moment, I wasn’t upset or angry (that would come later), I was relieved. I was relieved to finally have an answer, a name. I was very much relieved to know I wasn’t crazy or losing my mind.
With those six words, my life drastically changed forever.
I won’t hesitate to tell you that my life has been hard, but I want you to hear this next thing very clearly--that doesn’t mean my life has been bad. As I thought about what I wanted to share in this post about resilience, I actually sat down and wrote out a list of all the notable traumas, difficulties, and disappointments I’ve faced in my life. The list was long. I won’t share them all--some are quite personal. However, they include major surgeries, multiple chronic illnesses, death, loss, and heartbreak. These things, these heart events, have shaped me into the person I am today. Because of them I am stronger, bolder, more tenacious. I love deeper, laugh harder, and fight more ferociously than I ever thought possible for the things I believe in.
I am a survivor. I am a warrior.
You can’t hide from the hard things in life. They have an innate ability to find us. But we have a choice in how we choose to handle those hard things. I absolutely refuse to let the difficulties of life overwhelm me. Trauma may shape who I am, but it does not have to define me.