Me too, friend. Me too.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve always wanted my life to be as stable as a math problem……
4 + 4 will always equal 8.
But, here’s the thing – so does 6 + 2, and 7 + 1. The method doesn’t look the same, yet we arrive at the same result. What am I learning? This life isn’t cookie cutter.
“Table for one, please.”
Is that a snide smile from the hostess? Did that couple just snicker and whisper behind their napkins? Is there anything more pathetic, for a single woman, than having to utter the words “table for one?” What I’ve come to realize is – having to ask that question says more about ME than it does about the people snickering from across the room. The real question is, why am I so concerned about what others think of me?
As long as I can remember, I’ve always dreamt of being a writer and owning my bakery. While most young impressionable girls were dreaming of finding their prince charming, having a fairytale wedding, ten kids, five dogs, and a house with a white picket fence, I envisaged graduating at the top of my collegiate class, opening my own business, leading charitable work, and becoming a powerhouse at baking scones and serving up my personal line of coffee. I had the perfect strategy on how I was going to accomplish all of that – by the time I was 25. THEN, I was going to get married, have my first child (a boy) at 27, my second at 29 (a girl), and live happily ever after on my ginormous farm. Ok, you can stop laughing now.
Seriously, stop. Ok, I’m laughing too, now that I say all of that out loud. Truly though, I know I’m not alone when I sit back and think – life just isn’t supposed to be this way.
The Sting of Disappointment
How’s that stable math working for me, you ask? Well……I’m almost 37, divorced, and the mother of a beautiful brown-eyed, strong-minded, 10-year-old diva, with the biggest dimples that God has ever created. Forgive me, I might be a little biased. She is the biggest challenge and the greatest accomplishment I could have ever imagined, all wrapped into one well-kept little package. I have a career to be proud of. It’s all not too shabby, BUT, my point is, it didn’t happen the way I anticipated and it doesn’t look the way I thought it should. It never does, and guess what…THAT IS OK.
I used to live in a world that only went in one direction: towards perfection.
The thing is, for so long, I tried to live MY plan; so, when things didn’t go my way, I got frustrated. I lost hope. I wanted to give up. I got angry. At times, I even questioned God. Through a lot of introspection and heart work, I realized that I had Godly expectations of human beings, mainly myself. I sought validation from the wrong places. I set the measuring stick high and when I didn’t meet the mark, I focused entirely too hard on who I wasn’t……so much so that I was missing out on the person I was at that moment. The person God created me to be. I was a depleted woman who quickly began to feel like a defeated woman.
I lost myself.
I lost myself, the day I forgot who I was in Jesus. I lost myself when I forgot to listen to words of wisdom from my mother. I lost myself when I forgot where I had come from and how hard I had to work to get there. I lost myself when I lost my perspective.
The day I found myself was the day that I found a relationship with God. Then I found a new thirst for life. I embraced what I once ran from. Having a broken heart is good. It means we tried for something. Failing is just a first attempt in learning something new. I stopped comparing my race to everyone else’s. I realized that in the midst of all that’s disappointing or heartbreaking in our lives, we can fix our eyes on all that seems to be going wrong or we can choose to purposefully praise God with a heart of trust. I’d rather rejoice in what is and what will be, than wallow in what isn’t.
I don’t want to endure life, I want to enjoy it.
I’m done sleepwalking. Life won’t be cookie cutter. It won’t be the way I want it to look. And sometimes, it might be painful, but I’m not in the business of striving for perfection anymore. I’m not interested in comparing everyone’s highlight reel to my reality. Life is messy. It is inherently risky, but there is only one risk that we should ever avoid, at all costs. The risk of doing nothing. I’m choosing intention over happenstance. I’m making space for the unknown future to fill up my life with yet-to-come surprises. I’m seeing with 2020 vision (see what I did there – ha!)
To the Momma fighting to make sense of life – I see you. I hear you. You are beautiful, strong, and loved.
To the Dad who doesn’t get credit for working behind the scenes to give his family everything they could want – You are appreciated, and your dedication does not go unnoticed.
To the young adult stumbling around, trying to find your place, in a world that is so judgmental – never forget that you are a human BEing, not a human DOing; and you are amazing just the way you are! Don’t give up!
Take a seat at life’s table. Embrace the struggle. Let your tribe love you. Enjoy the beauty of becoming. Are you allowing your situation to define you; or, will you rise above it and let it refine you? Never forget – when nothing is certain, anything is possible.