Hey friends. It’s been a while, huh? Have you ever reached a point in your life where you literally just said either out loud, or in your head, “Enough already!”? I know I have; sometimes I’ve said it while sitting in traffic for two hours, when it should have only taken me twenty minutes to get somewhere. Sometimes I’ve said it in a meeting when someone keeps harping on about something irrelevant. But, it’s when I say it out loud, when I really mean it. If you ever hear me say “enough!”, you know I’ve really hit my limit. There are a lot of things I want to say, but don’t, because a.) common courtesy/respect, and b.) I’ve been conditioned to keep my thoughts/feelings hidden in order to make everyone else comfortable. I’m starting to come out of the shell. Things I’ve had enough of:
1. Witnessing bullying of others. Mostly adults, and yes, adults can sometimes be the worst
2. Being the target of bullying. Overhearing people I know, love and trust talking behind my
back. “Let’s say we’re going to this place, because she doesn’t like going there, so she
won’t want to go with us. We can get away from her for a while.”
3. Being shunned by extended family, and being called names…and them thinking that it’s
perfectly acceptable to do that.
4. Verbal aggression. Name calling. Bullying. Threats.
5. Feeling worthless, undeserving, and unlovable.
6. Keeping things in. Feeling like I can’t speak for myself, or feeling like I can’t stand up
for myself. Newsflash: we all have the human right to stand up for ourselves in a respectful
7. Feeling physically ill trying to keep things in, trying to recover/repair and trying to find
Those are just a few things I’ve had enough of. Oh, and traffic. I really hate traffic. Like, to the point where I will take back roads to get places just to avoid traffic, even if it takes me longer.
Anyway, I think we’ve all been there. Some have recovered, some of us are in the thick of it, and some of us haven’t been there yet. Wherever you fall on that spectrum, let me say this: your tribe will be your biggest surviving tool. Take full advantage of your tribe, whether that’s family, a core group of friends, pastor, therapist, co-worker…whoever that is, keep them close. Call or text them when you find yourself slipping into that dark place. Sometimes just making a list of those you trust will help you. Create healthy habits for when you need a pick-me-up. Things that help me: a bubble bath with candles and zen music, putting on my favorite album and just letting myself get lost in the music, calling up a friend and talking for hours, writing (I’ve actually gotten back into the songwriting, and oh man, the songs that are coming out!), exercising, praying, and meditating. You can even create a little (or big!) box for those moments where you really need a pick-me-up. You can put in uplifting mantras, candles, tissues, a blank journal to write in, incense, note cards to write to someone (hint: yourself), your favorite movie or album, photos that make you smile. Put some positive mantras on your bathroom mirror. I know these are not always surefire ways to work all the time, but they can help. If you are a friend who is helping someone currently through something difficult, here’s what you can do: just be there. You don’t need to do anything grand or go above and beyond. A simple three word text is sometimes all it takes: I love you. I appreciate you. Or, even two words: I’m sorry.
I’ve been in this journey the last few months of re-discovering myself. Who am I? What do I want? What do I need? First of all, who I am is not who the world (or anyone in it) declares me to be. I’m not shy. I’m not anxious. I’m not too this, or too that. I’m not broken. I’m not messed up. I’m not unlovable. Who I am is who God says I am: loved, accepted, whole, chosen, forgiven, free, renewed, born again, not ruled by fear, unbroken, joyful, rescued, redeemed, healed, greatly loved and have a place to belong. Sometimes I believe those things, sometimes I don’t. But, one thing that I’ve learned is when I start to believe the lies of the enemy, and what others try to tell me, I think about what God asks me: “Who told you who you are? Me or them? And who will you believe?” No one will be standing with me when I die, and when God asks me that. No one will say on my behalf, “well God, you know, I bullied her and said some mean things to her, so cut her some slack.” No. It will be me and Him. Who He says I am: those are my credentials. My credentials are not the letters after my name, or what I do for a living. It’s high time that I put my faith into action and believe in who God says that I am, and no one else. I’ve had enough of people telling me who I am. You want to make fun of that and judge me for that? Ok! Have fun!
Just because someone says they had a “worse” childhood/adulthood than you, or they’ve been through “worse” than someone else, does not invalidate what YOU have been through. You have the right to those feelings, those experiences and you have the right to talk about those. It doesn’t make you selfish or a “victim”. It makes you human. It makes you vulnerable, and until recently, I hated that word. But, when you’re vulnerable and you talk about your experiences, it creates a safe place for others to do so as well. One of my favorite authors/speakers, Brenѐ Brown, put it this way: Think about applying for your dream job. You don’t really tell anyone because you don’t want to look foolish if you don’t get it, and then you will feel like you have to put your tail between your legs and feel like a failure. If you don’t get the job, your friends will say “oh well. You didn’t really seem to want it anyway.” But, you really did want it! You now don’t have the support you want. Or, if you DO get the job, their reaction could be “oh well, you never even mentioned it, so I didn’t know you were even excited about it.” But, I was! And I am! Again, you don’t get the support you were hoping for. Be open. Be real. Be honest. Most importantly, be YOU! You are NOT who the world says you are. You are not broken. You are not depressed, anxious. You are beautiful, full of so much amazing potential. Believe in yourself and what you are capable of. I know one person who believes in you, even if you don’t: me.
One more thing I will leave you with. Picture your inner child. For me, it was when I was really little and being bullied. Now, think about what you needed as your inner child. Did he/she need love? Forgiveness? Comfort? Realize that this little you is the most important relationship of your life. Tell that little one that you love him/her, and that you are sorry for not being there for him/her when they needed it the most. Close your eyes and imagine yourself sitting either in front of him/her or next to. Put your arms around them and tell them that they are safe now, loved and can truly be who they wanted to be. Free. Giggling. Giddy. Creative. Dreaming of the impossible. Tell them that it’s ok to be excited about life. That you are now there for them, and will never berate them, punish them, abuse them anymore. You are now a team, and you will do whatever loving thing you can to make them feel safe. Hug them. Put your hands on their little face and smile at them. Now, go…live your life giddy. Giddy is my word because that’s how I used to be. I love being giddy and enjoying the little things in life. It really doesn’t take much to make me happy (Arby’s, anyone?!). So, find that word for yourself, and go live today. And you know what is enough? YOU. Say it to yourself: I am enough!
Here is the little me from way back in the day. You can tell how old this photo is by the clothing I’m wearing. THIS is who I am fighting for. THIS is who I am apologizing to. THIS is who I am defending and loving. This is me.
What I’m listening to:
“You Say” Lauren Daigle
“Who You Say I Am” Hillsong Worship