Sunday, April 22, 2018

Breaking Free

There have been two times in my life when I felt as if the universe was guiding my soul and circumstances in a way that was not under my control.

The first was five years ago when I came back to drawing.

The second is happening pretty much right now as I type this, and has been ruminating for almost all of 2018 so far.

Everything feels a bit like it is floating in a holding space, between the now and the what is going to be, and I'm just waiting for the second gate to open and let me through. 

Meanwhile God is sending me some stellar growth opportunities.

That last line was written with a bit of sarcasm, because GOODNESS. I'm spent.

Now is the time when I need to admit I had gotten myself to a very cranky place. And when I say cranky I mean bitter, annoyed, frustrated...all of those emotions we are taught to hold inside, mask with a smile, work through with a few encouraging images shared from Pinterest. I've been trying that last one and it does help a bit. 

Funny thing about God and the universe is that sometimes when you are begging for mercy, it comes in the exact opposite form you were expecting. 

For me, mercy has looked like two weeks full of challenging situations...using my voice, speaking up for myself and for others, facing hard truths, and stepping into my fullest potential. 

It has been EXHAUSTING and at the same time EMPOWERING.

You feel like you are facing it all alone. And at times you are. But I've also had friends stand up for me, take my hand and say, "I'm with you," thank me for having the courage to speak up. 

I even got a "That took guts!" which I have never, ever in my life been told. 

I have guts?! 

Surely they were mistaken.

But you know what? Turns out I do. They've been in there all along. 

The five-year-old who used to hide behind her mother's legs at church. 

The early twenty something who quit more than one job because she was terrified of failure. 

The girl who dropped an art class in college because she couldn't stand anyone watching her draw. (I know, right?!

She had guts. She didn't know how to use them yet, but they were already there. 

And the funny thing about using your guts is they multiply exponentially super fast with each use. Kind of like eating Grape Nuts cereal. You take one bite, and it's replaced with two more. 

The supply just keeps building, cheering you on from the conference room, the art table, the coworker's office, the email inbox. 

I was on the treadmill yesterday morning thinking about the past few weeks and shedding a few tears, (exercise is emotional you guys) and quickly typed up this list of instructions that helped get me through...

  • Speak up
    • Even when it is hard. Especially when it is. 
  • Lean in
    • Don't run away from the hard stuff. Know that it is helping you grow.
  • Hold on
    • Tight. To whatever you know is true and good in your life. The people, the feelings, the experiences.
  • Power down
    • Rest. Relax. Do what you need to do to regroup.
  • Zone out
    • Sometimes you have to escape from all of it, even for a few minutes. That's OK! Turn off your mind, take a nap, meditate, eat a pint of ice cream. Whatever works. 

*May I suggest 4 & 5 be done appropriately with your favorite Netflix show, your comfiest pants, and whatever comfort food fits your mood at the moment. 

Here is an illustration of me powering down, you know, for visual reference.

The lesson in all of this is I'm right where I need to be. And you are too. 

Life being hard and challenging doesn't have to mean you are stuck. 

Sometimes it is giving you the opportunity to break free. 

So a little recap for us all:

  • Use those guts God gave you
  • You are not stuck
  • You are right where you need to be
  • You are breaking free

You got this.



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