Andy and I recently returned from an unexpected cruise with some of our besties. It was a life-changing experience! I will always look back on the week as the launching pad of self-discovery. I learned so much about myself; things I never really knew, much less implemented in my everyday living. Now, when you read my list of discoveries you may be less than impressed. In fact, I wager that many of you find the discoveries to be rather normal. That makes complete sense, because I have never really been normal.
- I like to read, and I am a GREAT reader! I read 3 books – each over 400 pages long – in one week time!
- I like to sunbath. I tried a tanning bed once in high school. I felt like my innards were frying, so I never entertained the thought again. I know they are totally different, but somehow I have lived my life as though they were the same. Who knew I would love soaking up the sun so much!
- I like to work out at the gym. Who knew all it took was a buddy!?! I am now taking applications for a workout friend, since Charity lives all the way in Arkansas. L
- I enjoy alone time. Being the oldest of five kids, alone time was never part of my life or vocabulary. Give me an hour or two alone, the sun, a few books and I become a new person!
- I am low-key. I prefer calm over chaos any day. I really had no idea. I have lived in chaos always.
A few months prior to the trip I sensed the Holy Spirit pulling the wool from my eyes. It took time for my eyes to adjust and get the full scope of who I had become in light of who I was created to be. I have to say, the reflection hasn’t been a beauty to behold. I am that person. You know the one; the person who lists work as their hobby, who lives in a constant state of stress because there is something somewhere that must be taken care of by none other than me, who is constantly anxious at the thought of dropping the ball and disappointing the team, who…well, you probably get the picture. I realized that I must own the fact that I have never known what it is like to rest, much less know life apart from stress.
It is scary to remove the mask, no matter how destructive it is to wear. I found value in how hard I try to please other people. If I succeeded, then I gained even more value. If I failed, I was a failure. Life as I knew it was an adrenaline rush from one authority figure to the next. I was addicted to the highs and lows of idolizing people. My life was wrapped up in this façade. That isn’t the worst of it! Because I was so consumed by others and their perception of me, I didn’t even make space for learning who God created me to be.
So now, I find myself in this season of discovering the simplest of truths. It requires courage to leave behind all you have ever known, especially when it comes to self. There is security in the pain. There is familiarity in the self-deprecating. There is routine in the disappointment. To leave it all behind in order to chase freedom requires courage. And courage is scary. Courage is charging ahead at all cost. Courage is gaining ground when you have no idea what lies ahead. Courage is embracing destiny when you are not the author. Courage is the most terrifying and exhilarating characteristic in the world. It cannot be tamed and it cannot be ignored. It is a force to be reckoned with. Courage is undeniable, especially if you are going to grow beyond where you have been and who you have become.
This Thanksgiving is unlike any other I have ever known because I am most thankful for divine courage that compels me beyond self. I am no longer masquerading behind perception. I am courageously discovering who I am so that I can become all God has destined me to be. I am thankful for courage to implement these few discoveries and explore those still hidden. I am thankful for this courageous life to chase normal living, of which has been abnormal…until now!
This Thanksgiving, be courageous and live free!