Ever have those moments when you know you are totally doing incredible, and yet, your mind just won't let you accept it (I am sitting here, almost hearing the verse, "Be still and know that I am God)? I am so incredibly happy and content with where life is today, but feel like I have been in a mind battle since I left my connect group last night. I am working so hard to accept myself as I am, with a few areas in desperate need of a little positive change. I am ready to acknowledge that it isn't always easy, and it definitely isn't what I planned, but to be calm and thankful regardless. I feel so full with the things I have. Those moments in life that just make me want to sit back and just rest. While I completely understand that there could always be more to be thankful for (and probably wouldn't refuse it), I really am good with the things I have.
We talked a lot about common lies that we accept so easily as truth last night in the connect group. Just accepting any one's casual negative (or positive, really) word as truth over our lives. So often, I find myself focusing on that one negative criticism of me or the girls in a sea of positivity. I have been really thinking about the things that this study is doing for me and so many others today. All of that talking has left me with a lot of over-thinking ., evaluating the ways I could improve, pray harder, write neater, be prepared a little more ahead of time. I was really nervous last night, for some reason, even though I was really excited with the words I knew God had spoken into me. I was a little bummed, because I felt so off my game last night. However, sometimes I think we all need to be reminded that even when we have it all together, life is unpredictable, and not feeling totally like you are capable, confident and prepared will be okay, if you take the right steps. I have found myself really talking to God about almost silly things lately, and yet, in those silly oh-my-gosh-did-I-really-just-pray-that? moments, I realize that need to communicate with him is exactly what he wants from me. I have been really evaluating things in my life I need to let go of, and things I need to use for a different purpose. In all of these things, I came to a few things in particular.
I know that something I struggle with is acceptance, with a few different meanings. I hate the fear of rejection to the point that I will do things a different way than I want for as long as necessary because I am afraid of being told no, or that I am wrong. I just want to fit in, be that person that is okay, even when she isn't. You know, hide those parts that aren't fit for anyone else, so that they don't realize how crazy I am? Not only do I struggle with being accepted by others, I struggle with accepting things from others, whether it be help, support, love, and even simple advice from others around me. I want these things, yet still struggle with being able to admit I need these things from others. Totally sounds silly, and yet I struggle.
I was thinking (over-analyzing, really) a conversation I had, frustrated that I shared vulnerabilities in such an easy-going manner. Honestly, I was really almost mad at myself that I had allowed someone in, seeing me for who I am, instead of who I should be and want to be. This afternoon I came to the realization that it wasn't only weakness that was coming out of me, but embracing the weakness and accepting it is part of what makes me who I am. Realizing that while I see it as a weakness, others around me may be seeing it as strength. While it doesn't sound like much, it felt huge for me.
Part of my struggles with acceptance come from carrying the shame and guilt of so many mistakes I have made. While I am not ready to go into detail about the ins and outs of my mistakes, I had sudden clarity today. I have viewed my divorce as a failure. It was a marriage failed, the dreams and hopes I had within it failed, sheltering my kids from pain and difficulties, again failed. I was really thinking about some things off and on today, just trying to process things. I realized that while I have accepted where God wants me to be, am doing my best to walk it out the way I believe he is telling me to, and really am happy with where I am in my life, I haven't accepted that when he forgave me of my past mistakes, he forgave it all. He doesn't expect me to go back and fix them, maybe try again - harder, longer and with success or perfection.
I have this vision in my head, well, sort of a cartoon vision, because it is definitely not a Bible vision... :) Anyway, God is sitting there, writing the story of my life out. Seeing my creation, birth, childhood, placing dreams and desires in there, and seeing this marriage and this "failure to thrive" in it. He has this book in his hand, with my name on it, and he is writing me into existence. Placing situations in it, to strengthen his bond with me, challenging me to do the things he needs from me. This "failure" that I see, he sees as the plan for my life. Why is it that I keep thinking I have totally messed up his plan for me? He knew I would do the best I could do to keep my marriage alive. He knew I would reach out to him, ask him for guidance, and that one day, my story would be used for his glory.
This morning, I casually (well, really not casually, because I explained myself thoroughly before I said it) explained that if I had made God choices for the last 12 or 13 years of my life, I could have done so much differently. I could have been such a better person, I thought. While I may not have the exact people I have in my life right now, I would have others, probably that might do the same things. As the day has progressed, those words have pierced my heart and my mind and have really caused me to think about whether or not I really meant those words. Sitting here, I realize those words really weren't true. I have felt for so long like I needed to make these mistakes up to God, reconciling my errors with God, kinda like a do-over. As I have really been thinking about these things, I realize, when God forgives me for something, it is wiped from the record. Gone. I am not saying it is okay to go do crazy stuff, but I am saying the mistake I made and asked forgiveness for? Gone. Like never happened kind of gone. I have to realize the only thing I can do with my past, present and future is hand it all back to God and ask him to reveal day by day, the part of that story he wrote out in my life book for that one day. My past will be used to touch people. The healing from so many years of abuse will show others it can be done and strengthen them in their dark days. My present situation raising three girls without a Daddy in their everyday life will be part of their testimony, instead of a hindrance to their lives. My future? It is going to be grand, not sure where it is going, how long it will take to get there, but I do know God is in control of it. The girls' future? I am sure it will be even better. The past is the past. God doesn't expect me to go back and fix something I messed up, because he has already forgiven and forgotten all about it.
I am really really excited about knowing that I can walk confidently through my day, knowing yesterday is done, and tomorrow is a long way off. I only have to place today in God's hands and know that he has it covered. Praying God will daily remind me it is his confidence in me that makes me strong enough to do this.
When I started this post, I really wanted to say how poorly I handled my mind today, by over-analyzing a simple conversation off and on throughout my day. But the feeling I have right now is so not over-analyzed. It is simple. It is peaceful. And, I am going to rest in the truth that I can embrace it. I can embrace the past, just like I can embrace right now and tomorrow. My past doesn't define who I am today, or it would be my present. And, thank God, it isn't. With all of that said and thought through, I am going to shut this thing off and go to sleep...