Thursday, December 25, 2014

Lessons :: Christmas Ghosts, Goals, and Grace

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It was my baby's first December and, quite selfishly, I'd wanted it to be special. At three months old, it's not as if he'd know what was going on, or even remember or care -- but I wanted it to be special for me, for my little family, for all of us. Because I would remember, and I wanted that memory to be a good one.

Then, two weeks before Christmas, we realized our holiday hopes wouldn't come to pass. We'd hit another bump -- no, another wall, and it was casting a dark shadow over our lives. There would be no tree; there would be no candles; there would be no paper packages tied up with string, and there would be no stockings on the mantle. There would just be us: messy, beautifully broken us.

And really, that should have been just fine. Because even if my season did look like a Pinterest board, we would still be us. When the needles fall and the lights are taken down and the ornaments are boxed away, all that remains is the people that put up those decorations in the first place.

We have each other. And maybe, this year, that's enough.

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My word for 2014 was PRESENT -- so, every moment, I choose not to dwell on the past or focus too much on the future. At the risk of sounding cliche, though, life was crazy these last 12 months. There were a lot of transitions, fresh starts and new beginnings. Some things were easy and some things were hard... and it was all worth it. I'm truly happier than I've ever been.

On the flipside, the negative, nagging voice inside of me says things, like I'm almost 30 and should be able to afford my own place; I'm drowning in debt and choosing not to have a "normal" job is irresponsible; I'm a fool for thinking I can start a life coaching business without any formal training; I'm a shitty mother for focusing on my own dreams instead of planning for my son's future; and so on and so forth.

You know, fun stuff like that.

I'm not a naturally happy person, folks. I've said it before and I'll say it again: I've had to work to get to this point through years of therapy and self-help books. It's much easier for me to not be positive. But I choose to be, because I refuse to live life in a bad mood. That would be a waste. And I know I'm not the only one who has a difficult time seeing the glass half-full, which is why I do what I do.

The problem is that sometimes it's hard for me to discern whether it's my depression talking or if I'm actually just being reasonable. The bigger problem is that sometimes it's both.

Which is why I'm choosing GRACE for 2015. Grace for others, but especially, grace for myself. I'm going to give myself some leeway, cut myself some slack. I'm going to take responsibility for my actions and take the proper steps to change what needs repairing, but I'm also not going to be angry with myself for the times when I slip up, because I'm doing the best I can. We all are.

I don't believe in failure, but I do believe in lessons learned. And there's no point in learning those things from the past unless we apply them to the future.

I am not a victim. I have power over my life. And so do you.

To live loudly is to reclaim that power.

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I guess I just never saw myself in this position. I mean, I saw myself as a full-time writer. And I'm doing that. It's a dream come true. But when I was 10, I thought I'd be world-famous by my 27th year.

It's okay that I'm not world-famous, though. I'm not rich. I'm not on the best-seller list. I'm not living in a penthouse suite in Downtown LA. In fact, I don't even want that anymore. I don't need fancy things, but there are things that I do want that I can't have. Basic, normal stuff. Like new clothes that fit, and some savings for my kid's college fund, and a car that isn't about to break down.

We're moving on and up, but slowly... oh so slowly. Every time I take a step forward, it seems that I fall two steps back -- in every area of my life. I know that I don't suck, but sometimes I feel like I do and just need to be reminded that I'm wrong. And sometimes, I feel like a big fat loser, though mostly, I'm proud of myself. I have so much freedom with my days and that's priceless.

I guess I'm just a whole mix of emotions and I never know if I'm doing the right thing.

Christmas is an emotional time, I think, for everyone.

I'm ready to forgive, though. I'm ready to forgive my former self for putting too many expectations on her future self. I'm ready to forgive my fake future self for not existing. I'm ready to forgive my current self for not being everything I want her to be. I'm ready to love myself for who she is, was, and will be soon.

I'm ready to stop depending so much on myself, and I'm ready to follow God more.

Because only He knows what's next.

Sometimes, to be a leader, you need to be a follower first.
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