” Don’t mistake Gods patience for His absence. His timing is perfect, and his presence is constant. ” – Unknown.
Lets face it. We all have them.
They go hand in hand as we make the conscious decision to sacrifice our own happiness and beliefs to please others or if we are going to choose to stand up and be our own selves with no fear of what others may think or say.
I have allowed expectations of others, along with my own for myself to wear down, cause me to question, and destroy my joy. I’ve allowed expectations of parents to cause doubt in my ability as a mother. I have enabled societies expectations of my body size to break down my self confidence as a person……as if my body size impacts who I am and whether or not I am enough or deserving of love, friendship, and success. I have let myself become disappointed and crushed in spirit when I have failed to live up to my own dreams of where I should be.
To say I have been struggling with all of these things in the past few weeks would be an understatement….because the truth is I have felt more of a mess, and more of a hypocrite then I had ever felt before…
I began to watch myself take one step closer and ten steps back as I allowed myself to blame God for the short comings in my life….for the not-lived-up to expectations. As I seen my dreams and what I thought of as my success crumble around me I began to be frustrated with God for not giving me my “deserved gold star”…..my reward for fighting the fight. When the reality of it is he owes me nothing……
Faced with a a huge disappointment, family health scares, and a marriage ready to give way under the stress of it all I was forced to realize that maybe my happiness wasn’t the result of others opinions about who I was or the ability to live up to their expectations, but was because of my God….that the one who matters most knows who I am even better than I know myself. That my joy was not dependent on someone else meeting my expectations for them or for our relationship, but only on me and where I was with my relationship with God.
My expectations for others and for my life was another attempt at controlling my own life…my own outcomes. This past week I fell completely apart as if the build up from Audreys death, stress, and chaos had finally caught up with me. I felt not good enough, lost, and afraid as I began to lose what I had worked so hard to accomplish. My perspective wasn’t able to change until I realized that not only was God not to blame, but that just because I believed… didn’t mean I got the easy way through this life.
Last night I made the conscious decision to let go.
I opened the door to my car and stepped on to the wet cold sand with a paper in my hand. I visited the place that is like a second home. The place where I feel closest to my sweet Audrey, the place where I can scream and yell and cry out over the water and no one can hear me….the place where I often find peace. Oh how I needed it. It was dark…pitch black, and the cold November wind stung my face with each step I took closer to the sound of the crashing waves. I realized that even though my life felt dark at that moment that it did not mean the beauty wasn’t there. That I may not be able to see it right now, but that when the darkness turned into day those same crashing waves….that same beauty of the ocean that I loved so much would still be there. It was constant.
When I reached the freezing water I placed that paper right down in to it. A paper that read one word.
I watched as the waves began to crash over it on the sand and the word started to fade. Maybe, just maybe living my best life had nothing to do with having the best things. Living your best life meant having a heart of love for others, it meant offering that “gold star”….. that encouragement to others while expecting nothing in return. It meant offering the same grace and forgiveness in relationships that may not be offered back. My worth had nothing to do with my material possessions or my physical appearance, but has everything to do with who I am as a person. With who I am as a woman of God.
As I breathed in a long deep breath of sea salty air, I’ll never forget that feeling of some thing washing over me….beating away the sense of failure and leaving behind a sense of peace.
Just like that.
Expectations behind me, and life before me.
A life lighter…a life fuller but freer.
This morning…..I am replacing expectations with encouragement. I am choosing to not dwell on my failures but on my success. Today I am choosing to choose joy.
Because I am worthy.
Because I am loved.
Because when I am lacking faith and joy, I am unable to offer it wholly to anyone else.
Because this….this is me, trying to live my best life.
Isn’t that what we are all trying to do?