I feel like that title is a little misleading. I guess you could say I feel that way because when I mention the word hard in the title it should actually read “really hard like can’t get outta the bed and you feel like you’re dying and you’ve lost it all…hard”. The past year was pretty rough for me.
It's been a year since I've written anything not related to my book. (which is set for a February release, BTW-hooray!) The blog and biz have gone through tremendous ups and down and our personal lives saw more change in 2017-18 than I even have room here to mention. I had so many plans for what I wanted to do with the blog, with life, with my family, with my husband, with friends and then it seemed life had it’s way with me. Admittedly, for a while, I wasn’t sure I’d survive it. From health issues to what I’d dub as nearly depression, I’ve survived my fair share of ups and downs that have done their best to kill me. By the grace of God, I stand. I press. I keep moving forward. Not out of obligation or responsibility but because I made a decision a long time ago that there is really just no other way to live.
I've questioned a lot over the year. "Have I lost my touch?" "What am I supposed to be doing right now?" "Is blogging still something that's meant for me or am I done?"
When it comes to my creativity I've learned over the years that life circumstances play a major role in just how inspired I may be on any given day or even from month-to-month. I've also learned to ride the wave because typically, when the tide of creativity goes out, it tends to come right back in if you ride it long enough.
I took some time to rest. Okay, so maybe I was forced into it but I digress. Sometimes forced rest is just what we need which is why I guess it has to be forced. I'd like to think God has a way of reminding us of what we need. Albeit gently, He relentlessly and passionately gives us just what we need to ensure we are just where we need to be when we need to be there.
Sometimes I'd like to arrive faster. I'm sure I'm not alone in that. Most of us live our lives searching for the meaning of life and running after what we believe to be our purpose.
I'd say this past year looked less like a search and more like a peace in knowing that my purpose, regardless of what it may look like or how I may be fulfilling it, is and always will be found in Him. In an effort to not sound like a motivational speaker or a “got it all together” guru, I’d like to couple the aforementioned truth with, well, more truth. Knowing that your purpose is found in Him and KNOWING your purpose is found in Him are two completely different things and sometimes (read: 99.9% of the time) easier said than actually done.
I'm not sure what life looks like for you right now but if you're reading this and nodding your head as you scroll, this is for you. I'd like to offer you bit of encouragement as I ride this wave of certain uncertainty and take hold of hope right along with you: you're gonna make it through. I will go even further to say that not only will we make it through, friend, but we will choose to thrive in this season of the
uncertainty in what we see.
The one thing that will remain is the hope that we have in a Creator who relentlessly pursues us and captures us daily with His grace, His mercy, His love and His peace and in only the way He can, guide us in the uneasy and our unsteady waves of life.
trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make straight your paths.
This verse may or may not be familiar to you but it's one that guides me in and out of days that become weeks and weeks that become months of what quickly transform to the equivalent of the Israelites roaming for 40 years. And while I've never felt lost for that long, I'm human and I lean toward emotional responses so, for me, that means that sometimes months feel 40 years. Just me?
If you're a little like me, keep reading. Below you'll find a few ways I've found to help me thrive and grow when things seem as stagnant as ever in my own life.
1. KEEP YOUR PEOPLE CLOSE.
I listed this one first 'cause, for me, it's the most important. And don't get me wrong, I love people. But that's not why it's first either. As I've gotten older, I have found that my social circles get smaller and smaller and the smaller those circles become, the more introverted I become. I love my alone time even in the best of seasons and when things get tough, I want to be alone even more. This is not the time to retreat to yourself and your favorite playlists for quiet time. Granted, those times are important but there is a difference between occasional alone time and avoiding relationships, conversations and people altogether. Keep the close ones closer. The ones you can trust will be the ones that will help pull you out of the miry clay and help propel you into a your thriving season.
2. DO WHAT YOU LOVE.
One of the easiest things for me to do when I am having a hard time is to stop doing what I love. In my life it looks like what you're looking at right now: writing. This essentially equates to anything creative in my life. One thing I have found, however, is that many times creating is just the thing that brings me out of my funk or lull and helps me feel the closest to MY creator. What does creating look like for you? What do you love? What are you passionate about or what moves you? KEEP. ON. DOING. THAT. Fight for it with all that's in you. You have been created to create. Whether it's words of encouragement and building the lives of others as a speaker or whether it's actually creating something tangible that you can see or touch, there is nothing more real than connecting with your purpose and what you have been created to do and being reminded that you have purpose than when you are walking in that with full confidence.
3. GIVE IT TIME.
Be patient with yourself. I'm a recovering perfectionist. I mean, I know I say that like it's some diagnosis that my doc gave me. It's not. And, to be honest, I don't love saying it but for the sake of this story and for helping you understand why this is so important, it's a label I will use. What I've been completely convicted by in using this term is the freedom that comes when I realize that I don't have to be perfect because I am forever in the process of being perfected by God. It frees me up to be just who I am and that, in and of itself, is a thought simple enough to set the world free. Ideally. Unfortunately hearing that and actually acting on it are two completely separate things. I know. Trust me. When we remember that we don't need to be perfect and that life isn't, nor will it ever be perfect, we release waves of freedom and allow God to work in us in His time instead of our own. If I'm honest, many times, this mindset is what lands me in this crazy circle of confusion where I am left trying to understand how I got there in the first place. Most of the time, it's because I attempted to take matters into my own hands or decided God wasn't moving FAST enough. ("Meh, it's ok God. You've done a good job *insert proverbial pat on the head* but I've got this now. Thanks.")
Give it time. Keep your people close. Do what you love. Watch God move in your life and heart in ways you'd never imagined. You've got a friend in me. Come back here for virtual hugs as often as you'd like. Guaranteed, most days, I’ll be in need of one too.