I spent the month of January in a bit of solitude. Slowing down. Having long conversations with my counselor. Journaling. Taking laps through my neighborhood both in Nashville and my parents house. Spilling secrets that kept me separated from the people I love. Staring at myself in mirrors and learning to accept the lines on my face. The birth marks on my calves. The way I look when I’m tired or focused or emotional to the core. Staring at the spot on my bathroom floor where on January 1 at approximately 4 AM the Lord told me to get up and do the work; to stop running from it.
A month isn’t a long time. I’m in no way ready to emerge from my shell just yet. I’ve still got a while to go I think. The idea of re-opening social media makes me break out into a cold sweat. I’m not ready to see the world yet I don’t think. I’m not ready to face those demons. I’m happy to stay down in the basement of my brain…separated from things intentionally while I rip up old roots and plant new trees. Learning to fight and learning to breathe.
I haven’t tested myself. Haven’t put myself in a single situation that would make me uncomfortable. I told myself this year I was “taking back the power. Protecting myself”.
But I found myself walking through a moral battleground this past weekend and am in shock of how the Lord prevailed. How he showed me the glimpse of myself that I needed to see. A small part of the puzzle came together. I saw the divide between the eternal and the worldly pieces of my soul….and I saw how much more I wanted to pursue the eternal. The old version of myself — the one I carried for the better part of 25 years — was so very focused on affection. Affirmation. Needing others to need me. She would have crumbled. Said yes to anything that would have made herself feel worthy.
The version of myself that has been emerging from all of the work I’ve done looks different. Feels different. There are pieces of me that I thought didn’t exist. Things I just thought weren’t part of my DNA that have grown through the weeds of my soul and are producing small but absolutely incredible blooms.
I was scared this weekend. I felt more vulnerable and more out of place than ever before. I locked my doors, turned on the shower and just stared into space. Praying.
Wondering what the odd feeling was inside of me.
Wondering why I had to defend my values and morals so much to someone who continually tried to talk me out of them.
Wondering what in the heck about me said “I’m easily convinced”.
And then I realized….I defended my morals and values. I stood taller than I ever have. I wasn’t easily convinced.
I wrote the phrase “I said no and I freaking meant it” in my journal. I bolded it. I stared at it for what felt like days. I let it soak into my soul.
I defended myself. I didn’t cower to the world. I didn’t seek affection….I didn’t try to fill a void with something poisonous.
And that’s how I know God is moving. That’s how I know he’s teaching me who I am supposed to be. He’s ironing out the wrinkles on my roadmap and pointing me towards heaven.
That’s how I know the work is working. The counseling. The sitting on couches and in floors and honestly, the aisles of Books A Million. The prayer. The raw and real and painful quiet time.
Blocking numbers and asking people to call me out when I’m falling back. Opening all the doors and windows and waiting.
It’ll be sunny, I kept saying. The work is worth it. The change is worth it. There will be a moment when you know it’s working.
The sun started peeking out from the shadows this weekend. I felt warmth on my face for the first time in ages.
I felt warmth and I felt movement. I watched myself stand tall. And I celebrated with a blueberry muffin the size of my face and cartwheels in the grass.