Tomorrow is my 28th Birthday.
Ok, ok. 42nd. But I feel 28. That counts for something.
Considering how much coffee and wine I drink, I’m guessing I’m already at my half way point. That’s ok – I’ve lived more lives than a cat. An indoor cat.
Do you ever do those quizzes where you list all the places you’ve lived or all the things you’ve done? Me either. They are usually an embarrassing collection of either sins or felonies.
I like deniability.
Here’s my recap, my reflections, on the eve of my new year and on the cusp of a new decade:
In 42 years I’ve been married, divorced, had a child, buried family and friends and dogs and flushed a few fish. I’ve fallen in love, had my heart broken into unrecognizable pieces and fallen in love again. and again. and again.
I’ve seen my family get torn into shreds by jealousy, fear, assumption and gossip. I’ve seen my social circle grow and shrink with the blowing wind. I’ve felt the presence of God and the absence of God. I know the difference and I never want to walk in the dark again.
I’ve lived in multiple states and multiple countries. I’ve traveled the world and had a chicken poop in my lap on a bus in Italy because I ran out of money somewhere between Geneva and Genoa and had to ride the farm trail home. I’ve been the poster girl (literally) for big designers and small accessories. I’ve walked runways in Paris and slept in an airport terminal in London.
I’ve faced complete exhaustion from crippling eating disorders and have had to learn and relearn again and again a healthy relationship with food and exercise. I’m still learning.
I’m also the poster girl for redemption, forgiveness and Grace.
That’s the campaign that humbles me the most.
This is what I want you to know about me.
If you look at my life, the highlight reel on social media or the pretty ones in magazines, know all the makeup in the world doesn’t cover me like God’s Grace.
“When God restores you, you might not see all the changes at once. You’ll begin to notice parts of you that were broken are no longer that way. Then one day, you realize you’re an entirely different person than you used to be. That’s grace.” ― Andrena Sawyer
If I can come alongside anyone, it would be to tell you this:
Worry less about what people think of you. In the end, whatever and whenever, no one’s opinion will matter but how you feel about yourself and the life you’ve lived. Then, we’ll stand before God. So get right with Him. The rest is insignificant.
There is nothing you can do to make me love you any less. I love you just the way you are. I can say that to you because God says that to me. Now go say it to others.
My love language is words – I crave validation. That craving has caused me to do some self destructive things. Learn to validate yourself. How? I have no idea, really. Get up every day and say, “dude. You’ve.Got.This.” Or just get up. Sometimes the biggest step we can take is literally a step. I’ve been there. Tell yourself the words you want to hear.
“Self care” is this year’s buzz word and I’m over it. One of my favorite words is “captivating.” I love it. I want my someone to find me captivating. I love when someone walks into a crowded room – male or female – and I find them captivating! I love the intrigue of what makes them unique. Find out what makes you captivating. Discover yourself again. Fall in love with you.
“No matter how furious and wild a wave is, it will always be beautiful and captivating. The same goes for her.” ― Sai Pradeep
No regrets. It happened. You did the thing. I did the thing. Things happened. And tomorrow is a total crap shoot. So don’t fret about yesterday or worry about tomorrow. Find your Joy now. Rebecca Barlow Jordan said,
“Justice will prevail. Sorrow will end. Wrong will be righted. Healing will come. Those who understand and love the One who hands out scandalous grace in the most unexpected places at the most unexpected times–these are the ones who have already entered the real world some call fantasy or fiction. Indeed it is another world. But in that world, what appears as fiction is reality. We do find hope and joy. And we do live happily ever after. Your life is a story to be told, and God is still writing it. Whether you are a writer or not, tell your story. Live your story. Enjoy your story. It’s not over until it’s over. And even then the final chapter will become the first one–the story you were meant to live in the first place.”
My hope for you, friends, as we begin a new decade is that you trust God more. Let everything else go. Worry less. Exercise more. Work less at your job and more at your relationships. Say “yes” to the people and things that bring you Joy and Peace and HOPE.
And Run to Win.