Last month we had the honor of getting up close and personal with Chelsea with her first “True Confessions.” Next month we get the same honor with Ashley, and this month – you’re about to get the most real look at me that anyone has ever had…
With that being said, this time a year ago – I was a mess.
I had just moved back home after trying to live on campus for a semester. I was trying to figure out who my real friends were after being hurt the worst I’ve ever been hurt by someone who I thought knew me better than that. I was stressed and failing classes because I was so preoccupied with everything else that was falling apart. I was sick all the time and had the worst immune system. I was depressed. I was faking it and trying to make it look like I was okay. And the whole time, I was beating myself up even more because I knew deep down that I was a mess.
Whew. That was probably more than you ever wanted to know about me.
I wish I could tell you when the light bulb moment happened, or when the Disney-like fireworks occurred, but I can’t. Looking back, it was just little decisions I had to make daily to be able to move forward, forgive myself, and wake up again.
1. I had to choose joy.
I cannot even tell you the amount of times I had to remind myself that joy is a choice. There is a big difference between happiness and joy. Happiness is contingent upon emotions and feelings (happiness=happenings). You are happy because something else happened and caused happiness. On the other hand, joy is a choice. I had to wake up each morning, regardless of what my head was trying to tell me, and tell myself to fix my thoughts on what was true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, and admirable (Philippians 4:8). Never ever had it been so true that the JOY of the Lord really is our strength.
2. I made my bed every day.
Something about getting back to the basics and doing the small things well helped me so much. When things are spiraling out of control, just choose one simple thing and be faithful to do it every day. To me, when I woke up and faithfully made my bed, it planted seeds in my head that I was gaining control, that there was some kind of order in the chaos, and that I was capable of doing something right. It sounds silly, but when I would come home from work and walk into my room, seeing my bed made gave me hope.
3. I gave myself permission to be happy.
For a long while, I felt guilty being happy or excited. I thought that because things were so out of control, there was no way I could let myself think that things were going to be okay. It took time, but eventually, it finally kicked in that your thoughts really do determine your actions. If I wanted to turn things around, I had to first –believe in myself, and second – let myself be excited and proud when I did something right. You have to learn to celebrate the little victories.
4. I found things I loved.
In the midst of feeling like I had no clue where I was going or what I was doing, I decided to make the most of the “meantime.” I started writing – anything and everything, all the time. I learned that running isn’t so bad and [tried] to get up early more. I poured myself into serving at church. I loved my Connect Group girls the best I could. I found friends who I could be myself around. Although I was still hurt and it took time to open up, I just enjoyed having fun and laughing over ridiculous things with my friends. I decided (Why not?) to randomly cut out sugar and coffee for six months just to prove to myself that I could stick to something and do well at it – and I did!
5. I learned how to trust Jesus all over again.
Trusting Him isn’t something you master when you hear it over and over in Sunday school as a kid. It’s something you have to work at your whole life. There is never going to be a time when you don’t need to trust Jesus. There might be times when things are going great, but those times should only strengthen your trust and assurance for the times when things are falling apart around you and you can barely hold on. I had to cling to the promise that He would never leave me or forget about me, that He would never fail (Deuteronomy 31:6, 8), that He would work all things together for good (Romans 8:28), and that His love for me would not run out (Lamentations 3:19-33) – EVEN when my love for me had run out.
Little by little, the pieces started to come back together. I picked myself up, dusted myself off, and just took one step at a time – one foot in front of the other. As I began to forgive myself it was easier to forgive others, and as I loved and focused on others, it was easier to love myself again.
Instead of isolating myself, I surrounded myself with people who were going where I wanted to go. Now, I have the best friends anyone could ever ask for.
Also, I stayed accountable. Trust me, I tried to walk through it alone in the beginning, but trust me, I am so glad I didn’t. (Side note: Moms are the BEST.)
I can now say that I’m proud of myself. It’s crazy what can happen in a single year. Looking back, I am amazed at everything I learned, how far He brought me, and the people He put around me.
He is constant. He is faithful. He is GOOD.