Yesterday, after we launched the blog and website…I went to lunch to celebrate with two of my best friends. It was really a beautiful, amazing day….and so much of it fit into what I wanted to write about today. Then…I came home and ran a hot bath….and went to look for my favorite bubble bath that I haven’t used in a REALLLLLY long time, but it seemed like the perfect day to indulge. Right there….under the sink….with all of my bath-y stuff…….was an art journal I have been looking for at least a year. I have no idea why it was there…..but what was inside was miraculous and I haven’t opened that journal since I did the pages almost 3 years ago. I can’t wait to photograph and write about every page…and even use lots of it in our upcoming 6 week online course. But I wanted to share a couple of the pages because they fit right in with where I’m at right now, and what I want to share:
This reminds me clearly of where I was at during that time…and some of the lies that were running through my brain about how the world works……what life is supposed to be like….what life turns into, etc. I really, truly believed that I had my chance at happiness and joy, and now it was over. I believed I needed to suffer for my mistakes or for the trauma I was living through. I believed that I had been so blessed to be able to endure all of it, that I had used up my quota on blessings and that I should not ask for me. I believed that even if there were good days…..they wouldn’t last, so I needed to brace myself for more hard days. I believed this was my new life. I believed those things because those were the mean lies that were in my head…you know the cowardly lies that show up when you are weak, tired and discouraged……and kick you when you are done. The lies that destroy parts of our soul and want to destroy the whole of us.
Well, I sure didn’t WANT to believe those things…so I started that journal above….it was a YES journal…it was all of the things that I wanted to say YES to, and just ignoring the things I wanted to say no to…….as I look through all of the pages, it’s like puzzle pieces that show the picture even more clearly….and show me how I got to HERE and how I could never have gotten to HERE without going through THERE.
THIS is what I know now…
It’s kind of silly now that I think about it. It’s sad too. It’s sad that I spent ANY time thinking this way….that I had used up all of the good stuff that was allotted to me in life, and therefore could not ask for more. I believed for a while that God had helped me with SO MANY THINGS that He was sick of hearing from me and sick of all of my drama. I stopped asking for help. I believed that I had made mistakes and therefore believed that I could not be trusted with blessings. That I needed to suffer more…….to make up for all of it. That I needed to suffer to show how much I wanted my husband to get better….that it would be a slap in the face if I laughed or had a good time or believed in big and beautiful things while my life was such a mess. I think I pretty much got addicted to suffering. And…again, I am not going to knock myself. I did the best I could and I really did have lots of reasons to feel the way I felt. I just wish I knew what I know now….because it would have helped me to know that it was not required of me to sit in the cesspool of my own suffering, but that it was entirely ok for me to get up and enjoy life whenever I could. That it did not mean that I was not working hard to pull myself out of all of the messes I was in….and mostly that God did not want that for me…He did not want me to be unhappy….and all of Heaven was trying desperately to show me that there was a better way.
HAPPINESS DOES NOT HAVE A LIMIT PER USER!
JOY IS NOT RATIONED OUT!!!!
We will do ourselves all a big huge favor if we accept the gifts that are waiting for us, even when we are in the midst of lots of craziness, chaos, despair, confusion. Even if we think there are parts of our mess that are entirely our own fault and that therefore we should be suffering through as much as possible.
Really??? Could that REALLY be the way it works? Think of a child that you love fiercely. Think of that child burning her hand on the stove. Would you REALLLLLLY withhold the bandages, the burn ointment, the hugs the kisses, the ice…..ANYTHING you could possibly do to make it better. Would you REALLY hold that back because that child touched the stove, and it was her own fault. REALLY? No way. Blessings are there always, the givers of blessings want to give them…we have to accept them. We have to believe that happiness, joy, comfort, love, progress and success are what is meant for us.
So this is Maria…after we had lunch yesterday we went for a walk by the river. We explored and we laughed and had a total blast. We have been talking a lot about the stuff I just wrote about….about how hard it is to go from that funky place to a place of total joy, peace and happiness and to be able to trust that it will last….or that we deserve it. She is amazing…she just keeps telling me to enjoy it. JUST ENJOY IT she says….who cares about what happens tomorrow…that is not in your control. She is my free bird friend…and one of those friends I talked about in my last post that I totally would have missed out on if I had given up. She is one of the greatest gifts in my life. So…on our walk…we both picked words…….here’s hers:
I stated in my blog post at the very beginning of the year that my word for the year was ENJOY…and let me tell you, I am enjoying life SO MUCH…AS MUCH AS I POSSIBLY CAN!!! But it’s a new habit that I’ve had to get into…and I’ve had to consciously defeat those mean lies that show up that say it’s not time for the suffering to be over yet. HOW LAME!!! Lies are lame….so so so lame. Whatever, man….suffering is NOT required. Suffering is part of life, but it is never ever required. I don’t believe that God wants us to suffer, I think there’s always a better way to choose….and now that I know that, I am going to walk towards it no matter what….no matter what kind of mess I am in. Because life is messy and I’m sure there will be more messes. I just know more now…….and I will use it next time for sure.
We walked through the rocks and the dirt and then RIGHT THERE in the middle of the rocks and dirt was one tiny, perfect, happy little yellow flower…
I had to put my purse down and take a photo of it….it reminds me of you and of me and of life…….that we get to choose to bloom amidst the rocks…..and the dirt…wherever we are. Thank goodness for brave little yellow flowers.