It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles of where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood. If he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly so that his place should never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat
This morning I stayed home from church, curled up in the corner chair with my tea and my journal, and listened to a podcast by Shauna Niequist.
Something about her words hit me, and I ended up crying and scribbling down notes in my journal, pausing and replaying different sections of the message because something about it hit me.
It took me until this morning to admit that this past week has been hard.
It's the first week away from PRBI, and I'm trying to adjust to a new normal. My home team has now been dispersed all around the country, I'm now committed to making my relationship work long distance, and my life has entered a season of turbulent uncertainty. And I kept buying into the belief that I should be stronger and I should be handling this better and things should be easier.
And then this morning I had a revelation.
It's allowed to be hard
For the past week, and probably even before that, I've been pushing and trying to make the whole transition season go away and get back to the happy season.
I've been wanting my old life back, the one where I had learned to become happy and safe and comfortable, not wanting to have to trust God. I fell into the lie of believing that I did my hard time, now life should be easy. My life still is very beautiful, and I am richly blessed. But under the desire to grow was a layer of fear, and selfishness, and faithlessness, and an unwillingness to let myself be changed.
It took a lot of guts to actually admit that these past few weeks have been hard. My life is beautiful and great and how can it be hard?
But it is hard. Its new and its different and its challenging me in new ways and the stretching is uncomfortable.
I've been telling the story recently of how hard it is. Ask my mother, ask my boyfriend, ask my close friends. But that's not the whole story. If I'm being honest the story includes the part where I'm failing to live with courage and hope and have instead chosen to live in a place of whining, of fear, of closing my eyes and just waiting for things to get easy again instead of letting myself be changed by the hard place.
That's not the story I want to be telling.
I was writing a blog post today for teen girls about failure, and as I was writing to them I also felt like I was writing to me. I know a lot about failure. Unfortunately I don't know a lot about coming through failure and being stronger for it. The main thing I said to them, and to me, is to remember who God says you are.
Easier said than done. Because right now the world is screaming at me that I should be better and I should know what I'm doing and I should have it all under control. Bottom line is I don't.
I want to scream back at this world "Its allowed to be hard! I'm allowed to not know!"
I keep forgetting to plug back in to the one voice that truly matters: the one that says I am still loved, that I am valued for who I am not what I do, that I am enough, I have enough, I do enough, period.
When the criticism starts you need a group of people around you with their hands up, keeping you safe and reminding you to 'do your thing'
I need people around me reminding me to do my thing. My people are scattered all around the country, and I could sit and be miserable until I get back to what I know or I could reach out. I could reach out and say "This is hard, and I don't know how to do my thing anymore, and I need you to help me."
I need people to circle the wagons, to create a circle around me of warmth and safety.
I'm not really sure how that's going to look right now, but I also know that one of the things I've been craving madly this week is community.
Life is hard, and new things are hard, and I need my people. I need the ones holding their hands up and keeping me safe and encouraging me to do my thing.
If you're out there, and want to circle up around me, let me know.
This morning I realized how much I need to lean in. If I try to stand and face this, I have no doubt it will smash me to bits. But if I let it change me, let it carry me, let it transform me, I believe beautiful things will come of it.
I want to unclench my fists and let the beautiful right now happen to me, trusting that there is something to be gained from this hard place.