Life Happens

From the Heart of Grace Waters…


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Good Enough

Have you ever thought to yourself, “I’m just not good enough”, and you believed it deep down on the inside of you? Have you found yourself comparing yourself to someone else’s greatness, and finding your own self severely lacking? When was the last time you looked at yourself and said, “I am good just how I am?” Are you still thinking? That long, huh? Yeah, I understand.

I had a discussion with someone not long ago, and he reminded me that in the whirlwind of all that I do, I had lost the capacity to consider myself. I helped everyone else. I got pleasure from seeing others happy. But when he asked me what makes me happy, it took a while to think about it. Caught up in everyone else, I realized that part of my drive to make everyone happy was so that they didn’t look at me and see that I was struggling. I didn’t want anyone to see that I didn’t think I was good enough to live up to the big dreams God put in me, so I pushed everyone else’s vision, supported everyone else, encouraged everyone else…and somewhere along the way, I forgot about me. It is easy to do. Sometimes, we get so great at hiding our need from others that they begin to think we don’t need anything from them, and they become content allowing you to push their vision while yours gets dropped off on the side of the road. It’s not totally their fault. But as I spoke with this person, I began to remember the dreams I had put on the top shelf, not totally out of reach, but far enough away so that I wasn’t bothered by the sight of unrealized dreams.

I understood again that if the dreams were given to me, then I am good enough to function in them. It is timeout for losing the essence of me trying to be everything else for everyone else. Not to say that we shouldn’t support others and help push others, but not at the detriment of losing ourselves in the process. So maybe you have allowed yourself to believe that you’re not good enough, pretty enough, old enough, young enough, popular enough…destroy the lie. You ARE good enough. Now own it.

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Dream Killer

“Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore—
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over—
like a syrupy sweet?

Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.

Or does it explode?”

This is one of my favorite short poems by one of my favorite writers, Langston Hughes. It says so much in such a succinct way. Every time I read it, it challenges me to think about my dreams, and consider what has happened to them. Have I let them dry up or fester? Are my dreams rotting or sagging, or are they on the verge of exploding? Have I stopped believing?

It’s easy to stop believing. When life comes at you from every angle…heartache and pain…friends and family walking away…emotional anguish…feeling unsupported and unseen…loss of loved ones…it can seem that your dreams move further and further away until they are gathering dust on the top shelf of the deepest crevices of your heart. I have felt the pain of dreams seeming to dry up. One moment things seemed to be going in the right direction, but then it seemed like out of nowhere, nothing was working. Whatever I tried failed. No one could really understand when I talked to them about it. I was on the proverbial island all alone with my thoughts, and my thoughts were not the best companion. I saw before me the vast horizon in which I had cast much of my hopes on this particular dream, and then I saw myself almost being catapulted in the opposite direction of my dream. Then I saw how repeated failures and attempts, and repeated frustration brought me to the verge of calling it quits. To that point where you say, “I just don’t care”, and you throw in the towel. I started trying to convince myself that my life would be so much simpler if I just decided to give up on that particular dream. I would have more time, more freedom, less stress, less people watching, and I could get back to my life before I decided to believe. Oh, how simple it all seemed BEFORE this dream. So, that was almost the end.

But then I remembered the purpose placed on the dream. My dream was not to benefit just me, but to influence and change the lives of those connected to me. I had to throw some “water” on that dream and give it life. So, as much as I did not want to, I decided to breathe into the dream again. Now, things have not turned all the way around. Some days, I long for the more “simple” times, but I know there is a mission to tackle. Someone is waiting on me to walk into my dream world so they can know that it is possible. It is possible. Living in dreamland IS possible. Maybe you are like I was right now. You have watched as your dreams have seemed to shrink or turn to dust. You have tried everything you know how to get them to breathe again, but it seems that maybe you should give up on this dream. Don’t. If it was placed in you to believe in, then keep standing on it. Dust it off and try it all again. Some things don’t work right away, but we have to believe that they will. We have invested too much to let our dreams explode, so what do you need to do today to revive that dream? Get to it.


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Silent Tears

Sometimes you just hurt. Not that surface kind of hurt, but that deep-down, soul-wrenching, unexplainable hurt. That hurt that seems to invade every facet of your life until you find yourself drifting through each day, pasting on the appropriate smile, and saying just the right things. But that pain deep inside is there as a constant reminder that things really are not as they seem. I have been there. “Where is there?” you may ask. There is where you silently cry as your significant other sleeps beside you. You soak the pillow with your tears, feeling lonely even in your togetherness. As you cry, your body shakes as you try to control the sobs from breaking free and disturbing their sleep. I mean, they wouldn’t understand anyways, right? There is trying to describe to someone you love how you feel, attempting to rid yourself of this vast feeling of going nowhere and mattering to no one, and them responding, “Well, you have a good life, right?” as if that makes what you are saying and how you are feeling null and void. Yeah, they missed it. Or, maybe you search through your mind polling the many phone numbers in your phone, but not one catches your attention as someone you can call and have them talk you out of this lonely place. 

I mean, when you look at the surface, life is great, right? You have everything you need and some things you want. You have a loving partner, maybe family and friends, even some children sprinkled in there. You are the one everyone depends on to encourage them and be there for them, but sometimes you want to shout “WHAT ABOUT ME?” On the surface, you have it going on,  but no one knows you’re struggling with being a hamster running around the proverbial wheel of life, seeming to get nowhere, but running because that is what you were told to do. The days spent building up others’ dreams while you see yours collecting dust on the shelves are tough days, but you grin and bear it. You have no choice, right? Working a 9-5 you hate because your family has to eat, right? Pushing others to be great when you want to give up. Yeah, I know what “there” is. But even with all of this that no one ever sees, you manage to make life look amazing. 

That is because even with all of that, it really is. Even with the soul-searing pain, at least you can still feel. Even with the loneliness, at least you still function. Even when it seems no one on earth understands or cares, there is still One who knows just what He is doing every step of the way. Maybe you are in the place I described. It is a ROUGH place, it is, but it is not the end. You may feel like giving up. Been there. Suicide has crossed my mind several times. That is not the answer. That is only hurting others because you hurt. Next up, getting in a car and just driving…disappearing like you see in the movies. Yeah, that would not work. Eventually someone would find you or you would just get tired of running from yourself. Well, maybe if I turn my back on God who doesn’t seem to care anyway, and I just do whatever I want, that will change things. Nope. Same issues just masked by “good times” which are really camoflauging empty moments. 

Sometimes just acknowledging the feelings is the first step. Acknowledging that you are broken and hurting, feeling unnecessary and overlooked, seemingly unproductive and thinking you can be easily replaced, yeah, that is the first step. Unfortunately, this may be a journey you take alone. It may be the roughest journey you ever embark on, but in the end, if you can acknowledge it, you can beat it. So, yeah, maybe there will be a few nights, weeks, months, of tear-soaked pillows…Maybe your phone will become useless as you can’t figure out anyone to call, but in the end you win. Let the silent tears flush out the bitterness and the hurt. Allow yourself to be in the moment, and know that as long as there is a tomorrow, there is another chance for things to get better from here. It has to get better. It just does.


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Dare to Hope

It’s that time of year again. You know the time. When New Year’s resolutions and promises for a new year begin. Some really mean what they say and take the necessary steps to ensure that the new year yields results. Others are more talk than action, and they start out meaning well, but as life and old desires battle, often their good intentions lose the fight. Gyms and churches are packed in January, but by March there are empty classes and empty pews/seats. We always mean well, but sometimes we lack the follow-through. As 2018 approaches, I, like everyone else, have taken stock of my life. I realize the things I have not done that I promised in January I would do. I see the areas where I slacked, even the areas where nothing was accomplished. I’m not proud of it, but I acknowledge it. My resolve, I will finish what I have begun, and I will become all that I am meant to become. That is the only resolution I will make for the new year because everything I need to do is wrapped up in that simple statement. 

One thing that I have struggled with, as 2018 quickly races to take over 2017, is the promise of dreams coming true. I struggled with this because it seems like each year I would hear someone say, or I would tell myself, Grace this is your year. In the same vein, year after year, these hopes didn’t happen. So eventually, hoping can become too heavy a burden to bear. I found myself just saying, “You know what? I’ll be fine if this thing and that thing doesn’t happen. Others have dealt with it and lived. I can and will too.” I was choosing to prepare myself more for the possibility of these things not happening for me, rather than the possibility of them actually happening. I did not want to create an environment of hope, then be let down again. Now, these things I hope for are not things I can do myself. I can’t just wish them in to existence and they come to pass. No, these are things out of my control. Ooohhh, control…yeah, that thing I hate to lose a handle on. So, as 2018 has approached, even as people have said 2018 is my year to have certain things, I have battled. I have doubted. I have put their kind and hopeful words on the shelf. Why? Because it hurts to hope. But, I realized that life without hope is not really living at all. 

So, as I prepare for what is to come, I choose to hope again. I believe that certain things will come true for me, whether in 2018 or beyond. These things not happening in my timeframe does not mean that they won’t. One thing is for sure, when waiting on something to happen, we cannot become stagnant while waiting. Get busy. Create the life you desire. Pray more. Worry less. Live happy. That way, when what you have hoped for comes to pass, it is welcomed into a full and prosperous environment. 2018 will be an AMAZING year filled with opportunities, open doors, advancement, great life-changing moments, some ups and downs, but definitely more joy than pain. Embrace your new year even now, and when the new year finally arrives, you will be ready for all the endless possibilities of a fresh start. Dare to dream. 😊


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Inadequate

It is so easy to feel like you don’t matter…like your life is insignificant. Sometimes life seems to pass you by. It seems that everyone but you receives recognition. Everyone but you is getting married, having babies, got a new job, is driving a new car, …living a better life. Those who are in their dream positions seem to have it all together. Because of that, you look at your own life. You compare your life to theirs noticing that you may not have all you desire. Maybe you are pursuing your dream, but it seems like it will never come to pass. Maybe you just got out of a broken relationship. Maybe the doctor gave you some disturbing news. No matter what, you feel inadequate, unwanted, unnecessary. You feel like you are unnoticed. You begin to see life through the haze of being not enough. It’s a difficult place. I’ve been there all too often. It is true that the people who give the most encouragement are sometimes those who need to be encouraged the most. There have been days before, where I would speak great things to others, and then I would go back to a life where I felt unfulfilled and unheard. There were times when I compared myself to others who have dared to dream, and I have seen how their dream seems to be more sought after. I am surrounded by dreamers. I love that about my circle. Around me are  dancers, singers, poets, doctors, lawyers, world-travelers, writers, and so many others. At some point though, I forgot to dream for myself, and found myself believing that all of their dreams were more important than my own. I actually said to my husband one day, that I did not believe anyone would ever want to hear what I have to say. My thoughts were that no one wants to read when they can be entertained by the dancers, singers, etc. My husband checked me. He reminded me that my voice is necessary for those I am meant to touch. I am not inadequate. All that I am is for a set time, a set place, and a set people. I first had to believe in myself. So, I say to you today. You are not inadequate. Your dream will flourish. Your life has meaning. It is not too late, and your dream is never too big to pursue. All that you are is necessary. You may never be what someone else is, but you will always be what that someONE needs you to be. First you have to believe that your life is powerful beyond measure, and that even if right now looks contrary, you will be whatsoever you see. Believe again.


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While I’m Waiting

It’s difficult to sit back and watch others succeed when you have things it seems you’ve waited years to accomplish. Sometimes it seems that everyone else is moving forward and reaching their goals, but you seem stuck in one place. In that seemingly “stuck” place, it is easy for you to consider giving up on your goals. It is easy to focus on all the obstacles in your way, and to allow frustration to get you off course. When that frustration is at its highest point that is when you keep pushing. On the other side of that frustration is where goals will be reached and dreams realized. Too often the world misses out on something that could have made an impact in society-all because someone decided that the wait was too long, the path too difficult, or they decided that they were not important enough to make a difference. What would happen if we all believed, regardless of obstacles and frustration, that our dreams and goals could make a difference? What if we understood that we cannot give up on something that we know needs to get done? Admittedly, there are times in the past year that I have watched others accomplish things. I have seen people “blow up” out of nowhere, and there are moments where I considered giving up on my dream because it has seemed that it would never come to pass. I have looked around and seen people getting book deals and performing on television, and I have wondered when my dream would come true. I questioned myself, and what I knew within myself I am supposed to be doing—all because someone else’s dream came true before mine. What I’ve realized though is that it doesn’t matter so much when someone else’s dream comes true. What matters is that they reach their goals and see the things they have dreamed of. Because they do, that means I can too. If someone else can achieve what they have seen, then I can too. I cannot guarantee that I will never get frustrated again. Nor can I say that I am completely content with waiting forever to see my dreams come to pass, but I can say that whenever it is my time I will be ready. In the meantime I will push others to accomplish their dreams—and I will be happy doing it. You will accomplish your own dreams when you are content to help someone else reach theirs. So what are you waiting for? Push someone else.


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Dream Again

When we first start out on a journey we are excited and thrilled to begin the journey. As we go along, we meet with obstacles. Things do not work out as planned, or they do work out as planned, but we realize that they do not have the results we hoped for. Regardless, we become less enchanted with the journey and more focused on the obstacles.We begin to second guess ourselves and think that maybe we talked ourselves into something that is really impossible to achieve. We almost give up. Then something or someone reminds us to dream again. For the last couple of years I have been focused on reaching my goals and seeing my dreams come true before my eyes, but it seems that in the last couple of months I have had to overcome more obstacles than I have experienced success. A few nights ago, at about 2 am, I prepared to go to sleep. As I was in the bed trying to go to sleep I could not because I kept seeing visions in my head. I saw visions of the people I would talk to and the things I would say, and I began to believe in my dream again. I was given a jumpstart to get me back on the right path. For the last few weeks, unbeknownst even to myself, I had almost given up the dream thinking that it was impossible to achieve. However, I realized that I can never give up because my dream is not just about me. Many of us have dreams that we have allowed to die. We have allowed obstacles and low points to get us off track. It is time for us to get it back together. Our dream will help someone else if we live it out. So simply put, regardless of what is happening in our lives it is time for us to dream again.