Life Happens

From the Heart of Grace Waters…


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Do I Really Matter?

A question as old as time itself…and an answer that can be heartbreaking…this question often reverberates through our minds. It makes sense because we are only human, but sometimes acknowledging the fragility of our humanity does not offer us solace when the answer to this question leaves us wanting. What happens when you ask yourself this question, then you look around at the “evidence” in your life, but you can’t find anything that seems to lean towards the answer being a resounding “yes”? Do you just stop trying? Do you give in to the depression that waits just an inch outside of your proverbial bubble? Do you even dare to keep believing that you will see everything your heart could ever hope for? Do you?

For some reason, I have been in this place of wondering if who I am and what I do matters? With all that I give, and in each of my businesses, I have still wondered if I am talking to and encouraging myself. Seeming lack of response, and watching what seemed like everyone else supporting others, left me in a low place. I stopped writing. I stopped encouraging. I stopped hoping. I hid myself in plain view, but I was not me. The funny thing was…no one seemed to notice. That left me even deeper in the hole of depression until those old thoughts of just disappearing and never coming back began to resurface. Yeah, those negative and dismal thoughts that are only supposed to apply to anyone else but a motivator…those thoughts. I was in a rough place.

Finally, I couldn’t take that place anymore, and I cried out to God hoping that at least He could see me. He could. He never left. I just stopped believing. So, piece by piece, I began to rebuild my broken heart and shattered dreams. No, no one came to my rescue, and yes it still feels at times that no one cares, but who I am and what I do is about more than just me. If I don’t write, who will miss being encouraged because I didn’t do it? If I don’t speak, who would miss hearing the very words that could save their lives? If I don’t mentor and coach, what young person will grow up believing that they don’t matter? If I am not me, someone else is affected. Even when it doesn’t feel like it, that one truth remains.

Your life matters, and maybe you get tired of giving and not seeming to receive, but keep believing that one day things will look so different. One day you will look back at these times and thank God you didn’t quit when it was easier to just walk away. There is something so magnetic and necessary about you, so don’t allow life to lie to you. Your circumstances are not bigger than you. The hurt can’t conquer you. You MATTER.

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Just Keep Running

So, this weekend, I called myself making up for the times when I have been slacking in my personal workout routine. I had been teaching my fitness classes all week, but I had not been weight lifting like I used to, so I agreed to workout with my husband on this past Saturday. Now, why in the world did I agree to that?! My husband’s nickname is “the hulk”. He loves weight lifting and is amazing at it. I enjoy weight lifting, but nowhere near on his level. So, I decided to be crazy enough to join him. It felt great while we were working out. I remembered my love for weight lifting, and it was awesome just being in the gym with him, but I forgot the after effects of a grueling workout. That next day, my body was tight in places I had forgotten existed. I was shuffling along and sore, and I tried my best not to move too much because everything hurt. EVERYTHING! Sunday night, hubby was talking about running the next morning. Before I knew it, I had blurted out that I would join him. Again, what was I thinking?! So, the next morning at 5:30 we headed out for the run. Now, I had just BARELY rolled out of bed because it felt like my entire body had locked up, but I was determined to run. As I stretched, I second-guessed my entire life in that moment, and visions of me falling face first on to the pavement flashed through my head. Yet I pressed on. As we began to run, I slowly shuffled along behind him, just content to at least follow his lead. My legs groaned. My muscles tried to lock up and rebel, but in my mind I was telling myself I could do it. Step-by-step I grunted, groaned, sweat began to pour profusely down my face and back, but I kept going. I realized along the way that my body did not hurt as much anymore, so I picked up the pace. As we ran, things became easier. I still felt a throbbing ache in some areas, but I figured I had gone too far to quit. Before I knew it, we were headed back home. As we came up the final hill towards our house, I felt such a huge sigh of relief. That’s when hubby decided we would run PAST our house to the end of the road, and then turn around and come back. I stared at the back of his head without saying a word, but I kept going. Then, it was over. All of the pain, the heavy breathing, the moments when I thought I would pass out…it was all over. I had made it to my final destination. It may have hurt. Things may not have felt good along the way, but I picked up momentum, and eventually the pain could not stop me from racing towards my goal.

Life is like this. Sometimes things just hurt. Sometimes you cannot believe that you can take one more step and move forward. Maybe the “hill” seems insurmountable. Maybe that thing they did to you made you hard-hearted and unrecognizable. Maybe life has beaten you up so bad that it seems whenever you move, it is with more difficulty, and sometimes it’s just easier to roll over and “sleep” rather than face the world. I get it.. I have moments when I don’t want to put one step in front of the other, when it seems easier to ignore what is going on that facing the problems head on. Sometimes my own doubts and fears get the best of me, but there is more to life than this. Maybe, in those moments, we need to get so focused on the end goal that we press through the pain. Maybe we need to remember to keep running forward because if we just keep running, we can make it where we need to go. Maybe…I just know I learned something about myself that day. In the midst of my hurt and pain, I kept pressing. Yes, that was on a physical level, and I know that emotional pain sometimes goes much deeper, but if we can apply this principle to our physical pain, it only makes sense to make it work for our mental/emotional as well.

So, I challenge you to keep running. Push through. Finish Strong.


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Embrace the Weird

I’m just a bit quirky…ok, maybe a lot quirky, but who’s really measuring? lol. I am the one in the room with a bunch of people who can choose to be extroverted and talkative, but who most likely will find the best corner to sit and watch others. I am that person who really does not care to say much, but finds it weird to be in the ┬ámidst of people talking, so I try to interject a little just to say I tried. I am that “weird”. Now when I use weird, it’s not in the negative connotation that many think about. My “weird” means peculiar, different, not like the rest, set apart, intentionally and innately comfortable being one’s self. That’s my weird. For years I tried to be different. I tried to be someone who everyone would embrace. I got hurt time and time again when people didn’t seem interested in me, but only what they could get from me. I shut down, opened, up, got hurt again, and shut down again. Cycle after cycle, my weird got me in trouble. That is until I decided to embrace the weird. Even now, I don’t always fit into the crowd. I often have nothing to say when everyone else has so much to say. Sometimes I just don’t want to talk or be around everyone, but sometimes my responsibilities force me to; however, that does not mean that I have to blend in with those around me. Just as in romantic relationships, there is someone for everyone. So, I choose to embrace those who embrace me…love those who love me…and be kind even to those who don’t understand or accept me. This life is too short to spend it being anyone or anything but who God created each of us to be.

So, if you are struggling with fitting in…struggling because you feel like the odd one out (which you just may be), struggling because “they” seem to like “everyone else” better than you…frustrated because your circle is small and the number of those you can really trust is even smaller…I get it. But this is an opportunity for you to get to know the intricacies of yourself, understanding that not everyone was meant to be “the life of the party”. Some were meant to stand out. As the saying goes, there really is a lid for every pot. Stop letting what people say and think change you into something that makes you dislike yourself. Embrace your weird. Embrace who you are. Enjoy being different. That makes you amazing. Some will like you. Some won’t. Some will love you. Some won’t. Some will understand you. Some won’t. Even so, it’s not your job to make anyone embrace you. Free yourself.


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Replaceable

Not long ago I lay in my bed with tears running down my face, curled into a tight ball facing away from my husband. Before this, my husband was right in the bed behind me, but I had somehow curled away from him. Thoughts raced through my mind, and before I knew it, the tears fell over the rim of my eyes and cascaded down the curves of my face. Trying to pull myself out of my despair, I asked my husband one simple question…at least I thought it was simple…I asked him, “Would you miss me if I wasn’t here?” My husband, sounding utterly confused, asked what I meant. I asked him would he miss me if I were no longer alive. At this, I felt him perk up in the bed behind me, and he hesitantly asked me where that had come from. I did not want to talk about it, so I told him it was not important. He would not let it go, and eventually I told him that I felt replaceable. I explained to him how I felt that no one would miss me if I were no longer around. Then I delved into the depression I had been battling, and the feeling that no one really cared about me. I admitted to myself that suicidal thoughts can even touch those who are seemingly so strong, and I admitted that right then I was not strong enough. My husband’s next words to me were slightly angry as he asked how I could ever think something like that, then he switched to soothing and encouraging as he told me how much I mean to him and others. He told me that if no one else needed me or cared, he does, and he told me to never think such crazy thoughts again. Then he grabbed me from my tightly curled ball, and would not let me go until I stopped crying and relaxed…learning to trust and daring to believe again. Life happens. Sometimes we feel like no one really cares about us. Many times we smile and laugh, and we try to make people believe that we are worth loving, but take it from me: You are worth loving even if no one seems to believe it. But, first you have to love yourself. I had to understand that my life does have purpose, and that no matter how dark things seem, just like the night-time, the morning has to come. Maybe you are like I was, feeling desperate, lonely, depressed, and seeking a way out. Maybe your prayers have seemed to get only as far as the ceiling as you stare at it. Maybe the words you want to say are not coming out clearly. Just remember one thing…your life matters. You are necessary. You are loved. You are NOT replaceable. You may be fighting, but you are powerful, and with God’s help, you win. I win. Believe.


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Above It All

Daily life can be inundated with things that can so easily get us off track. Before we know it, we have slacked off of tackling our goals. We have allowed what others are doing to become our daily entertainment, and somewhere along the way we may have forgotten that we too have things to do. Then, we may start believing that what we are supposed to be doing does not matter anymore. Maybe we believe we’re unneccessary. Maybe what we have to say, and what we are meant to do is irrelevant. Maybe it’s time for us to pack things up and find something else to do. At least that’s what we think. But, if it is our purpose, how is it so easy to put it away? Life happens. People are fickle. Emotions are temporary. One thing that has to remain constant is our dedication to who we are. That is regardless of anyone or anything else. Admittedly, I have had my moments lately-moments where I got so frustrated at the seeming lack of support, or I started comparing myself to others. I had to come to a realization though that I am peculiar. Who I am and how I do things is unlike ANYONE else on this earth. My voice was specifically created for people who will hear me. In the same token, you are set up to reach those meant for you to reach. Never settle with being less than you are. Instead, challenge the complacency when it threatens you. Challenge the low self-esteem and doubt. Hold on to your victory. You have gone through too much to back down now. Stay above it all.