Posts Tagged ‘feelings

06
Mar
17

Middle of Life Grown Up Lessons

soil and plant

I think I might almost be a grown up.  At least, I’m heading that way. I’m 45 years old, and some might think that it’s about time. But, for me, it’s been a process. And I absolutely love it, and sometimes I hate it. It’s hard, and it’s messy. But I love that I’m here, and I love that I’m learning things about myself that maybe I, personally, would not have been able to learn in my twenties. Some of my growth required time and experiences that I wasn’t looking for earlier, and some lessons I actually didn’t even know existed until now.

I get excited when I get to share what I’ve learned and what I’m learning, because, honestly, growth is not really an age thing. We’ve all seen younger people who seem to be wise beyond their years, and we’ve also seen older people who are still demanding their own way and who act like three year olds in old people bodies…it’s not pretty, but it’s a real thing. So I think growth and grown up-hood is not only a thing of grace, but it also has to do with our openness to receiving the gifts given to us. It’s having eyes to see and ears to hear and a heart that’s open to new possibilities.

Lesson #1:  We all have core value because we are made in the image of God…we are God’s image bearers. That’s incredible. However, we all have core hurts that some of us live out of. And after continually walking in those core hurts, it’s hard to know and feel our own core value and virtually impossible to see other people’s value if we can’t even see our own. We are valuable, and we are worth it.

Lesson #2:  Feelings are not bad. In fact, they are helpful in how we figure out why we do the things we do. We have to be able to feel and to realize what we’re feeling, and only then, can we move towards healing and growth.

Lesson #3:  In order to know and love others well, we have to know ourselves. We have to be compassionate with ourselves before we can be compassionate with others. Jesus said, “Love God; love your neighbor as you love yourself.”

Lesson #4:  Boundaries are vital. Everyone has a “yard,” and we get to decide who comes in and out of our yards.  While boundaries don’t initially make things easier, they make things healthier, and eventually, things do get easier with use.

Lesson #5:  We all have a voice. And finding and using our voice is important.  We have to be able to use it for ourselves before we are able to use it for others.

Lessons #6:  We are all unique individuals who have different gifts, and when we grace people with our particular gift, those around us are enriched and encouraged. No one’s gift is better than anyone else’s, so we don’t have to compete and compare.

Lesson #7:  I no longer have to put people in boxes labeled: good box and bad box. If I am establishing appropriate boundaries (Lesson 4) and seeing other people’s core value (Lesson 1), then I no longer have to make people the bad guy and me the good guy. People are just people.

Lesson #8:  You only know what you know. This seems like a very obvious kind of statement. But if we really believe that about ourselves and others, we can begin to not only show people grace, but we can cut ourselves some slack, as well.

Lesson #9:  You are not alone. We are all in this together.  Your story may have different details than mine, but our stories are connected. We don’t have to do this alone.

Lessons #10:  Life is hard. It just is. There is always going to be stuff that we would rather not go through. But as I get older, I ask myself, “What am I supposed to be learning from this?” I want to look for the beauty in everything, but especially in the struggle.

Lesson #11:  Everything is connected. If you start looking for the connections, you start seeing them everywhere.

Lesson #12:  “Where two or three are gathered in my name, there I am” is not just a nice principle or a cute Bible verse, it’s a real, life-giving mystery. And that’s the “following Jesus” kind of church that anyone anywhere can be a part of.

Lesson #13:  Questions are good. I have a couple friends who ask questions well, and I’m learning from them. If we’re willing to ask, there will always be someone there to answer.

Lesson #14:  Things are not happening to me; they are happening for me. When hard things come my way, instead of asking “Why me?” I now ask “How do I get to grow up in this?” If I look at the world through this lens, I no longer have to be a victim. It’s the difference between knowing that God is for me, not against me.

Lesson #15:  I absolutely have to have solitude and silence and wide open spaces. I cannot breathe well without these.

I don’t usually do lists, but I thought this might be a not-so-Kim-kind-of-way to look at how I’m becoming a grown up. A lot of these lessons overlap because everything is connected, of course (Lesson 11). These lessons have not been easy, and I hope to share stories in future blogs about how these lessons came to be.

For some of these lessons, I’m at the very beginning, while others I’m somewhere in the middle, and other lessons have been long and hard, and I’ve had to endure way more than I cared to. But I have a good Friend who has walked beside me and continues to walk with me on this amazing journey. And I’m grateful for the lessons He’s teaching me on a daily basis and for the friends He’s given to walk with me along the way.

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29
May
08

On Being Vulnerable

I’ve had a few rough days lately, days that I just don’t want to get out of bed or somehow end up getting back in. It’s been dreary outside, and my house and yard look like they’ve been turned inside out…I’m sure my neighbors appreciate that about my yard…but then who am I trying to impress anyway…

The last couple days I haven’t taken my morning walk which I should always do, no matter what. It seems to give me perspective and appreciation and helps me see outside of myself. Yesterday, after I got up, I went into Julia’s room and saw that she had swiped some thermometers off my dresser, and for some reason, this sent me over the edge. I started yelling, and then when I reached down to pick up one of the thermometers off the floor, I smashed my head into the windowsill. And that, of course, made me yell louder and made me even angrier than I already was, and now I have a nice lump with a bruise on my forehead…I love it when Abba gives me a visible reminder that some things just don’t matter all that much, but I wasn’t really appreciating my reminder at the time.

This incident just led me to get back into bed where I tried to sleep off my irritability. But sometimes sleep doesn’t help that much. And when I woke up, I was still sad and irritated. Some things are soul issues that don’t go away with sleep.

I don’t handle transitions well, and now my three older boys are home from school. And, middle school boys are in an amazing category all their own. They pick at each other and run around and shoot rubber bands and steal hats and just generally cause a big ruckus and a mess that I don’t think I was ready to take on yet. A friend of mine told me years ago that you have to keep this age busy or they become really out of control. I guess it’s kind of like having really active toddlers who get into everything but with bigger bodies and bigger mood swings…how that is possible, I’m not sure. But it’s chaotic, and I just haven’t felt like embracing this chaos yet.

I think what I’m coming head to head with on a daily basis is my complete and utter selfishness. It’s a little scary to look at so openly and honestly and realize that some days I’ve made everything really all about me, and it’s ugly…real ugly.

I keep having this recurring dream of walking around topless. I wouldn’t even actually call it a dream…it’s just a sense of having done this…a really strong sense. I actually asked my husband if I had ever done this and more specifically had I done this in front of his parents. I’m sure Freud would have a heyday with this. But I know this has to do with being vulnerable, and I’m feeling vulnerable, like I’ve revealed too much about myself…like people are shaking their heads at me. It shouldn’t really matter, but sometimes it just does. However, I’m realizing my feelings change a lot, and I really can’t count on them to tell me the truth.

I’m going to keep writing these things, because I think this is all part of being human. And in confessing my weaknesses and my humanness is where the mask comes off and the façade fades and where Abba reveals Himself to me in my need. Having it all together is overrated and a lot of hard work to keep up…quite frankly I don’t have that much energy to expend on presenting something that’s false…so here it is…the good, the bad, and the ugly…but thank goodness today’s a new day, and Jesus is alive and working in me, whether I feel like it or not.

 




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