So yesterday was my birthday in which I had the most wonderful, slow paced, enjoyable day with my amazing husband. We were living life, having fun, being giddy, young at heart, and I was truly being in “each” moment, soaking up the love we have, and the memories we were making, and at the end of the day I was so grateful. I believe this was my best birthday ever because I chose to be in “each” moment, instead of trying to get through to the next destination or the next item on my life’s “to do” list. Actually last year’s birthday was a big milestone of why this birthday was so wonderful. You see, on my birthday last year I was very sick with the flu and whether it was the flu, too much NyQuil, reactions to the z-pack I was given, or a combination of it all, something really went wrong with my body. There are too many symptoms to mention, but the main issues since then, is that my digestive system has been a mess which I’m still trying to figure out, and my body felt totally depleted. By Christmas I was just numb and going through life trying to make it through each day. I tried figuring out what was wrong with me, self diagnosing, but finally decided after the holidays I would go to my doctor and get help. For starters, my thyroid and adrenals were completely depleted. I’m working on getting these balanced out, and as many of you know for years I’ve already been focused on healthy eating and living to help ease my pain of fibro and arthritis, but now with the skin rashes and digestive issues I’m completely off of gluten and sugar, and am slowly on a path of healing, as we continue to figure things out.
So all of this has caused me to sit back and review my life. I’ve kept myself over extended and exhausted for years. Not only with society’s busyness of life, when you add my control and perfectionism where I have always needed to have everything right, always in its place, being the best, trying to do better and more and bigger things, on top of my codependency of trying to help fix and rescue anyone and everyone in my path that reached out to me, as it made me feel important when others needed me, because I needed to be needed, accepted, loved and liked, and I thought that’s what I had to do to get it. All of this had me in a chaotic rat race of go, go, go — both physically and mentally!
But, I’m changing this crazy cycle of mine to slow down, be in the moment, breathe and enjoy right where I am, rather than hurrying through just trying to get to the next destination, never enjoying the journey. Right now making these changes of being still, intentionally slowing down, removing things from my agenda and life, saying “no” and not accepting new and more responsibilities, is as awkward for me as it is looking at the word “waler” with my OCD and not having the “t” crossed. My life has been where I’ve needed to be in control (at least think I am) and have every “t” crossed and every “i” dotted. But I’ve realized, even if the word “waler” doesn’t have the “t” crossed, people will know what the word is suppose to mean, and it’s not the end of the world if the “t” isn’t always crossed.
My codependent, perfectionist, controlling personality has actually controlled me, and has taken away my peace, joy, contentment and loving life as a whole, and I’m done. These have been tools I’ve used as coping skills over the years that I needed to deal with things in my life that was out of my control, but they are unhealthy and robbing me of so much. As I get older I realize more and more the importance to just “be” and enjoy all that I’ve been blessed with and not let these things control me. They have been my addiction to cope, but I choose to stop this and instead love life, breathe, play in the rain, splash in the puddles, breathe in the air, be still and feel the sun’s warmth soak into my aching body easing the tension and pain. Learning to laugh deep belly laughs, and sing at the top of my lungs with goodness, fun and foolishness. Being silly, enjoying life with my wonderful husband, family and friends. Life on this earth is too short to stress over nonsense, and it’s time for me to enjoy all the blessings I’ve been given. To stop pushing to get one more chore done, one more thing to do before I can stop and enjoy life. Because my to do list will never end, and there’ll always be one more chore to do, so I choose to stop focusing on that “one more” thing and live life right where I am.
Like the song from Casting Crowns says “stop holding on and be held”. Holding on is me still trying to control, where being held is letting go, surrendering my control, and instead being held and resting in the loving, caring arms of our creator trusting in His unconditional love for us no matter who we are or what we’ve done. You see, for years I believed in the man made laws of religion which shows God more as a dictator watching and waiting for us to mess up so He can punish us. And for several years I couldn’t even open up the Bible because I thought it was just a lot of lawful do’s and don’ts in which I couldn’t take anymore, because I already put so much guilt, discipline and strictness on myself. But I’ve come to know our true creator and Heavenly Father. And now I can’t get enough of His Word because after removing the lies of man I’ve realized it’s filled with promises, hope, peace and joy He offers to all of us if we will just accept His gift. You see as his child I’ve tried to “do” to earn His love, grace, forgiveness and mercy. But you can’t “do” anything for a gift, as it’s offered freely. My works were trying to make me feel better, because I thought I had to do this for Him. He even says in His Word, if a child asked his parent for food would his parent give him a stone? No! Even humans who have flaws want to give their children good things, how much greater love does our Heavenly Father have for us. (Matthew 7:9-12) Religion with man made laws cause us to feel we must “do” to be loved, approved, accepted, but I know beyond a shadow of a doubt these are lies by man, because our creator and loving Heavenly Father is so full of love, grace, mercy, forgiveness, and patience, and the more I “be still” and rest in Him, accepting, realizing and soaking up these wonderful gifts from Him and remove the lies of man, the more free I am in mind, body, and soul, and the more I desire and am able to give these same attributes out to others each day of my life. God is saying: “be” who you are, His wonderful creation, wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14). “Be” in a relationship with him through accepting His gift. “Be” loved. “Be” forgiven. “Be” accepted. And by accepting His gift we can “Be” filled with a hope, peace, joy, contentment we never thought was possible. I’ve realized, just like an appliance needs to be connected to the power source to work, I need to be connected to my amazing Heavenly Father (through his word, prayer and the Holy Spirit) as it fills me with exactly what I need every day. Love when I feel unloved. Hope when I feel hopeless. Wisdom when I need guidance. Strength when I am weak. A firm foundation when life is stormy. Consistency that He’s the same yesterday, today and forever in an ever changing world. Confidence when I’m afraid. Trust when I need to know He’s right there with me- holding me, carrying me, desiring to give me the best life I could possibly ever desire if I stop holding on and just be held (Jeremiah 29:11). And I know as I intentionally work towards this new way of life– to be still, to be held, to just breathe, to let go, and just enjoy each moment I’m in, I will slowly come to find that this will no longer feel awkward, but will become my new way of living, another step closer to the way God planned for me to live from the beginning, and I can’t wait to see what it brings to my life and all those in my life.
Listen to this wonderful song and believe, know without a doubt you are loved unconditionally by your Heavenly Father. https://youtu.be/tIZitK6_IMQ
Wow! What a great testimony, Jackie! I”m so glad I read it! God has truly blessed you and I pray he uses these words to help and bless many others!
Thanks for your kind words and encouragement. Loving how God is showing Himself more and more as I try daily to have less of me and more of Him in my life. It’s truly my honor to put pen on paper to let others know the awesome God we serve and who can provide all that we ever need as we do so. God bless you my friend.
As always, loved your blog this morning! One of the blessings of becoming older is how God helps us to see better spiritually. Like you, He has taken me through so many seasons of my life but I think the lesson, so far, that I have had the most difficulty learning to put into practice is simply, to “Be still, and know” that He is God. I am still working on it but I know when I do put it into practice my days are so much better, my attitude better and I become aware of all God has done for me. Thank you for your blog!
Thanks for your comments and encouraging words. Prayers as we seek this “be still and know He is God”, moving to a less of me and more of Him, getting out of his way so He can provide the amazing things He desires to in our lives 🙂