I'm sitting here in our bed with an empty take out box, Better Homes magazine, the hum of our box fan, and a giant cup of sweet tea--about to write to you my overwhelming desire to just be real by opening up with some catchy, intriguing sentence that would make you want to read the rest of this. (Writers probs.) Which is all besides the point. Because quite frankly, I am a mess. This is my life. I work all day, grab take-out 80% of the time, do stuff around our apartment which usually means cleaning because I'm a neat freak (the kind of neat freak that drives my husband c r a z y), go to bed, then wake up to do it all over again. Every. Single. Day. And I ask myself repeatedly, several times throughout my work day: What in the world am I doing with my life? What do I want to be when I grow up? Does any of what I'm doing right now even matter?
Multiple times a day, I over-analyze my life, conversations, and interactions with people.
But at the end of the day... I am not happy. I am not satisfied. I am not content. I am not where I want to be. I am actually very unhappy. Some days, I go the whole day without having a single, meaningful conversation...with a single soul. Partly because I work in a cubicle all day + I'm a die-hard introvert, but nevertheless, I still crave intimate conversations with at least one person. Just one. I don't believe people are made to be alone or spend so much time alone. Even introverts crave people interaction. They do. Really. Promise. (just a very different kind from you crazy, fun-loving extroverts!)
I sit here and inside I'm screaming: I JUST WANT MY LIFE TO MATTER.
But at the end of the day, I'm scared. Terrified actually. Because I am so unhappy, I care greatly what people think of me. This fear keeps me from interacting with others. Even when I talk to others, I feel like a shell of a person.
I crave conversations of real substance. While I do care somewhat about what you had for dinner the night before, or what your plans for the weekend are; what I want more than these is real, raw, honest conversations about where we are all in life. Our struggles. Our strengths and weaknesses. You know, if you happened to cry yourself to sleep last night too or how your parents marriage in shambles is effecting you. I know, I know. Conversations like that are "only" for when you've known the person longer than 5 minutes. I get it. That's a little crazy... right? I guess I don't think it is. Not when you want more in life... to grow as a person... to be something more... to aspire to be something greater. You want conversations that challenge you, take you off guard, push you outside of your comfort zone, and leave you a little uncomfortable with just how real the conversation was.
Oh, I crave this kind of real. I scan my Facebook timeline and read of trivial arguments, conversations for the world to see, photos that are trite, judgmental, others trying to boast, brag, others baring it all physically and emotionally for the WORLD to see, and so on. And all I see really... at the end of the day... is everyone wanting and searching for something more. We post for attention, recognition, affirmation, and validation. Or am I the only one? Then I ask myself, what am I doing now, what is my purpose for posting this, who will see it and read it, what are they thinking right now... etc. We all do this. I do this SO MUCH.
So I'm here. Asking for something more. Wanting to take that first step... okay leap... outside of my comfort zone. To do something outside of myself for the gain of something much greater than my comfort. It's not something I, or anyone, can or will do overnight.
For me, in this season of my life... Striving for more means:
1. Devoting. Literally bearing with others in their very real life circumstances. You won't see me being friends with anyone and everyone. I'm not that kind of person. But I will give my all to friendships that the Lord has blessed me with. Because these are the kinds of friends that I want my kids (if ever) to know. These are the kinds of friends I want by my bedside if ever there is some health issue and I'm laid up in the hospital. The kind of friends I would call if I got the kind of news that shook me to the core. My mom always taught me as a child that if you can count on one hand your close friends, you are a very, very blessed individual.
2. Writing. I stopped writing so long ago... perhaps after college, so almost 4 years ago. I came to Seminary and gave my all here... emotionally, spiritually, mentally... this place took it all. Just being honest. I lost myself in the Baptist lifestyle of appearing one way, but inside being very, very different. Someone once called me the "poster child for the Baptists." While it hurt at the time, I look back and see truth there. I lived the "perfect life"--at least from the outside. Seminary took everything, stripped me, and now I feel I am being birthed into a woman who is much different (aren't we all meant to be constantly changing, becoming more like Christ?). I digress. I used to write religiously. Whatever I was learning, feeling, growing into... I wrote into words that formed and shaped each season. I haven't written in so long, in a REAL way, because quite frankly--I've been afraid of just being myself. But I need to get these things out and work through them. Words are my means to understand this life. I have to get these words out on the screen. Read or don't, I won't be hurt. :)
3. Investing Investing in my health. Who I am. Loving myself as a woman completely and entirely, in whatever body God has given me. What that means for me is: not buying the cheapest shoes (this might seem silly okay but bear with me), not buying the cheapest makeup, not depriving myself of GOOD food, restful sleep, time to invest in me and my passions, etc. I put myself on the back burner, a lot. I don't buy nice things for myself, and when and if I do, I feel extremely guilty. I never used to be this way until marriage, because there's something about marriage that has made me want to save. Which there's nothing wrong with. But I am learning, it is o k a y to take care of myself. My first step into this wellness pursuit was finally purchasing Young Living Essential Oils. Why oils? Because it was a huge investment for me. And I even waited until the kit I wanted to badly went on sale! Investing funds that are not exactly growing on trees meant I was saying "yes" to myself for once. The next step for me is starting Whole30 seriously in March and being committed. Not to be skinny. But to look in the mirror and be genuinely happy when I look at myself. [also, FYI, if we as women talked to other women the way we talk to ourselves... we would have no friends okay... I'll stop beating myself up if you stop beating yourself up. deal?]
4. Loving. Loving my husband and being OKAY with being happy in our marriage. We don't have kiddos and they may not be apart of our story, but good heavens, I am so thankful I married Cody Davidson. Marriage is h a r d work and it is the most sanctifying relationship I have ever experienced, but I would not trade this life for any other. When I'm 50, I want to look back and say something like, "Bear, look at us. Look how far we've come babe. And we thought we wouldn't make it back then." Because really, if all us newly-married folks were honest with each other... we're not okay all the time and things aren't always reminiscent of our honeymoon. Life is real, raw, and when you involve another sinful individual like yourself... your marriage is going to be messy. I would just appreciate it if we didn't all act like our marriages were peachy 100% of the time. Because it's not. And we're not okay all the time. Saying "fine" to "how are you" is almost always, a lie. [FYI, I am not saying our marriage is awful, miserable, or awful. Don't you dare take it that way. Okay? Because I love my life with Cody!]
This was all over the place and I apologize. Once I clear the fog in this head of mine, I hope to write more concisely and on-topic. I just desperately wanted to show myself to this social-media world. If you've made it this far, thank you for reading. Thank you for following me on this journey called life. I'm so thankful for God's grace He so freely gives us.
So yeah. I have a lot more to say. A lot more on my mind. A lot more I want to do. But I'll leave it here.
If We're Honest
by Francesca Battistelli
Truth is harder than a lie
The dark seems safer than the night
And everyone has a heart that loves to hide
I'm a mess and so are you
We've built walls nobody can get through
Yeah, it may be hard, but the best thing we could ever do, ever do
Bring your brokenness, and I'll bring mine
'Cause love can heal what hurt divides
And mercy's waiting on the other side
If we're honest
Don't pretend to be something that you're not
Living life afraid of getting caught
There is freedom found when we lay
our secrets down at the cross, at the cross
It would change our lives
It would set us free
It's what we need to be