This summer was something else. It was in its own orbit, in its solar system and universe completely. It was strange yet had bits and pieces of good and magic scattered throughout. This is a compilation of most of the things I learned from it, inspired by Emily P. Freeman’s blog post. I ended up learning more than I thought I did, for which I am super grateful. Here is the list below!
I learned to go after what I want and take chances. I learned to step into my dreams rather than just watch them from afar. I’ve always dreamed of working and moving in Downtown Miami. It’s a place that inspires me and makes my soul sing. One day, after feeling like a bit of a failure for not having any summer plans, I decided to look for jobs Downtown. It was a long shot since I had zero experience, but God made a way and I had interviews back to back with a couple of companies Downtown. I loved it. I felt like I was finally moving closer to where I wanted to be. I was proud of myself for taking the chance and applying. I actually got a job offer, too?! So yea. I learned that sometimes taking a leap in the direction you want to go in can really pay off.
Love Your Body
I learned to love my body, unapologetically and unashamedly. I learned to let go of a lot of toxic thoughts and ideas when it came to my body and women’s bodies in general that did not serve me or anyone. For so long I viewed my body as something gross and to be covered up because it didn’t conform to the general standards of beauty society put in place. I don’t have curves or a big butt or perky boobs. I have cellulite and stretch marks and saggy boobs and a flat, weird butt. I have hip dips and rolls and scars and pockmarks. I have body hair. I am the complete opposite of everything society lauds in women. So of course I grew up to hate it all. But I am also grateful that I grew up. And with that comes changing ideals and responses as I grew to understand how society actually works. And the conclusion I came to? Fudge it. Fudge it to heck. Society can keep their standards, but I’m no longer going to view my body with shame and disdain for the way I was made. Of course all of those women are beautiful, but so am I. And I have a right to love and enjoy this gift for as long as God, the Creator of this beautiful vessel, allows it.
I learned about the importance of having a healthy relationship with my body. As I mentioned above, I learned to accept and love all of the “flaws” I’ve disliked for years. I am also learning that a healthy relationship is also about working out and eating well. I want to treasure this gift God has given me. He’s blessed me with this particular vessel, with all of my body’s beauty and quirks, for a purpose and vision beyond myself. I want to honor that by nourishing it and taking care of it as much as I can, while I can, so it can run as best as it can for the long run. Our bodies are like cars in that way. Cars are created and designed to be used, not just to be stared at with aw and wonder. If we park our cars and don’t drive them for a long period of time, things may start breaking down and getting weird. Then when you do want to use it for whatever purpose, it may not run at its peak performance. There may be tons of problems as you take it on the road, some of which may be fixable, costly to fix, or not fixable at all. Our bodies are the same way. We are meant to move. We have muscles and bones and joints and what nots to help us move in our day-to-day. We all know that not treating our bodies well (mentally, physically, emotionally) can lead to a host of diseases, from diabetes and heart disease, to mental illnesses like depression and eating disorders. I want to try to keep all of those things in tip-top shape by nourishing my body with healthy foods, and moving and exercising often.
Light Over Darkness
I learned to not give up when the darkness within threatens to overpower the light. I’ve been battling a lot of stuff these past few months/ two years. Everything from anger to bitterness to resentment to temptation to greed and selfishness and jealousy and discontentment. I was a mess. I am still a mess, but I am a work in progress. There were so many parts of my heart that were either decaying or were void of any life. There were other parts that were so full of disgusting emotions (the ones above) that they fed into one another, and tried to choke out the good God crafted so lovingly, like weeds in a field of flowers. I didn’t want to fight a lot of it, either. I wanted to just live in the darkness because it was easier. It was easier to not forgive someone for all of the wrong they’ve done than to forgive and move on, especially when they hurt you and others daily with no remorse. It felt like losing. It was easier to be resentful than to work on loving others despite what they’ve done and who they are. It was easier to be selfish and think about my needs only than to share God’s blessings with others. It felt like I had so little that I needed to hold on to all of it as much as I could, when in reality I had a lot, and others could use some of that as well. There is still a lot that I’m going through everyday, but I’m learning to surrender my heart daily, and to tap into God’s eternal and divine strength when I’m feeling weak, weary, or numb.
I learned the importance of connecting. I long for connection with people. I yearn it. I’m not the type of person who wants to have a million distant acquaintances, but a few really good, close friends. I love knowing that there are some people who you can call up and know that they are there for you. I am also a chronic bridge burner, which is such a bad thing. When one relationship or friendship ends or fades, I just move on without looking back. Sometimes I do the ending, sometimes they do, but I never try to maintain the connection. Even if it’s a friendship that petered out, or people who I wanted to get to know more but didn’t have the guts to reach out first, I want to gain some courage, shove aside anything that’s holding me back, and work to keep those bridges open.
The World and It’s Whims
I learned to not chase after the world and it’s promises. Sigh. The world promises everything. It promises love, money, eternal glory, fame, power, and everything else under the sun. The problem with that is that most of these things come with major caveats. You have to sacrifice one thing for another. I sacrificed a lot of time in the beginning of summer, valuable time that I should have spent praying and reflecting, on chasing after worldly whims. I wanted influence and status and large social media followers. I wanted the glitz and the glamour, and devoted days on end chasing it. It’s not a bad thing. What was bad was my heart and intentions. And all of those things I was pursuing was just not me. I love the idea of the glitz and glam, of followers and status and money, but in reality, those things will not bring me the satisfaction or pleasure I seek. I would always be pursuing more, with none of those pursuits ever satisfying me. In the end, I really had to take several steps back from blogging, social media, and other pursuits to really think about it all. The conclusion? Focus on God, and less on the world. All else will come along.
But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
Matthew 6:33 NIV
I learned to be more intentional/ mindful. Most things I do should have some sort of purpose, and not just be for the sake of it. I wanted to be intentional with my online adventures, working to create places that helps others, rather than playing the comparison game and being as generic as possible. I want that what I spend my money on adds value/joy to my being or to someone else’s. When it comes to food, I want to spend my money on things that nourish me, rather than drains me (I’m looking at you junk food. Love hate relationship to the max). There are some things where I say fudge it and blow my money at it (Marshalls!!!!!!), but overall this is my goal.