it's january now. and i am promising this year that i will be more vulnerable. more honest. more willing to have the hard conversations. more willing to hear truth spoken in love. more secure in who i am + more able to be exactly who i was created to be. i am promising to be brave no matter the cost + find complete refuge in Christ - trusting that His "it's all good shelbs - I've got it." is truth. i'm ready. or at least i'm ready to try.
last year ... last year i promised to live up to a quote that simply said "this year i will be stronger, braver, kinder, unstoppable + this year i will be fierce!" and let me just say ...
i think i did it. i was strong and brave + unstoppable when i moved to alaska.
i hope i was kind ... i guess that is up to you guys.
and i'm not gunna lie ... i am so FIERCE!!!!
okay back to this year. this year is new. this year is different.
last week i read the book "bread + wine" by shauna niequist. it was one of the most beautiful and transparent books i have ever read. i laughed out loud + cried ugly tears. i found myself longing to be more transparent. i found myself relating to her writing + feeling like she was across the table from me - handing me a gluten free pastry + a big cup of hot coffee + saying "it's okay sister - you can be honest with yourself." i found myself dreaming of becoming a wife and mom and filling my house with people and all the best foods. i found myself missing my tribe back home + weeping because i knew if i was home they would be my cooking club. i found myself relating to her heart + her hurt. i found myself thankful that she's a mess just like the rest of us + her ability to be honest about it is something i hope to get better at this year.
because people ... i am a mess. sometimes a wreck. i am loud and unabashedly bold. sometimes too bold. i am so imperfect. i hurt people. i scream and yell and sometimes i'm totally out of control. i often tell people i need the t-shirt that says [ i love Jesus - but i cuss a little. ] because i do. when i'm angry or excited - choice words flow from my lips - sometimes too easily. just last week i flipped out at my brother and said SH*T like 5 times or maybe 10 + my parents were there + i was wild and out of control. i'm crazy. brutally honest. rude and sometimes mean. and i could name off handfuls of people that REALLY don't like me. but you know what?
my identity is not found in your opinion of me
+ i refuse to keep living like it is. i refuse to worry anymore about what you think of me. whether that be loving me or hating me. it's exhausting. i think so many people feel this way. why do we care how many people follow us on instagram? why do we live in expectation - hoping someone "cool" will want to be our friend? the pressure some days is too much - and i feel like my entire being could just explode - like a grenade. i don't wish to keep living this way for one more day. i refuse it. i say to myself [ no - this isn't just - this isn't what matters - stop! ] + i step away from my phone + i breathe in the cool alaska air + i remind myself what matters.
towards the end of shauna's book she has a chapter about summer - and as i read it i cried + remembered + i laughed + dreamed. i related to her on every level. except the part about having a baby. haha. throughout the book shauna beautifully discloses her body shame and how she dealt with it for the better part of her life. but in this particular chapter she talks of summer + all the spectacular things that come with it + then she talks about the dreadful parts as well - being seen in a bathing suit. a few quotes stuck out to me as she unpacked her box of worry. she said [ my friends are not actually counting the days till summer to see if i've finally turned into a supermodel. ] haha! but i think the best part of all was this ... [ shame ... it whispers to us that everyone is as obsessed with our failings as we are. it insists that there is a watchdog group devoted completely to my weight or her wrinkles or his shrinking bank account ... shame tells us we're wrong for having the audacity to be happy when we're so clearly terrible. shame wants us to be deeply apologetic for just daring to exist. ] + then she redeems that whole rant by sweeting admitting that she will not live like that anymore. she says [ i'm going to live in the body God made me, not because it's perfect but because it's mine ... i'm not going to let a lifetime of shame about my body get in the way of living in a rich, wild, grateful, wide-open way. i'm not going to give into the cultural pressure that says women's bodies are only beautiful when they're very, very small ... i'm not going to bow to the voice inside my head that says i should be ashamed of myself for being so unruly and wild ... i'm not going to hide. ] oh this part it made we weep. it brought memories of my childhood on the beach + memories of feeling shame now. i said "you go girl" a few times + prayed i could be as brave as her.
because if i'm being honest with you ... this is something i have quietly dealt with for quite some time. shame. about my body and how it looks. medications have ruined + years of illness are reflected in this body of mine. sometimes i wonder where the body went that God gave me. but i am slowly learning that scars are beautiful and scales are brutal + i need to take a step back + be thankful that i can run [ not very well ] + dance [ give me a pool floatie + i'm the best dancer ever ] + do things like walk through orange groves with my brother on a random thursday in california.
this week shauna's book gave me new air. inspired me to write more. be bold. stop being ashamed + kick butt everyday.
this year i am choosing to live a full life. be the crazy mess i am. and remain completely unapologetic about it.
i refuse to live a life hoping to be accepted.
because again ... my identity is not found in your opinion of me.
i refuse to let it be.
so here i go ...
vulnerable. brave. willing. ready.
[for you are calling me to greater things.] - bethel music