Have you ever walked so far on a journey and realized that you somehow ended up back in a spot that you vowed to never enter again? Maybe it is the back road of that small town where the broken heart lives, and the boy who said everything right and stole your heart ended up breaking it into pieces. Maybe it is the big city where you indulged in too much, and the mirror started to reveal more of you than you wanted to see. Maybe it is back at the high school football game where you see people that once made you feel small, or in the dark corners of the night where you meet a man named depression who comes to steal all your joy.
There is so much along our journeys that come back to haunt us and hold us hostage to our past. Our freedom is robbed when we circle back to those places. The cycle of doubt, shame, hurt, and an unhealthy attachment to those roadblocks in our journey can destroy our lives, but recently I have learned that we can approach those not as our chains, but our stories. I have lived a very hidden life. I post the one I want people to see. Don’t we all? I learned very early to put on a face to hide things that were not suited for others to see. This blog is opening up a floodgate of emotions and unveiling pieces of myself that have been reserved for only the deepest waters of my heart.
Sometimes the shame creeps up on me, sometimes the mirror lies to me and tells me that even though I work so hard, that I am not worthy to feel confident and beautiful. Sometimes I think I don’t deserve the amazing man I married because of all I have put him through. Sometimes I want to go back and redo the last 15 years and see if it will change the outcome of certain aspects of my life. And feeling all of this makes me feel guilty! What a vicious cycle!
I believe however, in the midst of this wreck on my journey, that there is freedom in TRUTH! The truth is that I am not perfect. I have made some mistakes that have caused some waves in marriage, my friendships, and my health. I have stretch marks, love handles, thick thighs, and chubby cheeks, but over the last three years I have lost 85 pounds and run over 1000 miles. I have let my depression and anxiety steal months and precious moments of my life. But in all this, there is freedom in accepting my Truths!
There is a definition of freedom that I love. It says that, Freedom is when we are in a state of being exempt or released usually from something burdensome. Instead of burdening myself with feelings of shame, guilt, feeling unworthy, and hopelessness, I am free in accepting those as past journeys; towns and cities that I once traveled through, that I have pictures of in my heart, but that do not hold me captive. I am released from them, exempt from feeling their weight, but comforted knowing I have a stronger stride because of what they taught me.
I want to tell my stories because I am learning how to accept and navigate this freedom, but please do not be fooled; it is the hardest lesson I have learned. I am being tested, chiseled, attacked, and I literally feel like I am alone most of the time in the depths of my own thoughts. Yet, the light shines even on the darkest of nights, and Joy comes in the morning!
As I write this blog and begin to open up more in my daily life, I hear people who share their journeys and the comforts of universal struggles overwhelms me. My prayer is that you fight to find Freedom in your Truths! Don’t hide from them, or be ashamed of them, but shine them in the light and let the shadows of those burdens fall.
Share this blog and let’s start a new wave of people who can accept their whole journey and use them to empower others!