Embracing: Becoming Myself

I’ve been reading a book by Stasi Eldredge called, “Becoming Myself: embracing God’s dream of you“. I’m halfway through and I’ve loved it. I’ve hated it. I’ve denied it. I’ve flat out ignored it. I’ve cried. I’ve laughed. I’ve identified myself, my hurts, my lost dreams, and so on, in so many places. It’s no secret that I’ve been on a journey of learning to truly become myself for awhile now. I mean, those who have been around me have seen the frustration, tears, triumphs, and even the hysterical laughter out of the sheer uncomfortableness, especially in the last month. Shall I go on? No, because it makes me all itchy and twitchy thinking about it. But, I am enjoying how this book is challenging me and encouraging me.

In this phase of the journey, somewhere in the beginning, I’ve been learning to accept who I am regardless of what anyone else thinks. I’m a people pleaser to the core. I will do what I can to make sure I don’t rock the boat. Because heaven forbid I have a different opinion than you. Or look different. Or BE different. And like most people pleasers, I want to be accepted by you. I want you to appreciate me and like me…so I have learned to change to become what you expect me to be. But, of course, it’s not me you are liking, but rather, who I think you want me to be. It’s exhausting!! So in this early part of my journey to truly become myself…the myself that God created me to be, I’m realizing I have to embrace and be happy with and accept, myself. The Raelynn that more than likely is different than you. Quite possibly, even different, than what you hope I would be. And hey, here’s a thought, it’s okay, more than okay, that I am different. There’s nothing wrong with being ‘different’. We need to quit judging ourselves for being different. Being different isn’t a bad thing. Different isn’t a bad word. Sheesh. If we were all the same, how boring would that be?

To embrace that side of me I’ve been writing down truths of me….the good, bad, ugly, funny, quirky, and so on. My likes, dislikes. It’s been even amounts of easy to tough to do. Because being honest with yourself, about yourself, is not always easy. Especially when you start thinking about those differences. All those things you hide – because you don’t feel good enough.

But as I’ve been writing down these truths of me, it’s come out a little like this:

  • I’m loyal!! Unless you get rid of me, i’m sticking to you no matter what
  • I need to learn balance and when to walk away, (ahem, see above)
  • I want to fix things, find solutions, and make life happy — to a fault at times
  • I’m funny, witty, and quite the entertainer
  • I’m smart and enjoy learning
  • I’m a worrier. I just am. Even though I know God has it…the worry is there.
  • I’m stubborn and must have the last word
  • I love, Love, LOVE, with every ounce of my being ~ even to the jerks & meanie heads
  • I will always choose to see the good in people
  • I say “I’m fine!” even when I’m not
  • I’ll apologize 1st ~ even if I shouldn’t be apologizing
  • I’m from a dysfunctional family, some may say from the wrong side of the tracks
  • I love ALL music ~ it just has to evoke an emotion or memory in me
  • I’m Oklahoma proud
  • God speaks to me often through Disney movies
  • I’m a weeper, a feeler, and sometimes, a downright emotional basket case
  • I’m quirky, nerdy, bratty
  • I hate change ~ even the good change
  • I want to be right
  • I stuff and avoid the things that make me uncomfortable
  • RealityTV makes me happy – yeah, i said it
  • Sometimes I say too much, drink too much, love too much, fix too much, feel too much, and even feel that I AM too much ~ even for myself
  • I make messes daily ~ figuratively and literally: small ones to big fat colossal ones
  • I could seriously add so many more bullet points but I will stop here

As I began writing down all things Raelynn – and there are pages and pages and room to add more – I began to see that all these normal, weird, average, quirky, and different things are just fine. Because they are me. I’ve spent so much of my life having this ‘secret’ side that I thought people wouldn’t appreciate or like because it looked different than what the world, and even I, felt was acceptable. But I’m over trying to be someone different. I’m so over it. I’m just me. Flaws and all. A beautiful mess. Full of God. Lover of Jesus. And though it’s easier written than done, every day I’m learning to accept me. And not just because of the attributes and things I’ve written above. But because I am worthy. I am important. I am lovable – and loved. God says so. He doesn’t lie. And if I am made in the image of Him, why would He deny Himself? He doesn’t deny me. I am spending so much time trying to get myself perfect for Him and for you – the world, that I am missing so much of the unique things that God appreciates about me, but more importantly has PUT IN ME. I am His creation. He says that I am wonderfully made. Wonderfully!!

I’m tired of hiding me. I’m tired of feeling like the things I am and enjoy need to be a secret. I’m okay with the world knowing what my “secrets” are – because they are all uniquely and creatively me.  I’m going to work on being kinder to myself and give myself room to grow. But what I most look forward to is hearing and seeing what God says about me and who’s made me to be. I’m more than excited to dream with God as He continues to define and polish me in to His masterpiece – quirks and all!

 

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You Should Know (Vol 2)

Grief is a beast. And it can sneak up on you anywhere, anytime, however it chooses. You can be driving along in your car and break out in uncontrollable sobs. The ugly cry. The deep soul groaning’s that only grief can give you. Or you can be sitting at your desk and have tears start falling down your face like a rushing waterfall. Not fun when you’re in the front office. Maybe you’re laughing and joking around with friends, and then out of nowhere the deep laughter turns into heart wrenching aches deep within that manifests itself again in unruly blubbering. It doesn’t help that I’m already a weeper and feeler. So when these moments happen, I’m finding, there is nothing you can do but lean in to it, embrace it, be in THE moment. Because the longer you shove them down, they just come back at you stronger, harder, and again at those most unfortunate times. Even still I’m learning that God is with me in those moments. He’s walking along with me because He knows the grief will end and bring new life. I used to be afraid of grief. I didn’t want to feel the pain. I didn’t want to deal with “the why” of the grief. I’m learning to not be so afraid. Grief will grow you, shape you, and make you a stronger person.

Fear. Oh fear. Such a tricky little bastard. Yeah, I said it. Fear has been prevalent in my life for so long. Keeping me from being me. Keeping me from my dreams. No, actually, keeping me from dreaming. Fear is always there, lurking, trying to tell me everything I’m not and what I can’t do. I’m not listening to fear anymore. Fear has no power over me. Oh, but he is there. Trying to trick me in to believing his lies so I will stay paralyzed. Fear knows that if I give myself over to it, then I will not move forward in my destiny, in the plans and purposes that God has for me. My God is bigger than any fear I have, so instead I’m choosing to remind myself that with God all things are possible. I’m learning to tune my ears to God’s whispers. Because God’s whispers are so much more powerful than fears shoutings.

The need to be silent is still with me. Trust me, there are many times I want to shout back and state my case. Defend my name. Stand up for me. Fight for you. But God has told me to hold my tongue. To remain silent. To remain in Him. Because in the silence, I am learning so much more about Him, His character, His love for me. I’m also learning about myself. What a concept?! It’s in the silence that you make room for growth because you aren’t filling up your mind with distractions. Truth prevails in silence. I’ve been following Him as He leads me to those still waters, so He can indeed restore my soul. But for that restoration to happen, I need to quit trying to distract myself with noise, and remain in silence. Only then can I hear Him. And be open to truth.

SIMPLE IS POWERFUL!!

Forgiveness is a mighty thing to give; but even mightier to receive. I’ve been pondering on forgiveness. Not to forgive only with my words, but also with my heart. It’s a work in progress. I’ll get there. Sometimes, the words are spoken because we do forgive in our minds and with our words; and then the heart part of forgiveness comes along and then it’s sealed. Done. Forgiven. As far as the east is from the west. Not just in our minds and words, but with every ounce of our being. FYI: I can forgive you, easily. However, I’m not so gracious and forgiving with myself. I am my own worst enemy. Forgiveness is key to my healing. I’m understanding that forgiveness is heavy, weighty, life giving, and so much bigger and broader than I understand. I’m excited to learn more about what true forgiveness is; and not just what I want it to be because it will make me feel better.

When things get all discolored, scarred, and scary, rest in knowing that GOD IS GOOD…all the time. And though you might not be able to see it, He is working on your behalf. And mine. I’m believing that more and more every day.

JESUS LOVES YOU!

Mountain Walks

This past Sunday I grudgingly took a walk through the mountains. I say, grudgingly, because at the time, I did not want to do it. As an extrovert with heavy introvert tendencies at times, I have been spending 75% of my time alone these days. More due to the fact that my heart has been needing to mend; and lately, I just need time alone. And that’s okay too. Don’t worry, friends. Your vivacious Raelynn will be back soon. It’s odd for me, too. But right now, I need some time. But, I digress, so with as much enthusiasm as I could muster, I went along on a hike because I said I would the Sunday before and I wanted to be true to my word. That whole, “let your ‘yes’ be ‘yes’, and your ‘no’ be ‘no’! And that, my friends, takes work. Because when you want to be alone, sometimes you want to turn that Yes, into a No! Not just a no, but a hell No!!! But like I said, I want to be true to my word, and as I secretly hoped it would rain…it didn’t, so off I went.

As we drove toward Silver Lake the sky turned grey and cloudy. Inside I was like, Yes, they’ll want to turn around. But onward we went because the sky was full of bright sun and grey spots. So there was much hope, no on my part, that our area would be full of sun. As we pulled in to the parking lot, it was pouring down with these odd snow/hail pellets. Affectionately termed “snellets” on this trip. And we sat in the car, waiting out the grey and snellets… then gratefully, it happened —yes please not the sarcasm here–the sun shone and called us forth. I was literally pulled out of the car, because again, my heart wasn’t in it quite yet.

We began our walk around the lake in the slightly grey–but not grey enough to keep us from going, yet still with bright sun peaking out of the clouds. And since I was on route anyway, I gave myself over to the adventure. So I walked, talked, and enjoyed the beauty that I was surrounded in–breathtaking. And slowly as I walked, it began to happen. You know…that moment! God began to speak soft, fatherly, comforting words to me. As it happened, I intentionally began to wander on the journey alone. Due to the fact that tears were so near the surface, my heart ached and needed healing, and I knew at that moment I was desperate for a moment with my Father. Which for any of you who know me, this was new to me. When it comes to God the Father, I tend to shy away. Due to not feeling as protected as a child, I’ve always kept myself distant and wary. Knowing that He was good and is good–all the time; but more toward you, and not toward me. Because again, I didn’t feel as protected…even now I can say that. But that was all about to change.

For any of you who know me well, know that when I’m in the mountains..and it never fails, He always puts a song in my heart. Something I just can’t help but sing. Sometimes they are super serious and worshipful, or even pensive, upbeat and happy, and at times it’s been “Colors of the Wind” from Pocahontas. After all, I am a Native Princess. But, anyway, I began to hear “You Found Me” by Loud Harp. One of my most favorite songs about God loving His children who feel lost and far away, yet He comes to rescue them. Like a Good Father does!! As the lyrics talk about how we wander and feel lost and are even caught neck deep in the mire–of our shames, guilt, and so on; that’s exactly how I’ve been feeling for some time now. Lost and wandering. Wanting a safe place to belong and call home. A place of total acceptance; and not based upon what I can do for you, or how I have to change to fit your personality in order to feel love and belonging. Truth be told, I’m quite transparent about much, but YES there are walls that I have had up for years and with good reason. And I have always longed for that Father acceptance and embrace; but felt it wasn’t for me. Such a long story that I understand and don’t understand. (It will take some time for a trained professional and I to sort out. But, with God, we’ll get there!) But, I heard God keep saying, “Be still and be with ME!” Which I felt terrified and anxious, but so needy for His comfort. As we walked He kept bidding me to know Him, but more importantly, to allow Him to know me. Basically, He was letting me know that He wants to know me–open and transparent–too. He wants to be with me. He wants me to tear down the walls I have and share myself with Him. And that terrified me.

Though I was terrified, the amazing thing about God, our Father, is He is loving. And He woos us. He knows I’m terrified to let myself be fully known. He knows that I am scared to let someone in fully to see the messes I’ve made; or to see what I truly think/believe of myself; or to see the hidden shame I stumble through trying to restore myself…which really is getting me nowhere. He already knows all of that, but He is allowing me to let Him in so I don’t feel forced in to it. He just waits for me. He waits for me to come to Him. And in that moment, I realized the depth of His love for me. When I could look at Him with all my flaws and mistakes–past and oh so present, and didn’t feel like I needed to lower my head. But instead, I could lift it high and wrap myself up in His arms. He was ready, more than ready…as I said He was waiting for me, and was oh so willing to rescue me when I opened myself up to Him. It’s the beginning of a new adventure of me understanding God the Father and His love for me..and you. I’m excited to move forward. And all I could hear as I continued my mountain walk was more of the song that says,

“You’re a good Father, this is a good home
right in the palm of Your hands,
You’re not letting go!”

I’m getting there…I’m embracing the journey…and soaking up every bit of good, bad, ugly, and awkward that comes along with it. I have no need to fear, though it is me, He knows I’ll get anxious at times, but I’ve got my Father along with me on this journey.

Check out Loud Harp if you haven’t yet! You won’t regret it.