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!

 

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.

Emotions: Grief (the beginning)

I’ve been reading “The Walk” series with Kelly. It’s basically about a physical, emotional, and spiritual journey of a man who lost everything–literally, everything; and how he deals with those losses and moves forward. I’ve enjoyed them and am in the middle of book 4 in the 5 book series. Recently, I was reading a section where he was dealing with grief. And it opened my eyes up to an area in my life where I realize that even though i’ve forgiven, dealt with the outcome of certain losses and disappointments in my life, I still have some hurts from them that are larger than they should be. And after I read the quote on grief, I understood why.

“Grief isn’t a luxury, it’s an appropriate response to loss.
You don’t just will it away. If you allow it to run it’s course, it will fade with time,
but if you ignore it or pretend it didn’t exist, it only gets worse.”

After reading that, I had one of those Oprah ‘aha moments’ she always talks about. You know, when the light bulb comes on and it just clicks in your soul. I realized that even though I’ve gone through prayer and forgiveness for some hurts and losses that I’ve experienced in my life, I never truly dealt with the grief of the experience. I’m one of those people known as a “stuffer” with my own* feelings. I start experiencing the feeling, then stuff it down and slap on a little bandaid over the wound and go on. Basically, I smile and say, “it’s all alright” and ignore it. And while that has been a great survival technique for these many years of my life, let’s just say…it’s caught up with me. And grief is demanding to be felt and walked through. Yuck! But, I see that grief is indeed an appropriate response to loss. Whatever those losses may be: death, job, friends, family, even loss of self. The list of loss can go on and is so individual to each of us; but the point is, loss is loss and there is a grief that comes and must be dealt with from our losses and hurts. And it’s important that we face it and walk through the stages of grief so that we can move forward. More importantly, we allow it to run its course, so it doesn’t grow and fester and become worse. It will always catch up with you.

I’m trying to work through these emotions of grief. I’ve ignored them for so long. This is a long road, but one I’m ready and willing to go through. Though it hurts, at times more than the pain that first got it there, I know that this is the best step for me to truly move forward in freedom. Not sure where I’ll go from here, other than experience it in its full depth and authenticity. Easier said than done, but I’m ready to start. I’m sure I will be revisiting grief again in future blog posts as I walk out this part of my journey.

*I can feel for you all day long, but dealing with myself and what i’m feeling inside…that’s scary stuff.