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!

Words!!

Words. I love them. Always have. I love learning new ones. I have a plethora of favorites because I love hearing them spoken and enjoy how they roll off the tongue. Words like: resplendent, lackadaisical, brouhaha, conundrum, insipid, persnickety, etc. Growing up I would try to learn one new word a day. Words are yummy to me. Meaning, I could devour them up they are so good. I have always been a reader. I could get lost in books. From an early age, I read books that had LARGE, smart, words. I remember sitting with a dictionary and when I’d get to a word I didn’t understand, I’d look it up. Then, viola, I had another word added to my Raelynn dictionary. I think Jason Mraz expresses it best in one of his songs. It goes like this…

“See I’m all about them words, over numbers, unencumbered, numbered words.
Hundreds of pages, pages, pages, forwards. More words, than I had ever heard,
And I feel so alive!”

You can string words together to create a fantastical image of emotions, thoughts, points, and recollections. For me, words, were how I expressed all that was going on within my head. I’m a thinker. Most times, I can get too lost in my own thoughts. So many words happening all at once can create a perfect storm of catastrophe in your mind. And to be able to journal it out helped stopped some of the inner processing that was unhealthy. Words are also strung together wonderfully in music. You can generally tell the mood i’m in by the songs i’m listening to. I’m not a genre snob when it comes to music. It can be pop, country, rock, rap, R&B, opera, folk, yodeling…the point being, the lyrics are what draw me in, those beautifully strung together words, within the song. They speak to my emotions, happy and sad. Reaching deep into my soul. Telling of all that is going on deep in my heart. Or, solely, expressing fun and being alive.

I’ve always been expressive. Ask anyone who knows me. It’s rare that i’m at a loss for words. Though, i’m sure many wish I was at a loss for words in some instances. For that, I say, I’m sorry. But not really, it’s just who I am. I’ve always been verbose. It’s me, I’ve accepted it. Please for your sake, accept it, too.

Lately I’ve been pondering on the power of words. Words have power for good and bad. I’ve been thinking about how words can bring life or bring death. They can build up or they can tear down. And as verbose as I am, I have felt the need to be silent. See, even a wordy, gabby, talkative, expressive person can be quiet and still. I’ve been trying to tie together what i’m feeling with my words. But I’m getting mostly silence. The words have stopped. It was frustrating at first. But God has been speaking to me in the silence. He’s been quieting my words and speaking to me His words. God is gracious and faithful. And He’s been speaking life to me as I’ve been in a place of grief, healing, and uncertainty. He’s been quieting my words, when I want to lash out at what’s hurting me. He’s been wooing me with His loving kindness and speaking words of healing that remind me that no matter the words I tell myself or that others speak over me, I can’t get farther than His grace can reach. With a sound of his voice — His words, brings forth healing. He heals us from all our diseases…even the disease of negative words that are spoken about us, from us, or over us.

I’m going to cover in another blog, or two*, more about what I’ve been learning about the power of words. Lately, as much as I love words, I feel like words have been shooting arrows at me. Word arrows from myself, from those closest to me. From those that I love, and those that love me. From the expected and from the most unexpected places. There have been many tears in the last month as I’ve pondered, or analyzed to death, the words that have been spoken over me…and my choice to believe them. But, with God, we are on a journey to overcome them. To find healing and freedom from the negative. And to only accept in my life what is truth and life giving. We all know its easier to believe the negative, than the positive. With Him, I’m on a journey to use the power of words to build up, not tear down. Because this is what you need to know…once a word has been spoken, heard, and/or seen, it sticks on us for better or worse. And it can bring encouragement and life; or such heartache and grief. I want to bring encouragement. I want to bring LOVE with my words. I choose not to tear down, because I don’t want anyone to feel what I’ve been feeling lately with the words that have been taunting me.

*I didn’t want this to be any longer than it already is….see, verbose! So it was easier to break into more blogs. 

You Should Know (Vol. 1)

I have about 6 different blog post drafts that I am trying to get out of my head. Problem is I am a bit of a perfectionist; and now tie that in with being a slow processor on the serious stuff. What does that leave me? Drafts! I’m still not 100% sure that I can accurately express the thoughts that I’ve written thus far. Yet, also, do I believe them? So they are sitting there in my draft pile. Just staring at me. Mocking me. Goading me. Challenging me. To open my heart, to believe, to tell the truth, to learn more, to think more, to process more, to laugh and be silly more, and most importantly, to be.

I’m a mess. A beautiful mess; but a mess, nonetheless. Hey, that rhymed. I’m a poet and didn’t know it. (Ha, see what I did there?) But I digress, I’m learning to embrace that fact that I am a mess. Not as something to look down on or to work toward being better. But i’m learning to be honest about what is real and what is the facade. Life is a beautiful mess full of learning’s, hurts, pain; but yet, still so full of joy, hope, happiness, love and grace. Being a mess isn’t a bad thing. Embrace the awkward. Embrace the mess. It leaves so much more room to be free.

GRACE!!! The weight on the understanding of this little word, but large amazing gift has been heavy this past week. I’m learning to understand truly what grace is. Not what I want it to be, nor what I believe in my, often times, fleshly driven mind. But what God means when He freely and openly extends us grace. It’s BIG, y’all. And wonderfully heavy. And, oh so beautiful. I can’t even fathom it. There’s a reason they wrote a song about the amazingness of grace. It’s unexplainable; and i’m starting to feel the weight of the gift of it. I’m learning to swim in this ocean of grace. And it feels good. It’s scary because I don’t feel worthy of it. But that’s the point. It’s GRACE!!!! And has nothing to do with me or my feelings. Grace. Grace. And more, grace!!!

I’ve felt the need to be silent lately. I know, a shocker. Me? Silent? But, in life I tend to fill the uncomfortable deep achy space with chatter and build a fake world that I masquerade as truth in order to avoid. To be robotic in my, “everything is alright!”, and “It’s all okay!” cadence with a plastered fake smile. I don’t have that in me right now. Silence seems best. Silence is also loud and screaming at me. But, silence, I’m wanting to embrace it. Because should I open my mouth it would unleash an exodus of hurt, pain, sorrow and recklessness. Right now, the uncomfortableness of life hurts and sorrows is ugly and not fun. But it’s also refining me. Molding me and shaping me in to who God wants me to be. I love it and I hate it all at the same time. So, for now, silence is best. It’s not you, it’s me.

Hurting people, hurt people. Generally the ones they love the most. It makes no sense, but it’s there. Take it for what it is. It’s true. It’s true of you. And it’s true of me. I’ve been praying that God would show me how to embrace and accept His agape love; and then show me how to lavish it on others. Even when I hurt and don’t feel so loving. More so, when I hurt. Because then it’s authentic. When you have the ability to love during the dark and hurting spaces of your own life…I think you are beginning to truly understand and function in what love is and what it should look like. The unconditional love of Christ. Loving at ALL times. Not just when it’s convenient. We say it like a broken record…that we love at all times. But i’m learning we don’t. In theory we do. In our hearts we want to. Our minds repeat it as truth. But we don’t. Because when we hurt, we hurt others. I’ve been seeking to love fully, truly and honestly. Especially in my hurts. Because that’s when you will get the truth of my love because it comes as a sacrifice and takes effort. It takes me going beyond myself. I have more to say about this subject, but for now I must stop.

I have permission to live and move forward. Regardless of my past. Regardless of my mistakes. God loves me. He wants me to live. Letting light into the darkness so the enemy can’t keep me shamed or doubting. I am embracing that permission to live, even when things still look jumbled and not perfectly settled. I have permission to live.

Oh how He loves me.

Oh how He loves YOU!

Oh how He loves us.