It was just me, a locked bathroom door ... and the mirror.
All you have to do is say one good thing about yourself. Just one.
The more my throat tightened up, the more I panicked. I watched the fear on my face as my eyes filled with tears and my hands started shaking. I'm not even sure which came first- the fear that I had nothing to say, or the fear that if I did have something, I wouldn't be able to utter the words.
I spent hours in that bathroom, but it wasn't the bathroom that felt so much like prison as the question that repeated itself in my head-
"What kind of person can't speak a kind word to themselves? What has happened to my heart?"
I had begun a journey of allowing my life to be informed and moved by prayer.
Listening, then acting. Confessing, then leading.
But there was a barrier that began as a hurdle and grew into ladder -
every rung a different lie.
Taking care of yourself is selfish.
Knowing yourself takes time away from others.
God knows your gifts, to speak about them is to boast about them.
That thing you like to do is not a gift.
What you think is life giving, is actually time-wasting.
You aren't good at anything of use.
You're lucky they even care.
If you call yourself beautiful, you aren't beautiful.
Leaning in to my reflection, fingers gripping the sink.
The words left my lips- a foreign voice and a wave of relief.
I was led to find out who I was. To spend time taking care of myself, open my heart to conviction and growth, to to ask God to reveal my gifts to me that I might use every single one.
I thought I was being led to be selfish for a season. In one season I thought I could give my mind rest, bring healing to my heart, understand my identity, and take care of this one body I have.
I'm going to share something with you ... so lean in close ...
The greatest gift you can give yourself, your people,
and your God is to know yourself well-
the good, the bad (yes! there's work to do!), and the great.
Knowing myself wasn't selfish at all- and it's not a pursuit that lasts only a season.
There is freedom here- an unimaginable confidence and peace in who you were created to be and a permission to be who you are. The world can't know you unless YOU know you. Every gift you have has been entrusted to you for a purpose. Knowing yourself helps you know God. And it's the key to living the story you were meant to live.
Knowing yourself is not selfish-it's imperative.
Humility does NOT look like the woman who ignores or denies her gifts- that's the lie.
It's the lie that keeps us from sharing our dreams or dreaming at all. It's the lie that makes us uncomfortable when someone compliments us. It's the lie that keeps us from being grateful.
Humility is what comes from knowing you did nothing to deserve such incredible and creative gifts- made and thought up specifically for you.
We should be confident in these gifts, we should be practicing these gifts, praying for ways to use them that they might bless others. We didn't earn them! We just have them! We won the freaking lottery!
The final catalyst for change in this journey was the truth that my inability to speak life-giving words to myself could keep me from fulfilling my purpose.
You don't have ALL the gifts- can you imagine? - Some gifts have simply not been entrusted to you. Not being good at everything means we have the opportunity to truly appreciate the gifts of those around us.
Pray for the places you know you have blind spots, He can help you see. Know your temptations, know your idols, know where you tend to see things through the world's lens.
Be the friend that responds to hurt with- "you know what? I've prayed about that a lot, it's a weakness I have and I am working on it, but I am so sorry that you had to feel that way because of me."
It's time to be confident in who we were made to be. It's time to stop speaking death over the only heart we have. It's time to know ourselves so well that we know when to take the time to grow in silence and stillness, and when to go and do. It's time for the person we see in the mirror to be the same person we were created to see.
So tell me this- who do you see when you look in the mirror?
We reviewed some of our favorite and silliest date nights. After picking a few of our favorites, we realized the places we feel closest are the places that allow us to be free to live out a child-like faith and joy.
1. Experiencing moments of wonder
We sat at Mozart's and drank mint tea. We were under a covering and having a conversation about all the things we have been through together. There was a moment we were overcome with gratitude and love for one another. We held each other and spoke truth, and all of a sudden, it started to rain! (AHHH, RAIN) We were stunned by the moment, the timing, the beauty... and suddenly we were not romancing each other. We were being romanced and we never felt closer to one another.
2. LONG WALKS
There's a healing power in walking while talking about difficult things. Even if the conversation is at a standstill, you still feel like you're moving forward. We had a long, tearful conversation one night on a walk... and by the end of our talk we were chasing birds to make them fly and laughing so hard we couldn't breathe.
3. Always choose the booth
It's a way we tell each other we had a long week- "it's a booth night". What that means is all eateries without a booth are out of the running. Some of our favorites are Fresa's, Hula Hut, Thai Fresh, Elizabeth Street, and Home Slice. They're the places we have good memories in, where we can cross our legs while we eat.
4. LIVING ROOM CAMPING & PICNICS
I had a horribly busy day and walked through the door to see our mattress in the living room, Pride & Prejudice playing, twinkly lights, and candles. I just fell apart. It felt like such a beautiful example of being one flesh, anticipating needs and meeting them with creativity!
5. DATE NIGHT DRIVES
This is how we end most Thursday nights. We put in Phantom of the Opera, open the windows, hold hands, and take turns standing up out of the sunroof. This is an absolute must.
6. LEAVE ROOM FOR A BAD DATE
Maybe everything is dreamy ... but it's just not a great date. Know it's okay for the two humans involved to have an off-night. What matters is that you're trying, and that you wake up and try all over again. Off nights happen to us all- here are some reflections from one of our worst dates ever.
"So date night started like this tonight...
It was 30 minutes of wonderful and somewhere near dessert
it just took a turn - it came out of nowhere but it was everything deep.
We spoke honestly, but we hurt each other and left the dinner broken.
We drove around and parked at a coffee shop we never walked into.
Sitting in the car, already broken, there was no holding back.
We mourned... We confessed... We accused and apologized.
We cried out in anger at our own selfishness and ugly hearts and God- it was hard.
Hours later we were both just limp- emotionally, physically, & mentally as we sat in the same parking lot--
how do we get to the places where we have so many broken pieces, but are sharing them for the first time.
Sometimes it takes a true friend to sit in the mess with you, even if they're largely to blame for causing it. I
t was the worst of times, but it may be what was necessary to step into the best of times."
Happy stories, sad stories, dramatic, sorrowful, and joyous stories- every story is a love story... and here are some of mine.