There are many reasons why we let go of things we love to do, it may be time for some to make a comeback. When you are working hard, planning for the future, taking care of others, it's easy to let the luxury activities go... but here's the thing- maybe they are not luxury activities. Maybe you are unique and have unique interests. Maybe you can plan better and take care of others better if you are taking the time to let passion breathe life into you.
What if you're a better friend when you are who you were created to be...
I've been examining my passions and reflecting on how they slipped through my daily rhythms. I'll admit, it has not been easy. I realized most of these passions took a leave of absence because of FEAR... which means I had to face the fear (or at lease acknowledge it) before enjoying the activity.
Working out & food
I currently have 8 unfinished blog drafts... This month's blog: Stop Hiding in Community- it's about creating fruitful rhythms even if you don't feel like it. Ironically, I didn't feel like posting that blog...
I've been exploring the meaning of rest and self-care. I actually had someomone this week hold me like a baby and pray over me (essential oils included) -- I was shocked. I realized I don't know how to be taken care of, or accept help, or rest at all without feeling guilty. So, in honor of rest and restful things: here are a few things I am loving right now--one for every unfinished blog.
You know those moments where we have fallen out of rhythm? ... We haven't served well and we have been selfish. We Netflix binged, we work too much, we nap too long, we focused too much on our friends, we spent too much time alone, we skipped church, we made that one mistake that we said we would never make again ... we have lost our way.
I hear it all the time:
"I've just been really far from God lately."
So here are the steps to feeling better about yourself and where you stand with God:
1. Actually believe that God has, is, and always will be closer than your own breath.
That's all. Act out of that place.
This month for me has been a whirlwind. I have witnessed in myself a desire to do more and be enough. I have shamed myself for the time I spend doing meaningless things, my forgetfulness, I have questioned my purpose daily, and believed the lies in my heart saying "You are a joke. You know it and everyone else knows it."
It's a pretty big lie. It was sprinkled over my friendships, my marriage, my work, my writing, my quiet time. So what was my response? -- " I can do more! I can be more! I will make myself enough. I can make myself lovable ."
1. TEAMWORK IS REQUIRED FOR SURVIVAL
When we were handed the keys to the rental car, we thought "oh, this will be easy driving on the left side of the road." It took about 9 seconds in the car to realize we were in for it. Brian was frantically asking me which direction he was supposed to go on the highway where he was driving in 4 lanes at a time and was fearing for my life. We had few screaming matches before realizing 1. we cant blame each other for not knowing where to go in a country we had never been to. and 2. we needed each other. He had to trust me to navigate and I had to trust him to not end my life at 24. It was incredible to see our growth in teamwork and how that moved it's way into other parts of our communication. We realized that we both love to be part of a team where we know our role... as simple as it sounds, that realization has changed our marriage for the better.
2. CELEBRATE THE WINS
Trials are vital for a good trip... the key is learning how to celebrate the wins together. We are terrible about doing this in our day to day lives so we practiced it constantly in Ireland. From compromising on the food order to finding the secret road down the coast, every win deserves a hop, skip, jump, laugh, kiss... something!
3. CELEBRATE THE LOSES
Then there are the moments where you try and fail... like when you get to the Trinity Library in Dublin at 4:33 and it closed at 4:30... and it's your last day in Dublin. It's the saddest moment but it's still your last day, you need to be able to (TOGETHER) mourn, encourage, and move the heck on. We were SO SAD. But we found a performance of Bach's Passion of St. Mark in this old Chapel (built in 1798) on campus and it was absolutely stunning.
I had a dream once when I was 18... when I woke up, I knew my heart had changed somehow.
In the dream, I was riding in a car with all of my friends. A blue convertible. We drove off a bridge and were free-falling for what felt like forever. As we were falling, I turned to everyone in the car and begged them to help me... pleaded, screamed, shook, cried... everyone ignored me. And then it hit me... the moment that changed the course of my life.
Here's a poem I wrote shortly after.
Around and around
and around and laugh, smile, and turn away
And frown. And around and around and I
worship that nod
of approval. Tactile acknowledgement, fleeting fear, perfect
and empty. Please just stay. Gone.
And back. And around. I can touch life, touching
My way around with glazed eyes. I can hear
the voice, please. Thanks
for calling I’m here, you’re here.
Turn them away, they have nothing to offer.
Hold me, look, and around and around
And Down. If only the high reached the last low.
Lather up that smile in my hands and wash it clean.
And my eyes close.
And I wait for them to open when the sun comes back.
There I am off the bridge.
And im Weightless but so heavy.
And the car is blue, and I turn and I shake and I scream and I cry and he fails me.
So I turn and I beg and she fails me. They all do.
And everyone’s eyes are closed and no one answers but they’re falling too.
Someone, please. Don’t you see you’re falling? Can no one help me.
And it floods my soul.
And I know.
Then it's submissive but graceful.
And I cry because it hurts how much He loves me. Because it hurts
how much You love me.
So I'm yours, I am so yours. You can have me. I am yours forever.
Help me, you won't fail me.
You've been here. I didn't see but you were there.
I'm yours. Don't leave me. Have my life. It's for you.
You won't leave me, I know now.
And im Listening.
and I feel.
and theres depth.
I have a father.
theres the light.
and im listening!
and you're speaking!
Everyone's asked, so I thought it was finally time to explain a bit. I'll start by answering some questions I have been asked since I started using the phrase "worst little wife" :
No- I am not putting myself down.
No- I am not repeating something I hear from my husband on a regular basis (that one made me laugh).
No- I do not need to see someone to talk about my self esteem.
Now that we got that out of the way...
Here's the story.
I've been married for about a year and a half now (I know. I'm a baby.) About 3 months into marriage I fell into a deep depression. I couldn't be alone and didn't want to be around people. I was insecure about everything. I woke up with panic attacks almost every night- screaming, crying, questioning if God could be good. I didn't know who I was anymore. In a matter of months, the independent and confident woman my husband married was nowhere to be found and I didn't know how to talk about it with other people- so we didn't. The things I learned through this shaped the last year of my life.
I found myself in this category of women that I just could not find my place in. Who is Iesha as a wife? What does that mean? All of a sudden I had a whole set of expectations I couldn't meet and I was drowning. I had no idea how often I would feel entitled to receive love and simultaneously feel unworthy of love. I wrestled night after night with a guilt for being sad. It didn't take me a long time to pray about it, but it did take me a long time to be honest with myself.
I don't want to downplay depression. It's real. It's terrible. I do think that season had a lot to do with transitions, lack of sleep, nutrition, mental health, repressed memories and so many other things. But the most important result of the 'six months of darkness' was the revelation of a little secret I had nurtured and cultivated my entire life.
It probably started as a tiny seed of a lie. I probably knew it was a lie. And then I watered it and sang to it, and loved it... and it grew. And it grew and it grew and it grew. I had lived most of my adult life under the shade of this monster.
Lets call him my approval idol.
I didn't even know it was there. I had never considered myself someone who tried to please anyone. I was obedient to God, I made good decisions, and most everyone approved of my decisions so I was never confronted with people being disappointed in me. I wouldn't say people were even disappointed with me getting married... but I was anticipating my failure and too proud to admit I didn't know what I was doing.
Maybe it doesn't sound like much of a problem but to give you a little insight into how big this god I created was... the thought of failure crushed me. Broken-on-the-floor-face-down-ugly-cry- kind of crushed. I didn't know what I defined as failure necessarily, but I did know that it was too big for me.
I knew first about the idol one night when I wrote in my journal:
"God, I can serve you well or not, and I know you will always be there. But if I do not serve people the way they want me to, they actually might leave me"
I actually wrote that.
I'm not even sure what was going on that day or who exactly (if anyone) I was talking about. But this tells me something now... I thought it was a choice. I thought this idol was something I could choose over God and still be okay. And maybe that 'worked' for a while, but the bathroom floor was getting tired of me screaming at it, so something had to change.
I'd like to leave the details for another time. It really is a great story.
The important thing now if for you to understand that 'worst little wife' was born the day I surrendered my idol, laid it down, and walked away.
My whole flesh- every. single. cell. - wants to be the best. To strive, to win, to tell people about all of the mistakes I don't make. But the knowledge of my approval idol makes me remember that it's okay to be the worst. The best thing I can do for myself is to confess those shortcomings to the people in my life.
The outcome has been absolutely astounding... sometimes admitting you're the worst is the best thing you can do.
Happy stories, sad stories, dramatic, sorrowful, and joyous stories- every story is a love story... and here are some of mine.