I used to think I was the Harry Potter of relationships—brave, magical, and “able to tell right sort of people for myself, thank you.”
I thought I had a bus full of people who would be with me through anything life could throw at me.
I spent most of my 20’s with a packed calendar of:
Connecting: Coffee hangz and deep conversations.
Hosting: Bonfires, parties, bible studies, dinners, service nights.
Investing: Mentoring, teaching Sunday School, hosting a high school small group, constantly checking in with some amazing young people.
Helping: Painting, shoveling, mowing, moving, babysitting…
Teaching: Elementary school music five days a week with some… challenging little people.
Serving: Thousands of hours trying to move a church and love its people.
Every day for years revolved around people, relationships, and stories. And then last year, over the course of a few months, I watched that entire life burn to the ground.
Mononucleosis stalked my every exhausted move for 6 months.
I lost three of my closest friends, the people I told everything to.
I watched two offers on my house fall through and waited over 100 days for it to sell.
I saw another important relationship end.
I listened as a pastor told me my voice was no longer welcome at the table in the church I’d served for over five years.
I experienced my first panic attack walking into said church building where most of my #community once was.
I cried after getting moved off the youth group teaching team because my millennials article personally offended several pastors.
I lived through the promise of my book getting published dangle in front of me by a major publisher and then fall through.
I spent each day in an aching and lifeless body gasping for air.
I was alone in a big house and no one was coming to save me.
I cried out to God, “After all the hours I’d spent working and serving you, why would my life end up here… again.” This book I’d spent years writing was no longer a story in past tense, but a living, breathing, on-going battle.
But here’s the thing I forgot about hitting rock bottom:
You’re always one terrifying yes from a totally different life.
When an unexpected drought kills the fields you’ve worked so hard to cultivate, you have two choices:
You can clench the dirt forcefully in your fist, screaming at the sky night and day for all that you have lost OR
You can plant a tiny seed towards a new life with one terrifying yes.
The transformation from hopeless to hopeful happens when you take action towards the person you want to be. No, you don’t have to plant all 40 acres of in a single day, just one tiny seed at a time.
Sure, some of your seeds won’t take—that’s life.
But I can promise you, if you keep moving forward, if you keep uttering one terrifying yes at a time, one day you will wake up smiling again. One day you’ll look out your window and that desolate field will sparkle with new life cropping up.
And so, in the midst of yet another low point in my story, I persisted. Despite the pain and lack of energy, despite the heartbreak and abandonment, despite every loss – – > my story moved forward.
I woke up each day and said one terrifying yes.
YES to powering through the endless list of house projects and eventually the house sold for a great price. I paid off all of my student debt overnight.
YES to taking care of myself during the mono and slowly my energy started coming back.
YES to joining Crossfit and I love it so freaking much.
YES to trying out for a professional choir and I TOTALLY made it.
YES to stepping into a dozen new churches without having a single panic attack. BAZINGA.
YES to submitting an audition tape for my Children’s Choir to perform at the state music teachers convention and after our performance last week, we received a standing ovation.
YES to living with old friends who make me smile every day.
YES to invitations to hangout with people I barely know.
YES to myself, to letting go of people who make me feel disposable.
YES to forgiveness.
YES to God as He patiently waited for me while I took all of my anger and grief out on him.
YES to believing that life can and always will get better.
Crossfit Open 2018
I hope you’re lucky enough to hit rock bottom because it forces your hand in a way that a comfortable life never will.
It forces you to fight for the life you want. It forces you to decide who you are and what you truly believe. It forces you to realize there is a supernatural strength inside you never knew was possible. It forces you to rely on a God who promises to love you at your worst, to help you when you’re wasting away, who never leaves even when you feel completely and totally alone.
So wherever you find yourself today—comfortable and complacent or staring up from the bottom of the darkest of holes—remember this incredible truth:
You are one terrifying yes away from a totally different life.
Please don’t stay stuck, tolerating a lifeless existence. Try out for that group you always dreamed of joining. Sign up for that 5k or marathon. Go on that first date. Go to that Christmas party where you won’t know anyone. Make lists of small, obtainable goals when a seemingly impossible project is staring you in the face.
Risk. Try. Go for it. Spend every day chasing that life you always dreamed of living. That is what it means to be fully and recklessly alive.
Plant one seed today towards a totally different life. Every comeback story begins here with one terrifying yes.
What is your terrifying yes today? Leave in the comment section below!!
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