Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Cool Enough

I once told a guy I was dating
we were only still together
because he hadn't figured out
he was too cool for me yet.
It turns out I was wrong.
I'm way cooler than I thought.
And don't tell me it isn't cool
to say cool anymore.
If it isn't,
I'll just bring it back.
I'm cool enough to do that.


More than enough

Last week I laughingly told a couple of friends about a thought that had come to me, "I am the main character in every cheesy movie about a 55-year-old-plus divorcee or widow who went out to find herself...."

I've gained a deeper understanding of my faith. Dated a couple of wildly opposite guys. Figured out I can be happy and single at the same time. Changed my hair. Lost some weight. Started working out again. Traveled. Went paragliding. Found a love of live music. Started a really fun new hobby. And I even went to a paint night regardless of the fact that I can't draw a straight line with a ruler. The change has been gradual, and isn't finished... but I'm so much more confident in myself than I've ever been.

I laughed when I shared it,"All that is left is for me to accept being single for the rest of my life and find a retirement home that will let me move in and paint sunflowers all day."

It was mostly a joke. I wasn't retiring or painting or giving up on what I want for my future. I just thought it was funny. Mostly. But not completely. I didn't exactly like identifying with women 20+ years my age... even if they were just movie characters.

It's funny how one comment can change your mindset. One friend surprised me by saying, "Well, you're way ahead. I was much older before I had that kind of confidence."

Wait. What?

My perspective of my "main character" status changed instantly. I'm not old before my time. I've been blessed with wisdom and confidence that many woman struggle to receive. I'm not ready to retire. I'm ready to live.

I went to an amazing conference this weekend with 24,000 women from around the world. If I had gone last year, I would have sat in my seat and waited patiently for sessions to begin. I probably wouldn't have wandered around offering to take group pictures of women with their cell phones. I definitely wouldn't have had the nerve to take selfies with their phones in the process! (I hope finding those pictures of me made them laugh!)

In previous years I would have enjoyed praise and worship with Chris Tomlin, Michael W. Smith, and Cece Winans from my seat. This year I joined the pre-session dance party on Friday and then decided to join the women who were praising from right in front of the stage. It was a completely different worship experience. And guess what else... nobody thought I didn't belong up there with them.

A few months ago I was afraid to go to a bar alone, even to meet friends for karaoke or see a band. I couldn't bring myself walk up to order at a crowded bar, knowing people would know I didn't belong there. The anxiety I felt over these things was ridiculous.

I've gone to different places to see live bands several times now, and nobody has ever even given me a sideways look... much less questioned my right to be there. I've quickly come to realize that the thing that was most holding me back... was me.

All of those times I was afraid to step out because of what someone might think, I was telling myself that I wasn't good enough. I wasn't smart enough, cool enough, funny enough, pretty enough, didn't have enough rhythm... didn't have whatever it was that I thought others had. I wasn't enough.

Here's what I've had to ask myself: Who am I to think I'm not enough, when Someone already told me I am? God knows what I can do... so why should anyone else's opinion matter?

How about you? What situations do you find yourself in that you slowly back away from because you know you aren't enough to be there? Where do you not bother to give your input? How often do you see someone doing something and think, "That looks fun. I wish I could do that!"

Who are you to think you are not enough, when God already told you that you are?  

In Jeremiah 1:5, God told Jeremiah, "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, And before you were born I consecrated you; I have appointed you a prophet to the nations."

God's words to Jeremiah tell us that God knew we were enough before we were even born. The things we perceive about ourselves have nothing to do with our ability to carry out the plans God has for us. Keep reading Jeremiah and apply what God tells him to your life. You'll see that even when you don't have confidence in you, God does.

God created you to do those good things you are afraid to do, but He won't make you do them. It's the enemy that feeds you the lies that make you shrink back and give up those things you were destined to do. Talk to that stranger. Write that book. Sing that song. Start that company. Volunteer for that position. Hug that person who looks sad. Speak up for that person who needs someone to have their back. Take some time to take care of yourself.

You'll still end up in Heaven if you don't ever learn this... but you'll enjoy your time on Earth a heck of a lot more if you do.

You are more than enough. 
You are awesome. 
You were created for this!  

Friday, September 8, 2017

Only a test

If you want to date me,
and we've talked much at all,
I've probably asked you a lot
about your interests and activities
because I want to get to know you better.
Not too long in I will send you a link
to something I wrote that I'm proud of.
It will take less than 5 minutes to read.
You don't have to love it.
You just have to read it.
This is a test...
It is only a test.

When I wrote just a month ago about a new relationship that I was really hoping would work out, I was already seeing signs it might not. That was one of them that followed soon after. I sent a link to a post that was important to me, and I explained why. He still didn't read it. It wasn't the problem, just a symptom.

I mentioned that I was worried about turning my fear of failure into a self-fulfilling prophesy. It turns out, sometimes people are just complicated and don't know how to communicate well. That's okay. I made a lot of new friends during that couple of months and that is what I'm choosing to focus on.

Right after I told him it wasn't working out, I participated in a motivational conference as a vendor. One of the speakers there said,
"You have to surround yourself with good people. 
Someone can be good, but not good for you.
You will be too much for some people... Those aren't your people."
-Ingrid Beyhl

It turns out, I am too much for some people. For the right one, I won't be. I'd rather wait a little longer for him than keep trying to make things work with someone who isn't all in. Life is too short for that.

Thankfully, in the process this last time, I met a lot of other good people. <3

I told someone else this last week that with the exception of that fact that I can't seem to find a man who isn't a jerk, doesn't need rescued, or isn't some combination of the two... my life is pretty great right now. I'm pretty happy with how things are going. My bills are paid and work is flowing well. I need to find more time to write, but I'm working on that too. Most importantly, I know who I am. I may forget sometimes, but only for a moment. Then I remind myself, dust myself off, and keep going...

I'll be sharing my previous post as a speech at my next Toastmasters' meeting. I'm really looking forward to it! If you aren't familiar with Toastmasters, feel free to ask! It a great thing to be involved with!

I don't have anything life-changing or ultra-encouraging to share this time, but sometimes a post like this gets things out and opens the floodgates for something more meaningful. Sometimes I write things like this that I think nobody will get anything from and I hear later how much it touched someone in an unexpected way. 

One of the ways I remind myself who I am, is by reading this to myself... also, I have this new shirt I love that says FEARLESS on it... definitely working on being that more often.