Beauty And The Beach

I sit on the Beach in the warm Florida sun with the breeze on my face, salt in the air, and the sound of waves crashing just 20 feet away from me. I can taste the salt in the air and smell the suntan lotion and my senses tell me I am home. This is Heaven for me. I am a Cocoa Beach native and no matter where I live in the world this will always be my true home. This is where my heart feels most content. A surge of peace takes over me at the beach. A gentleness takes over my pulse.

I can hear the laughter of my children. I can hear them hollering to one another make-believe scenarios like “getting away from robbers” and mermaids coming ashore as they body surf the cresting waves and I smile. I know I am gifting them with the same experience that made up nearly every day of my childhood. My heart fills with deep contentment. I could sit there all day. I could sit there all day as we chase the sun down out of the sky.

I sit there glued to my chair. I’m glued for many reasons. I sit locked in because I relish in the feelings of peacefulness and the symphony of pleasant sounds that surround me. Not a wandering crab or a flock of birds is lost on me. This beach is to me the most beautiful haven on the planet.  I also sit locked to my chair because of deep-rooted insecurity. If I get up and stroll to the shore “what will others think when they see my body and this swimsuit” I wonder. How can a place that is dripping with a sense of home also be welcome to my entrenched body image issues and shame over my appearance? How can a negative internal narrative show up for a forty year old mother of four? Aren’t we over this stupidity by now? It’s a mystery to me how I can feel such a sense of peace, but simultaneously be glued to a beach chair so no one sees my body. How can I feel such joy and yet choose to be locked down to a stupid striped chair so that I don’t feel the rejection I’m projecting from my neighboring beach go-er … whom I don’t even know. I skip out on the fun with my children because I’d rather stay tied to my chair then give a passer by the opportunity to think I look “fat”. I full-blown lie and tell my kids “mom just loves to get a suntan” when I refuse their request to come play. The truth is mom is deeply insecure in her own skin and simply cannot get up. Won’t get up. I decline their request to show up at the water’s edge because it’s too cold I tell them. The truth is my negative internal dialogue is robbing me of the ability to show up for them with any level of participation.

I hate this scenario. I hate how my self-doubt sits on my chest like a beached whale. I hate that I am choosing to skip out on writing notes in the sand and building castles with motes and drawbridges. I hate that I opt out of a stroll to collect shells because I fear the opinion of people watchers that are all foreign to me and nowhere near my inner circle of friends. I hate that I let shame and insecurity rob me of memories to be made. I hate that I let my insecurity be bigger than my strength and resolve to show up for them. The barrier to my full, true joy is that I give a sh*$ what other people think of me instead of being a badass mom with four children having a little fun while centering myself in presence.

This has to change. Insecurity, humiliation and a negative internal dialogue are not things that we deliberately pack in the bag of sand toys. Yet they show up in full force.

I love watching the tide. It comes and goes at a rhythmic pace. As does our positive and negative narrative running through us. Unlike the tide however we have control over our thoughts and the freedom they allow us. We have to deliberately attack our negativity with life-giving thoughts that unlock confidence and resolve to get up out of a chair and care not what the world sees apart from a mom engaging wholeheartedly with her children. You might be thinking that I’m really glued to the chair because of simple vanity. I assure you that’s not the case. We live in a culture that values thinness and rewards it with compliments and we brutally judge one another on the daily. We live in a body centric environment and have raised one another to think that thin is beautiful and anything outside of that needs to be reigned in. In order to be counter-culturalists we have to choose to value who we are on the inside over what we show or see on the outside. This takes effort as we go against the tide of our society. But it’s a fight to the death of the joy-robbing, presence stealing moments like these.

I believe in us and the power to go against the tide, to get up out of our chairs, to inhale freedom and to exhale presence. Now, I have a mermaid to rescue…..

The Comeback Kid

My 6 year old hollered confidently to his soccer team “Don’t worry guys we’re gonna make a comeback”. They were down by more than a few points. I sat listening to him say it repeatedly. He continued as he grabbed his coach and said, “My team needs me to get in there and score”. I laughed wildly with pride.

Why am I posting such vulnerable things lately and showing you what’s behind my curtain? Because of the same sentiment that my son carried at his soccer game….

Sometimes we need someone who believes in us. We need someone who is willing to admit the status of where they’re at and maybe…. just maybe convince someone that they can win at this life thing too. Not everyone lives out loud or certainly heals out loud. I tell you this though- WHATEVER your struggle is, whatever is behind your closed curtain- can stay there. I’m just saying, these days, from one teammate to another, “don’t worry guys, we’re gonna make a comeback!” We are going to get through whatever the thing is. You have it in you. I have it in me. It’s gonna take some work. Seriously flipping hard work. I’m healing out loud. You heal at whatever decibel you want. But, there’s one girl right here that believes in you today. I’m serious. You can conquer that thing because you are AMAZING and capable and strong and beautiful and worthy of the change you so desperately desire. We will build and mend and grow and alter the climate of our society. We will throw out the pervasive negative background chatter that runs through our minds. We will insert a life giving narrative that supports the core values of who we are.

My son won his soccer game that day. He scored three goals. They made a comeback. And so will we. I believe in us.

 

Hurry Up And Heal…

Time.

It’s actually on our side.

We have time to Be. Time to change. Time to grow. Time to grieve. Time to feel our pain. Time to acknowledge loss. We often feel hurried to heal. Truth is the days are long, but the years go fast. However, do not feel rushed…. Do not feel rushed by the expectation that we all need to be okay. Sometimes pain and disappointment comes and washes over us. We often respond to the wave and push it away because we think we’ve spent enough time feeling sad or let down or broken and now we have to buck up and be something…. be more than our pain. Be in a better place.

Time doesn’t betray us like that. Time is our friend.

We have to live in each moment come what may.

Time is not a dictator. It’s a gentle breeze. It’s a friendly reminder that we live in a place of forward momentum. It’s a gift to each of us. I think back to the years I’ve spent partnering with my eating disorder and the years of contentment and joy that has been stolen from me. I’m sad about that today. But, the real evil was the disorder…. no the time lost. I’m sad about the thoughts and the habits and the brokenness that has plagued me for so many years. I’m sad about the current repeated knock on my door by this thing to plague me further. But, I decided that rather than mourning the loss of time, hurrying to heal so there’s no more loss, that I would look at time as my friend from here on out. I will receive it as a gift to me rather than perceive it as a thing I’ve squandered. There is no expiration date on our pain, yet we treat ourselves like there is.

I have a precious friend that lost her little boy to a drowning accident. I often think of her and I am overcome with the weight of her grief. I remember her and I think of how every holiday that rolls around, every birthday that comes and goes without her sweet boy must feel. It probably feels like a massive, indescribable loss. A thing to be grieved. A memory to be cherished and held. No one would dare tell her “Too much time has passed…. you can’t feel sad anymore.” No one would expect her tears to be dry by now and her resolve to be strong to be award-winning. We would tell her that there’s all the time in the world for her to feel whatever she needs to feel whenever she needs feels it. We would tell her that her pain still matters. We would tell her that she can spend her entire lifetime healing and yet still grieving.

We may not all have felt a catastrophic loss at that level. But, we must treat ourselves the same way. Some days are just hard. We have to acknowledge the hard and work with time to heal… not against it. We have to let our strong, healing selves tenderly wrap its arms around our broken self and just hold us gently and whisper, “it’s gonna be okay. Feel what you feel.”….

You have time today to feel whatever you need to feel. You have time today to feel broken and still be aiming for wholeness. You have time today to feel stuck, but to still be working on unraveling lies. You have time today to mourn and to feel the weight of the issues at hand.

Hurrying to heal is a pressure we need to brush off. A pressure we have to deny. Sometime waves of grief come and go. They just do. But, rather than ignoring that and pushing it to the back of your mind try honoring it by letting yourself sit in it for a moment. Rather than telling yourself “I’ve got to get over this, I’ve got to move on” trying letting it visit with you instead like a dear friend would. Try letting time and your experiences commingle for a moment, hold hands. Try expecting the strength within you to rise up slowly, wrap its arms around the moment and hold it as long as it needs to be held. Cry a little. Laugh a little. BE just a little. It’s okay to feel whatever you need to feel.

Time is our friend not our adversary to our healing. Be wherever you are today. Feel whatever you feel come what may. Honor your heart. Honor the healing process. Do not rush it into existence. The concept that time waits for no one is an outright lie. Be held by it today.

I believe in us and the power to embrace time…. not to fear the loss of it.

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Homeostasis In Both the Mind & Body

Homeostasis defined: the tendency toward equilibrium between interdependent elements. A coordinated response of parts to maintain equality secondary to any situation or stimulus.

Our bodies and our minds fascinate me. My former background is in nursing. My favorite class in college and the one I excelled in was anatomy and physiology. So, forgive me while I geek out for a second….

We are literally addicted, at an underlying, constant level, to homeostasis. We have interdependent elements working at all times to achieve a state of equilibrium.  We can actually be an active participant in this process both psychologically and physiologically by the choices that we make. We can help create harmony in our mind and body.

Here’s what I’m saying…. we crave balance. We crave peace in our innermost being. The second we put food into our mouth our body gets to work breaking it down and releasing chemicals and elements to neutralize the fats, carbs and proteins. If we are out of balance in any category it knows how to pull what it needs from storage. It’s a genius. Same goes for us psychologically. The second we encounter a tense situation, be it positive or negative, our bodies send out hormones and chemicals to help us break down the scenario and file that experience away in our brain. Our bodies are a machine y’all. They are efficient machines working around the clock on all levels to process life. It would behoove us then to help the body out! We can partner up with this machine by feeding it well and speaking to it well. It actually matters what we put into our bodies by way of nourishment. It matters on the same level what we nourish our brain with. This is where the positive self talk comes in. When we have a negative internal dialogue our bodies read that as tension. It then goes into actual overdrive to achieve a positive state of homeostasis. It seeks to pull from storage a positive narrative to counter balance your negative one. If you allow your stream of consciousness to speak crap to you then you are actually overworking your chemical and hormonal balance. For real.

So, why don’t we do ourselves a favor shall we? Why don’t we become keepers of the gate and head off the negative self talk at the pass. Why don’t we get a touch vigilant about which active and passive thoughts are allowed to run through our minds. If you suffer from a constant state of exhaustion (there are countless contributors to this obviously) I would suggest that you need to check your mental tension and speak some positivity over yourself. If you lack the words right now- that’s ok. Here are a few for the taking:

I am pretty freaking amazing.

I am beautiful right now as is.

I believe I am worthy of love and belonging.

I am a boss at managing my life no matter what it looks like.

In truth, I am a wonder to behold.

I am an endless gift to this world and to the people I encounter.

Those are just a few thoughts I offer you to insert into your stream of consciousness to literally interrupt the negative chatter in your brain. Do yourself a favor. Take care. Take great, intentional, gentle care of you. You are precious and wise, noble and beautiful, magical and intelligent. You are a gift to this world and to all the people you encounter. The world is a better place so long as you are in it. Do not let yourself believe or feast on a thought that would suggest otherwise. We have a choice. Every day. Choose which thoughts get to serve your state of equilibrium.

I believe in us wholeheartedly. I believe in our ability to balance our mental homeostasis with some real truth about who we are.

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Failure Is Our Friend

I am allowed to be BOTH a work in progress AND to help others grow at the same time. I refuse to wait until I believe I’m perfect or someone else has deemed me worthy of impacting others. I am unapologetically accepting a life of massive growth & improvement.

I couldn’t love this quote more and I am nearly stumped for words after reading it…. Nearly 😉

So many of us fear failure. So many of us struggle, to some degree, with perfectionism. We live with the pressure of presenting ourselves as fairly put together. We think that as an adult we’re supposed to know more and to do more and to be better than we are. We take our strengths and push them to the forefront so we appear as shiny little objects. The reality is we are all in a constant state of growth and change. The whole of our lives will be filled with one learning curve after another. The opportunity for change just NEVER stops. With that in mind what if we considered failure as our friend? What if we decided our failures and struggles were our companion that leads us into growth and improvement? What if we took failure and mixed it with a little vulnerability and showed the world our humanity versus the image that we have it all together all the time? What then? I imagine it would look like a bunch of deeply accessible people helping one another become who they long to be. I bet we would feel like home to one another.

I’d give anything for my 40 year old self to have an opportunity to speak to my 20 or 30 year old self. I would open wide my arms, wrap them gently around and tenderly give myself a hug. I would sit myself down, stare straight into my eyes and whisper intently: “It’s ok. You’re gonna be ok. This failure and this need to appear perfect is in vain, dear girl. Let it go. Let go of the desire to have it all together because the reality of life is that you will never ever stop growing and improving. Your failings are the cliff edge, your tipping point into something beautiful. It’s the catalyst into change and once you step straight off the cliff and skydive into change the view is breathtaking. Every time. Embrace it. Yield to it. You are not disqualified by failures you are validated by them. You are validated as an evolving seeker of truth. Do not listen to the clamoring noise of discontentment over who you are and who you are yet to be. Break bread with others, share who you are, as is, because they are in the same boat as you. No one has it all together. Breathe and unapologetically accept a life of massive growth and improvement. ”

We need to be kinder to ourselves in my opinion. We need to speak to ourselves words of encouragement. We need to deal tenderly with our areas of growth and change and give ourselves room to mend and to breathe and to become who we long to be. The world doesn’t need more shiny objects. The world needs people committed to a life of massive opportunity for growth and change and copious amounts of grace to cover it all.

I believe in us and all our imperfections.

 

Lycra

I’m getting ready to take a trip to Florida over Christmas. I am pretty stoked for many reasons. This is my native state. I am a beach obsessed, sun worshipping Florida girl living land locked in Minnesota with temperature highs in the single digits these days. The escape from this tundra is just days away. With that escape comes a two year planned trip to Disney World finally coming to fruition. My children are the absolute best ages right now to hit Disney. They are old enough to assert some independence, but young enough to still care about the characters and rides and Paw Patrol. This will be epic! If Disney wasn’t enough my parents live in Cocoa Beach directly on the beach. You can hear the waves crashing and feel the wind blowing salty air as you sip your morning coffee. My siblings are all gathering together to celebrate Christmas. This too will be an epic feat as fourteen children and ten adults jam ourselves into a two bedroom condo space. (Can anyone get to Costco fast enough?)

With all this excitement ahead I found myself attempting…. a crash diet. A crash diet because with Florida comes bathing suits and pools and beach time. It finally dawned on me recently that this crash diet was just plain stupid. I had to ask myself: “why am I trading my peace and security and confidence for a piece of lycra?” Why was I foregoing calories in anticipation of someone else’s judgement of me? Why was I projecting discomfort onto a moment that was yet to come. Why was I obsessing about what I look like when I have shells to collect and castles to build and evening strolls in the warm sun to take? I have spent so many years letting my joy and contentment be overshadowed by how I felt about my body image. I’m so getting over this.

The diet culture of our society thrives on people like me. I don’t even have anything more brilliant to say than that. It thrives on my obsession with what other people might think of me. If perhaps I decided that this body is “enough” right now, today, as is then what kind of freedom would that bring? It would allow me to anticipate a lot of great memories made with my children. It would allow me to do a cannon ball or two in the pool. It would allow me to stand proud next to Cinderella and actually smile for the camera versus getting the heck out of the frame (I’ve spent decades dodging pictures).  If I decided that I am enough and other people’s opinions can just be theirs then that leaves a lot more room in my heart and mind for joy and engagement and the real stuff that trips like these are made of.

We have got to ditch the anticipation of judgement from others. We have got to decide that we are enough, today, as is. We have to decide that what we bring to the table as a person far outweighs how stellar we look in our lycra. We have to get busy anticipating connection with others not rejection of our image. I mean really- why do I care what Sue Ellen from Canada thinks I look like in my suit? I’ve got memories to make, and kids to laugh with, and family members to love on. This engrained habit of projecting rejection or ridicule can be traded. It can be traded in for the solid decision that I’m pretty stinking awesome no matter what I look like in my suit and I can get about the business of living life more fully. One mental shift at a time.

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It’s In The Waiting

The waiting phase. All of life’s experiences are accompanied by some element of waiting. All of them. Waiting for a cake to bake. Waiting for the baby to come. Waiting for your car while you get an oil change. Waiting in line at Starbucks. Waiting for your turn in the doctor’s office. Waiting for a check in the mail. Waiting for your kids to come to the carpool line at after school pick up (because they’re inside raiding the vending machine or something super important like that). Waiting for your loved ones to arrive from out of town. Waiting for the job interview. Waiting for 8pm when the kids go to bed. Waiting for the diagnosis. Waiting for the healing. Waiting for the breakthrough. Waiting for the miracle…. and on and on and on.

The waiting phase can be filled with so many deep emotions both of elation and pure agony. We get so eager for the “thing” to arrive that we often miss the beauty of the waiting period. We often look right over what that phase is actually producing in us.

Waiting defined: the action of staying where one is until a particular time.

Simple definition, I know. But, I remember years ago asking God to come and literally take my eating disorder away from me. The mental turmoil was and often is more than I could bear. I would ask him to just scoop it right out of my life like a hot spoon to a bowl of ice cream. Just take it away. Make it disappear. I have been waiting for years for God to push some sort of release valve in me or to stir whatever it was I was missing in order for me to make a better choice for my health. I was waiting for the strength and resolve to change to literally visit me in some miraculous fashion. I needed a miracle because this mental disorder had literally overtaken my entire mind like an unwelcome vine in a garden that chokes out all the fruit in its path. I needed God to come and show up and help me get to work. I was often extremely frustrated because I believe in a God that can speak and move mountains. Why not move this mountain of mine I so often wondered? Why not just say the word and we can get on our way? I was waiting. Waiting for freedom. Waiting for healing. Waiting for breakthrough. Waiting for the miracle.

In the waiting phase I attended therapy in copious amounts. Read books left and right. I attended self-care classes with the hope that the scales would tip and I’d start living out of my worth instead of my disease. I remember the ache- the literal ache in my heart for change to come. I would weep with desperation for God to rescue me, and my mind, and my body and to make me whole again. As I look back down the corridors of this waiting period, I realize I have learned more lessons than I could ever count. He used my own desperation to cause me to learn a thing or two. I was gaining insight every opportunity I could get. In the waiting phase He SO softened my heart. Now, when I see weakness in others my knee jerk reaction no longer is to judge their position in life, but rather to wonder deeply what their life has contained that led them to the place they are in. I wonder with empathy and compassion and tears and desire for their breakthrough. God didn’t so much scoop out my eating disorder as He did my ability to judge others. And for that, I am eternally grateful. God did not wave a wand and make this disease just disappear, but He opened my eyes so wide to my worth and to the power He gave me to choose to live out of that. He didn’t simply eliminate my toxic, choking vine of a disorder, but He did carve out a space in me that has more room for myself and others than I have words to describe.

The waiting phase. What it produces in us is something miraculous. Maybe the miracle is cultivated inside of the waiting. Maybe the healing is produced inside of the waiting. Maybe the breakthrough is coming little by little inside of the waiting. I’m now convinced that it’s in the waiting that we find our freedom. Do not overlook the value of this phase and the day of small beginnings.

I believe in us and the power to stay right where we are until a particular time.

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The Valley Of The Shadow Of Death

This is a road traveled by many. So many that my mind floods with examples…. and empathy. From failed marriages, to the loss of a loved one, paralyzation, disease, miscarriage, loss of a job, and so on. Life can be so cruel and dark and lonely at times. Life can bring great joy, but it also serves us with tear-jerking, soul-wringing, gut-wrenching pain and trauma. We wonder how we survive at all sometimes.

I think of the heartache we encounter. And I can’t help but weep. I think of our response to it all. I think of our process through it all. How do we get from Point A to Point B when the bottom has simply dropped out? I don’t even feel like I have the authority to answer that question. So, I won’t. But, I do know what deep, dark places feel like. I know what the vultures of our joy sound like over head. I know what starvation for saving and a longing for hope’s rescue to come feels like. There’s a crazed desperation inside. A cavern so deep that it simply can’t be filled with one wave of the wand. The valley…. is a valley. It’s a deep dip in life’s surface that carves you out hollow. It’s cold and vacant and void of life at every turn. It’s a dark pace and you long so deeply to see a bright red exit sign. Only, there’s no exit sign, just a dimly lit path ahead. A  path that must be taken.

The valley of the shadow of death is real. So real.  There’s an accompanying white knuckle grip that circumstantial change will come. That a miracle will occur and life will begin again… whole and untouched by adversity. Why does a God so great and kind stir such torrential desperate waters in our soul? How does a God so powerful and all-knowing allow such ailments to visit us? Again, I don’t know the full answer to this, but I do know what resilience and hope looks like. It looks hot like a fire in a desert that warms your coldest places. It tastes sweet and bitter simultaneously. And the cry inside for rescue raises an octave or two as we throw our hands in surrender admitting our weakness to prevail. Adversity brings us to our knees, to the end of ourselves.

How do we begin again out of the hollow places where hope has been deferred?

We choose.

We choose to take the next, best, right step forward down that dimly lit path. We choose to believe in our worth and we anchor strong in our destiny. We sometimes get a tattoo or six to remind us who we are. We brand our hearts with truth that no matter how deep the valley we can RISE. In one, small step at a time forward we can find ourselves through the valley and at the base of a mountain ready to climb. We are weakened by tragedy, but ready to climb because we know now what surrender feels like and what slow motion looks like.

We choose.

We choose to believe in the power that resides within us to write our own story. To turn the page when the time is right. To put pen to paper and script our way forward. To write our way out. Hope is a powerful driver for the way forward. Hope in ourselves. Hope in a God that’s orchestrating all things for our good. Hope in our neighbor and friend and even enemy. Hope that the view on the top of that mountain to climb was worth every second in the valley of death.

Hope is the path forward. It’s a cold and broken hallelujah. With HOPE we can choose to rise. Be stirred today. The path may be dimly lit, but take one, small step forward at a time. You are WORTH the rising. The sun is coming for you. The mountain top is waiting for you. There are beautiful things to see just ahead for you. There is a filling of joy and peace and resolve and strength coming to fill the hollow places. Stir your hope today. This world is a better place so long as you are in it.

“Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life” -Proverbs 13:12

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I Am A Scale

I am a Scale.

I am blind as a bat, but I manage well to tell you how good you look and therefore how good you should feel about yourself. I am cunning like that.

I am ignorant. But, I’m good at pretending I’m wise and all-knowing. I know nothing of your strength or potential or stamina. I have no clue what you are capable of. I don’t know if you can run a marathon or leap hurdles or lift heavy things. I don’t actually care about those things. I’m ignorant to your stature, yet I flash you with my LED screen and can sum you up in three numbers. This is one of my favorite tricks.

I am a servant. I serve you best with a sense of defeat or that you’re missing the mark. That is my greatest ploy that, in turn, causes you to question what you should enjoy.

I am rude. I constantly compare you to others. If I can get you to do the same then I will keep you coming back to me until you measure up. You see, I’m all about creating an on-going relationship with you.

I am cold-hearted. I truly do not care what sustains you. I don’t care what you need. I don’t actually know what healthy is. I don’t care if you just worked out or ate a salad or gorged on donuts. My job is to convince you that your efforts are in vain and you need to do more to be more.

I lack awareness. I have absolutely no clue what schedule you keep or the demands of your day. But, I convince you to forego food and insert exercise because my three numbers are the key to your contentment.

I am a buzzkill. I have a dispiriting effect. I convince you to skip participating fully in birthday celebrations, parties and gatherings of any kind. You don’t take me with you, but I burn my three numbers in the corridors of your mind and convince you to skip the cake and stay out of the pool.

I am a dictator. I call your closet into question. Nevermind your style or personality… you can’t get away with wearing that and don’t go getting mad at me I’m saving you from embarrassing yourself. By the way, black is my favorite color and pretty much your best look across the board.

I am lonely. I don’t have many friends. I have co-workers though and their names are shame, insecurity and dissatisfaction. You will meet them. They are my caseworkers and when we are apart they are in the field doing my bidding.

I get around. I have permeated your culture. I show up in hotels, your friend’s bathrooms and gym class in 5th grade. I wouldn’t want you to forget that I exist. I’m everywhere you want to be. I know that if I can introduce myself to you when you’re young we just might have a partnership for life.

I am smart. I’ve joined forces with the diet industry and together we are a force to be reckoned with. We are worth 66 billion dollars to date. We have trends and franchises and even life long members across the globe. That said, dare I suggest that we’ve created community and togetherness and…. you’re welcome.

I am arrogant. I hold power OVER you though I am positioned UNDER your feet. I am dependent on you though somehow I’ve convinced you that you’re dependent on me for information about yourself.  I’m pretty magical like that.

I am a scale. I may be a blind, ignorant, unaware, cold-hearted, lonely, rude, dictating, arrogant thing, but I measure and weigh and I can make your day or break it… and don’t you forget it.

Shame Resilience

“I believe that if we want meaningful, lasting change we need to get clear on the difference between guilt and shame and call for an end to shame as a tool for change.” -Brene Brown

I’m no Brene Brown, but I know a thing or two about shame. It is the anaconda of the jungle. It is the piranha in the waters. It’s the deep, dark pit of doubt in our worth. Shame is immobilizing. It is a car with no keys you guys. Shame will tell you that you are inherently flawed and unworthy of love and belonging.

We all have our weaknesses. We all have our own set of struggles. We just do. I remember struggling with shame as far back as I can remember. I know that shame was a catalyst for an eating disorder in my life. I grappled deeply with perfectionism. Every time I screwed up at something, be it small or large, my recovery time was shockingly long. Shame would visit me and stay well past its welcome. It would come on the scene and stir deep inside creating mental turmoil. I bought the lie that I was flawed, broken, bad. Not in a passive sort of way. In an aggressive sort of way. Shame became such a norm that I didn’t even recognize it when it showed up. It was truly the visitor that just never left and all the while you’ve got a million things to do. Shame suffocated my value as a human being. I used my eating disorder, of all things, for some sense of control. I would think: “I can’t control my worth because I’m so damn imperfect inside…. I’ll at least control my body and what others see on the outside.” It’s so twisted isn’t it? Shame is not a driver for change its a driver for destruction. Guilt on the other hand can be a productive tool. It’s the feeling we get when we miss the mark and then decide we can do something about it. Shame is the belief system that when we miss the mark we deserve the repercussions because we suck.

We HAVE to get shame resilience going deep inside our core. The company that shame keeps is just too dangerous. It’s literally got to go. We simply cannot let shame have even the slightest foothold in our hearts.

Resilience defined: the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties, the ability of a substance or an object to spring back into shape.

Radical Forgiveness is the antidote to shame and the open door to resilience. Radical forgiveness is the set of keys to the car friends. If you or someone you know struggles with perfectionism, self-doubt, feeling unworthy and a whole host of other things you can bet your life that shame has set up camp somewhere nearby. Please cover yourself in radical forgiveness today. Radical forgiveness means pour over yourself forgiveness to the point that it SATURATES who you are. Let it soak into every nook and cranny. Let it overwhelm you and fill you and serenade your worth. Let it call your unique human self out of the closet and into the sunlight. God rose the sun just for you today. You were not meant to cower in the darkness of doubt in your value. You are stunning in every way, the broken places and all. Get RESILIENT against this thing. It has over stayed its welcome in every way. Surf the waters of radical forgiveness.

I believe in us and the power to know our true worth.

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