On confronting my fears

I don’t know when this idea made its way into my head, sneaking through my defenses and somehow rooting itself without my knowledge or consent. But today, when I was cathartically writing I realized that I was thinking as though I could mess up my future with one wrong choice.

One wrong choice means I don’t get the right boyfriend. One wrong choice means I live somewhere I’m miserable. One wrong choice and I’ve messed it all up beyond repair.

I once swore I’d never date and marry a man from Florida. Though I don’t feel bound to that anymore, I know the reasons why younger me swore that and was quite emphatic about it. Many of the people who come to live here, love it and they want to stay. “It’s too cold up north and we’re so close to the beach here,” that’s the mindset I’d encountered.

I’ll confess that sometimes it can get too cold up north but then, I grew up in Florida and I wear some sort of coat when it gets around 50 degrees. (But then, I’m also embarrassingly in love with snow) When I ventured away from Florida, moving to another state, I experienced the seasons for the first time. I fell in love with the swift changes and the colors that surround them. The flowers that bloom on the trees, purple, yellow, pink and white blossoms bring the joy of new life after a winter bundled up. I gathered those flowers, picking beautiful pink blossoms off my favorite tree and twirling the stem in my fingers, lifting it up to smell its sweet fragrance, fresh with a hint of honey and apple.  Fall became my favorite of seasons, the leaves turning in color to gold, orange, deep red and burgundy.

I didn’t want to be with someone who would keep me in Florida and wouldn’t want to explore the great world around us. Who would be content with his surroundings and wouldn’t be the adventurous sort. I couldn’t name it then, but I was adventurous. I was also just coming out of being homeschooled and didn’t want to rush into being a second generation homeschool parent, like some of my peers. I wanted to forge my own path that would be good for me. I wanted to see what else was out there, beyond my sphere.

I used to fear that I’d get trapped into a situation I couldn’t escape without compromising my moral integrity. I thought I knew better than that, I didn’t think I feared that anymore, but it seems to have returned. Part of thriving is realizing that’s not true—that’s not something I need to fear. If I’m ever in a situation I didn’t anticipate, I have options. I won’t be trapped. I won’t have to compromise. I’ve seen stories in my life that illustrate that to me. And with each reminder, I slowly begin to feel more free.

I think thriving will mean figuring out how to forge my own path again. I’ve been so focused upon healing, upon the tasks I know I need to do, that I haven’t thought about it. I don’t have a complete picture of what that forging will look like in this season of my life. Except that it will involve lots of coffee and tea. And I will be braver for it. I hope thriving for me will mean getting to see the spring blossoms and fall leaves again soon.

One Word 2014

I’ve never participated in one word year before. The idea of picking one idea, pinning it down and sticking to it, always seemed so restrictive for me. I’d seen so many seasons of my life where one word for a year would be too short. Last year was the first year that I strongly wanted to choose one, but I couldn’t settle on a single word.

In those feeble first moments of 2013, I wanted hope. I longed for a year of All Things New. In 2012, I felt like I’d been swept up into a tornado, then dropped into the aftermath, injured and unable to fully pick myself up. I struggled with a lot of self-doubt—and really I just wanted everything to go back to the way it had been. Unfortunately, that’s not what happened in 2013. What the new year brought me was not what I had been expecting and All Things New is a process that is going to take more than a calendar year.

I was starting to find hope at the end of 2012, which carried through 2013. It came through the voices of good friends who spoke truth into my life that I couldn’t see at the time. I began to find hope in their words; I couldn’t see that truth for myself yet, but if they could, it had to be there. It was the beginnings of a healing process that’s still in motion for me right now.

I started thinking about a word for 2014 as I saw the blog posts starting to pop up. At first, it felt tender to me. I thought about brave and courageous…but faltered, a bit. They felt oversized, like something I would need to go into but something I didn’t fit into yet. They were also heavy, ripe with expectations I didn’t (and still don’t) know if I can achieve yet.

The word had popped into my head but it wasn’t until a blog post from Bethany Suckrow when I began to feel confident in it. Thrive. It seemed to encompass what I wanted this new year to be.

And as I’ve pondered over it, I know, this is what I want. This is what, I hope, will usher in a new season of my life. I want to heal, and I want to be able to thrive in all aspects of my life. I want to do new things (hopefully without crippling anxiety). I want to laugh more. I want to be successful. I want to accomplish goals. I want to be a better artist. I want to find wonder in the world around me.

In 2014, I want to be brave, I want to be courageous, and I want to thrive. I hope that those words will take roots and grow into something beautiful. And I hope that the experiences I have this year will be positive.

If you haven’t read the post from Bethany I linked earlier, go read it. It’s really good. I’m grateful for her post and that inspiration she gave me.

What do you hope to accomplish in 2014?