2018 Update…

Before you say, “there she is!!”…

2018 hasn’t gone any way that I thought it would.

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I really should know better. That when I make a plan, it gets flipped on it’s head. This is why my senior year of high school, when I planned to go to a small liberal arts school and be a dance major and had my dreams absolutely shredded (when I settled for going to a public university with an undeclared major)…

I decided to quit making plans because they never seemed to go the way I intended.

I am a ONE on the Enneagram, an INFJ on the Meyers Briggs, and a Deep Thinker on the Right Path.

It basically means I am a perfectionistic, over analytic, introvert who doesn’t especially like change BECAUSE I put SO MUCH effort into my decisions.

But the crazy, ironic thing is that making plans and sifting through details is how I destress. The thing that calmed me down was actually taking the most out of me. I invested so much into my plans that when they changed I would stop in my tracks and not be able to tell up from down.

I hated scrambling for a Plan B because Plan A felt like it took everything I had.

I’ve had to self learn how to not be emotionally tied to decisions, plans and ideas.

(…Imagine what this is like with Jesus…because oh my word…I am impatient and freak out when I am not in control…He’s working really hard on that with me.)

It’s still hard, especially in seasons where I’m not as healthy (emotionally, spiritually and physically) as I should be. These seasons come when I lose margin, when I stop working out and getting exercise, when my house feels like it becomes a dumping ground, and when I stop spending time with God.

What I’ve realized is that our seasons of unhealthiness come in different ways for each of us.

Because of the way we were raised, life seasons, and circumstances.

Because of the ways we are wired, the ways we connect/disconnect with God, and the ways we unwind and rejuvenate.

Really, it’s not fair to compare to one another how strenuous a season is for another person.

It’s the age old saying that you never know the battle someone else is facing.

In 2018, I thought I was going to only post on social media once a week and I was going to WRITE once a week.

Guess what y’all.

I’ve written TWICE in the first half of this year. It’s summer already. The thing that makes me come alive the most and puts words to everything I feel went to the bottom of the list.

I’ve been on social media less, but mainly because I have had ZERO energy for crafting sentences or worrying about if a picture is worthy of someones news feed.

It’s not what I planned, it’s not what I thought I thought this season was going to look like, at all.

And this season of growth didn’t look the way I wanted it to look.

It required something different of me.

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It was insanely uncomfortable, strenuous, and taxing. Probably the season that took the most out of me in my life, and it also came after a lot of hard hits I thought I had made it through. All the while I entered into a new relationship, some really hard stuff hit my family, my commitment list grew forever long, and I discovered through counseling that I’ve been placing my identity in what I can produce rather than who I am in Jesus.

THERE ARE NOT ENOUGH HOURS IN THE DAY TO WRESTLE WITH ALL OF THAT.

While picking out paint colors for an expansion project I would be worrying if I even remembered to schedule dinner with my family.

While loving the excitement of a new and grounding and grace filled and redemptive relationship with Brandon I was praying on my knees that people would show up to help roll paint and hang material accent walls.

When I would wake up in the morning or have an hour of free time I wouldn’t be able to make a decision and would sit in paralyzing anxiety about if I should spend time with God, work out, or take a nap.

The nap almost always won, but it was more like a toss and turn and jolt myself awake type of sleep…with another thing I told myself to remember, forgot, and would came back to my at the most inopportune time. every. single. time.

I became a numb bulldozer who was powering through the to-do list, then I became highly emotional stress ball who had over 60 unread texts and 300 unread e-mails, and then I began to thank God.

We always have the opportunity to say that this is a “have to” vs. a “get to“.

We always have the opportunity to take care of ourselves.

We always the opportunity to see mountains as just obstacles to be climbed.

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I think what I learned in this season is prevalent…and like Brandon reminds me all the time, “God is going to use this to speak into someone else’s life.”

  1. YOU are in control of YOU. – oh, it’s true. you can place blame on all the people you want. you can say you don’t have enough time, enough resources, or enough space. you can say that it’s someone else’s job…and you can even begin to believe the enemy’s manipulative ploy that everyone and everything is against you. but hey, you can say “no” in a kind, loving, and gentle way. you can take a break. you can choose to worship instead of worry. you can choose to be celebratory and supportive rather than bitter and critical. you are responsible for your boundaries, emotional health, responses and how you choose to engage or disengage. make a decision and show up present and positive, don’t make a decision and blame everyone else. and let me tell you…the people around you who LOVE you are rooting for your health and self-care too. so if you are someone who is holding themselves to the highest standard, take a breath and give yourself some grace.
  2. Where you place your identity is critical. – be the most stellar employee. be the most extradorinaiy spouse, mother, father, son or daughter. be the friend that always shows up. but the roots of who you are can’t can’t nourish you from what you can produce or how you make someone feel. your fruit won’t be plentiful, your harvest won’t be full, because anything done apart from Jesus is nothing (John 15:5). I’ve had to remember who He says I am, I’ve had to remember dreams that He’s put in my heart, and I’ve had to remember that He gives me the daily grace and the daily rest to do all of my roles with a deeply engraved love that only He can provide.
  3.  Press in, don’t press out. – sometimes I think when our plans are derailed we get flighty and drastic. but I think the best thing we can do in this place is to actually not make a decision. don’t make a drastic decision about how your life is going to be based on temporary circumstances. seasons pass and it can be well with our souls even when the waves are rising. and sometimes these are the places where God is screaming rather than whispering for us to come to Him because He has something big He wants us to trust Him with or that He wants to tell us. letting go will do you the most disservice and it probably will you land you in a place feeling more lonely and disconnected than before. God can change plans, He can change hearts, but if we aren’t careful we can convince ourselves into hearing something He isn’t really saying. so press in, and dig. because wherever He is leading you is beautiful, but it isn’t meant for you to be self reliant.

So friends, with that being said. This year has been insanely tiring and life giving all at the same time. I think all of our circumstances, even the hard ones, have this potential if we let them. With a change of plans I think God has done an incredible work. He had this season planned out and He paved a way for His goodness to be on display.

Brandon asked me last night, during my own personal wrestling, as he ran his hand over my steadfast tattoo…

“Why did you get this word? Who is it about?” …even though he knows…

Immediately, I started to cry.

“Because God is steadfast.”

“Yeah, why do you believe that? What does that word mean?”

I choked and let hot tears hit the sofa as I barely got the words past my lips.

“Because He is loyal, steady, true…and He is never failing even when I am and He loves me even when who He says He is, is hard for me to believe.”

“Exactly.”

What I can’t say enough is that we can’t do this on our own. We can’t do this life apart from Jesus and the enemy will stop at nothing to derail that.

The reason I cried when Brandon asked me that question is not because I cry all the time. I actually don’t. My counselor marked down in her notes a few weeks ago that it was only the second time I ever cried in counseling and I’ve been sitting on her couch for nearly two years.

The reason I cried is because I realized I missed an entire season of inviting God in, not completely, but in the hardest parts…I missed it. Because control is comforting and I wanted to find it on my own instead of being still and letting Him fight for me

(Exodus 14:14).

And the most overwhelming part? He didn’t scold me or shame me. He embraced me quickly and helped me remember there will be another chance to hold fast to His hand.

Actually, that chance starts now. and it restarts every time I stumble over the rubble of my own humanity.

So, I don’t know where you are. I don’t know if this season is great or if it’s hard. maybe it’s both at the same time.

But regardless, I want to encourage you not to miss it, don’t miss God in this place.

Invite Him in.

It’s a beautifully surrendered, life giving thing when we do.

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Live well.

Love,

Leste

2 thoughts on “2018 Update…

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