4 Ways To Keep From Losing Yourself

The full length title of this post is “4 Ways to Keep From Losing Yourself in this Topsy Turvy World” in tribute to a fav Wonder Woman comic quote-HA. But don’t worry it’s only partly about boys.

Last week I was trolling through the overpriced Target housewares section talking to a friend. I felt like a certified woman you know, talking a little too loud about our personal identity crises while picking out the best photo album for the house I don’t even own right now. But there was serious business to handle.

“I feel like somewhere I lost myself. I want to get back…except no one loses themselves on purpose, so it makes it hard to figure out how to return,” my friend said.

And in the moment I didn’t have too much to say back. She’s right you know. None of us plan on getting here, on feeling this way. And though I probably couldn’t describe the feeling itself well, I think a lot of us know exactly what she’s talking about. Whether you’re knee deep into a few year relationship and you stopped doing some of the things you love, your new dream job has become the only thing you think about, or simply the need to fit into what’s expected shooed away some really special parts about you, you get this.

So no, none of us plan on getting here, but we can plan for when we do-or better yet how to guard against it.

Suggested below…

1. Unfollow Liberally 

Being trigger happy will with the un/follow button on social media is probably one of the most underrated tools we have to protect our minds, time, and joy. Most of us get on social media innocently, wanting to scroll for a moment, check out what yo girl is doing down in Houston etc. etc., and then it happens, we see something that immediately washes a wave of dread, questions, or insecurity over us.

But why do we let this happen?

Whether it’s someone throwing shade, or an ex’s story showing he’s moving on way too fast for your liking, or any other 15 second caption that trips you up when you weren’t even expecting it, these things can get to us.

So, Get rid of that ish. You don’t need it. It’s your name on that account, own it. Make social media your haven and inspiration, not your comparison, drama, or heartache chamber.

2. Keep an ‘I like’ list

This one sounds a little silly, but I started doing this when I got into a serious relationship at the beginning of college. Inevitably, being around anyone who is different than you, you get to discover new places, music, opinions and more, and may even grow to like them. But you don’t have to let your old loves die, even if none of the people around you are into it.

This one is really just about living aware. Noting that you really liked that song in the grocery store, that you actually hate going with him to Sunday soccer games, or that you haven’t painted or created anything in a while.

3. WRITE down your Destiny Cues

You guys I absolutely LOVE this one.

Above my bed is a copy piece of paper that reads Destiny Cues. And like an actor or actress on the backstage of life, I truly believe God gives us small whispers of what is to come. These whispers don’t always need to be shared, but writing them down is a beautiful way to see His kindness when they happen! And to give you hope and direction when it seems like life has no direction.

Want proof? About 9 months ago I wrote on there that I might be going somewhere with an international organization to work with women’s rights.  This was before any applications, offers, etc. And now I’m going to Uganda. There are Destiny Cues laid out all through life, don’t miss them.

4. Have other voices.

Sometimes the best way to keep yourself to hear out people/things that are very different than you. Our generation lives in an echo chamber, we are boldly outspoken about everyone having their own opinion, but vehemently against listening to anyone’s but our own. Open up the airwaves. Don’t let your twitter feed be your best friend. Be willing to be wrong.

The most grounding other voice for me is that of the Lord. The world can feel like a tornado of expectation sometimes, and I always need the voice of the actual bible to help me recenter on what is true.

That’s it! Keep yourself, grow yourself-you’re no groupie my dear, and the world is better when you walk in that.

xx
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Have You Been Here? Pt. 3

They can’t. (*Here’s a good place to go back and read Parts 1 and 2 if you haven’t.)

I’ve tried.

Those things in Pt. 2 can’t fix the brokenness all around me. They can’t make me believe in love or fix marriages or make me confident or satisfied or purpose-filled. They can help yes, but they can’t do all that and sustain it too..and I think most of us have experienced this truth.

And this place or realization feels really, really hopeless.

But this my friend, is the great reversal.

In a world where failed attempts at control equal hearts left aimless and discouraged, this is where we begin.

On the path of faith, this is the first step. It is called ‘surrender’.

In a world where “I’m sorry” is never really enough to heal the wounds we so easily inflict, in this new world “You’re forgiven.” comes first.

In a world where each of us have PhD’s in wall building, we can realize they are all made of sand. And the walls we build may keep out the people, but they certainly don’t defend us from the tidal waves life sends in.

In this new world the place of “I can’t” comes a new louder voice of “You don’t have to.”

In the places that feel very alone, comes someone who says, “I am always with you.”

In the moments where you have onloaded every failure to improve, self-manage, self-promote, self-help, and have realized that you tried and failed, “so why am I still here.”

A very generous, and kind voice, comes in from the back and says,

“It’s not your job to save yourself from your story.”

And suddenly the weight is lifted.

Have you been here?

*****

If you’ve been in any of these places, from Pt. 1, 2 or 3 I’d love to hear from you in the comments. I know there’s power of knowing people get it, that you’re not alone, that the episode you’re living in isn’t as unpredictable as it seems. So do it down there!! xx

 

 

Have You Been Here? Pt. 2

“You gotta be rich to be insane, Hol. Losing your mind is not a luxury for the middle class.” And in a painfully relatable quote from a your favorite movie, you know they are right.

Because time isn’t afraid of the messes we make. It never backs away from its work or steamrolls quickly by in an effort to leave us behind. It consistently, reliably, carries on, and us with it.

Time certainly does not heal wounds, but it distances us from them a bit, and in that distance we are able to more clearly see the potential for healing than when we were in the eye of our storm.

The people who were going to stay stay, and the ones who were going to leave are gone. You realize that most of the paper planes flying around in your head all those nights eventually land on their own.

But even so, even when the dust settles, even when we are ‘getting over it’, that feeling, it’s still not whole…

Have you been here? You know when your friend calls to check in, and you give her the “I’m really doing better” followed by a list of proofs that show it’s true.

I know I know, I believe in the healthy lifestyle. The balanced days, the steps towards equal measures of gym time, me time, service time etc. on the path to the best you.

But there has got to be more…right?

Even on the best days where the check list is completed and my own self-satisfaction is at its peak…

there has got to be more.

There’s got to be more than balanced lifestyles, Keto diets, ‘family first’ mantras, the year of the ‘focus on me’, #hustlemore and #dailyinspo etc. etc. etc.

I’ve got to believe these things are the garnishes on an already fullness…they certainly can’t patch me up on their own.

Can they?

***

Read the “Have You Been Here?” Series from the beginning starting here. Or here for Pt. 3.

Have you been here? Pt. 1

I’m sorry.

Not because I loved you, but because I’ve never seen the side of me that hurt you before.

I guess I always knew it lived in there somewhere, but my self-righteous past made me believe it would never grow into something anyone else could see or feel.

I didn’t just hurt you you know, but you and someone(s) I really care about….and myself.

And now I’m walking into a place where my greatest desire is to love, and I’m looking around the room seeing people I need to dodge.

What was once a family reuinion now looks like tip toeing around a minefield of hearts-some of which I planted myself.

It makes you ask the question, “What happened?”

And I guess if you stay somewhere long enough the lines of hurt start to tangle around places you frequent like subway lines, but I like to hope those one day become veins of forgiveness.

It’s a hard thing for a man to become collateral to another man’s sin.

But I’ve watched this play out more clearly now than ever, and it really is a testament to the urgent words in Ephesians 6 that we only seem to bring up when trying to pat down a problem we don’t fully understand-

The words that say, we aren’t at war with each other, but with the roaming, hungry spirits.

You can’t damage control sin, and this is why that living scripture is both a warning sign and an ointment for black eyes after the fall out.

What better way for the darkest side to gain strength, not by killing us, but by turning us against one another. By smearing our names in the sand with the tongues of what we thought were safe people.

What better way for evil to distract us through lingering stares and bitter regrets.

“I’m sorry.” feels like a child’s weapon against the darkness, but use what you have.

****

Challenge Time

I’ve been reading a book called “Renovation of the Heart” and in it the author writes:

It is common today to hear Christians talk of their ‘brokenness,” But when you listen closely, you may discover that they are talking about their wounds, the things they have suffered, not about the evil that is in them.

I know I know, you’re thinking Emily, why must you always bring the hammer on my perfectly nice day? Well because I truly believe, a new freedom comes when we look in the mirror not with shame but with brave honesty. When we can stand before the darkness inside of us, it loses a little more power to hurt others, and that my friends is a victory.

What do you need to face today? (Either with yourself or with someone else)

Read Pt. 2 here.

Logistics got me sweating

Here again.
Not catching my breath, overwhelmed with the logistics of this life.
Trying my best to flip and turn puzzle pieces into their sisters places.
Trying my best to sort out the insignificant because I can’t get a hold of the of the
important.
But then I realize there are pieces on the floor I’ve been missing all along..
and under the rug…
and out the door.
There are pieces too far for me to reach, this is not my puzzle to solve.
In fact it’s not a puzzle at all.
But a story that you’ve written and are now producing. 
A story in which my leading role looks more like a reclined position than hunched over in strife.
A story in which I am less responsible for piece making and more responsible for peace making. 
I’m sorry I’ve spent so much time believing you were soverign over my life, but not over my next week. 

Heart Maps

Recently I was driving to meet a friend with another friend in the car. Everything was going as normal until my friend in the passenger seat asked, “Wait, why are you going this way?” To which, I responded, “What do you mean?” My friend in the passenger seat redirected me to what was apparently a more normal route to the coffee shop we were going to, a route in which I honestly had never used. And just like that I realized, I had never learned the ‘normal route’ using main roads.

I had learned to get to that coffee shop based on a landmark, a landmark from my past. I hadn’t realized it, but I had been navigating my way to several places orienting myself around this one place. I knew how to get to the grocery store, from that point. To the coffee shops, from that point. To my friend’s house, from that point. I had never considered that when the relevance of that place ended, it was no longer the best route.

And then I just sat. How long have I been orienting my present around past landmarks? How long have I been taking the same way home, driving past pain points because it’s the only way I learned.

This might sound ridiculous to you, because unlike me you have a great sense of direction and can quickly find new ways to get from point A to point B…but even if you aren’t doing this in real life, we all do a little bit of it in our hearts. Even when we know we need to leave a life landmark in the past, we always seem to find a way to drive back by. Check in, see if anything has changed…see if it still feels like it did a few years ago.

But I recently got smacked with a Bible Study one of my friends wrote. In session three she came around John and taking up your cross daily. I had never realized that implied moving forward. I had never realized Jesus is rallying beside us, cheering us on to keep taking steps, to not slow down. It’s like He’s saying, “You may have some things to carry, but I’ll help, we can’t just stop here honey.” I also certainly never realized the cross I was denying to pick up, the cross that was keeping me from moving forward was my simple refusal to do so.

Jesus wants to rewrite my heart maps, he doesn’t want me driving down those old roads anymore.

So this is the ode to learn a new way. It’s okay that those places once meant something to you, and it’s okay that that isn’t how it is anymore. They can hold those memories just fine without you checking in.

 

Better Breakups: A quick guide based entirely on things I’ve messed up (but hey, you don’t have to)

While I know this post has an unncesarily long and slightly awkward title, I left it. Because that’s kind of how breakups make me feel. Trying to get something out I’m not quite sure how to articulate, a little wounded and insecure from the fallout, a little rambly, but very very sure I’m not the only one who’s been here. Very sure there is a moment where things seems smaller than they once did. If you’re not there yet, here’s a few tips for the ride.

1. Feel the feels

I think this should probably be 1-5, because c’mon. It sucks.
Let me say it again: it sucks.
And honestly, in a couple months when you are supposed to have picked up the pieces and moved on, it will still suck.
I’m here to tell you, that’s okay. I realized recently I never learned how to properly process pain, I was always wishing it away or ignoring it (see last post on pain). But pain doesn’t play like that, and like the monsters in the closet, he’s best tackled when looked straight in the face.

I can’t stress enough the importance of crafting time into your schedule to feel the feels in a place and time where it’s safe. Work crying is not the move (God bless my past and future bosses), so sit, weep, and pray. Being vulnerable with yourself is a discipline, and one that keeps the gremlins from growing into something very scary.

2. Don’t burn bridges at midnight

In a heartbroken moment it’s easy to make decisions that can’t be undone. It’s easy and likely justified to say, do, express the worst things-to take a match to what you’ve spent months, maybe years investing your heart coins into. If you’ve been hurt, you know that deep desire for the world to see the flames. This time you’re the arsonist, and you won’t go down that easy. But hear me when I say, it’s not their fire to watch burn, and while it may feel better in the late night moments to lash out, don’t. Breathe instead. Rest.

3. The only one who really scores on a rebound is Lebron

Whatever your motivation, I get it. You want to numb, forget, feel better, ignore, prove to yourself that you’re okay-our brains tells us a lot of things that simply aren’t true, and our brains on sad juice are even more of a liar. You may think you can control the aftermath, and in the wake of an unexpected breakup you are probably thirsty for control, but let me tell you something I read from Jenna B (now Carver) a few years ago. People aren’t things, and you can’t keep them. You don’t get to control them, so don’t hurt/use someone else because you feel hurt. It only ices your cake of late night regrets.

4. Master the art of the Breakup Glo-Up *sparkle emoji*

If you’ve ever seen that Twitter meme of Demi Lovato from Disney Channel beside now Demi that reads, “Your girl when y’all were together v. when you broke up” just know it makes me audibly laugh and well, enough said.

5. Give yourself some grace

This is BY FAR number ONE on the list, and I only put it here because this has to be the afterthought. This has to be the final voice in you head when you lay down on your pillow. When the thoughts, the blame, they ugly lies are flowing through the outgoing bins of your brain only to be stamped and mailed straight into your heart- give yourself some grace. It’s okay. You did great. No time has been wasted, it’s all a part of the beauty that’s you, even this.
I truly believe (and partly hate) that the best opportunity we have to look like Jesus is when we’ve been hurt. And the best time to walk out grace is when we’ve clearly hurt someone else. You can do this, and you can do it well.