This afternoon I am sitting around my messy house in my sweats, with many unfinished projects and chores to attend to, and yet I am content. This is life. It isn't about how cute I can make my house look or how many possessions I can afford.
Earlier I found a blog that I really fell in love with. Not because this woman had a beautiful home or because she was an excellent writer, but because she was real. She didn't pretend to have her life in order, actually many of her posts were about how upset she was and how little things in life don't go as planned. Her and her husband took a risk and bought a home, and it actually ended up being a really terrible decision. They have basically lost all of their life savings. It is truly an unfortunate situation, and yet at the same time I find myself so inspired by this woman. Simply because she can be real with herself, and the world, and say that she is broken.
I guess this just really hit home with me because I am tired of everyone (including myself) pretending that life is perfect and wonderful, because it isn't. I'm not trying to be depressing or say that I am not happy with my life. Honestly, I don't want to have a perfect life, where is the fun in that? If something is going wrong in your life it seems as though it must reflect on the character of who you are and not simply that we are just human beings, learning and making mistakes as we go. Why must making a mistake mean something bad about who we are? I don't know about you, but I am far from perfect. My life hardly ever goes "as planned", and even when it does that "plan" isn't always as glamorous as I thought it would be. Sometimes when we stick to our own plan for our life we miss out on so much more that we could be experiencing.
I met this woman the other day that really inspired me to be less concerned about where this life is going and more concerned with what I am going to do with the day ahead of me. She told me a story of how she went to a foreign country (I think it was the Congo but I can't remember) on a missions trip, to teach people about Jesus. Apparently most missionaries do not return form this trip because they are killed for speaking about Jesus. So, naturally, before she left all of her friends and family warned her not to go, saying that she would be killed and never return. Do you know what she said to them? "So what? Let them kill me, I don't care! But before they kill me you better believe I am going to tell them about Jesus." Not only am I inspired by her abandonment for God, but also by her confidence. There is really something that can be said about a person who would willingly give up their life for something or someone else. They are saying "Even if I am not able to accomplish anything else, my life was a success." How many of us can say that? Who can say they are content with the level of success that they have achieved at this very moment, so much so that if they died they would not have a regret? And why must we go half way around the world to feel like this?
I believe whole heartedly that this is the life Jesus is calling us to. Not to become missionaries, but to a life of fearlessness, abandonment, and confidence. It is possible to do that in everyday life. Just being real and being honest about your problems can be an act of fearlessness.
There are always different seasons of our life. Sometimes we can feel incredibly confident, knowing who we are and that we are capable of everything. Other times we can feel unsure of ourselves, and fearing what others think of us.
For a very long time I was the most confident in myself that I had ever been. I knew who I was, what I wanted to be, and how I was going to get there. Then one day my whole life changed. Suddenly the confidence that had become such a huge part of me began slipping away. While Alex and I were working out nearly a year and a half ago, I experienced my first panic attack. Since that time I have experience dozens more, mostly when I am driving, running, or in the grocery store. I have sifted through every negative experience and emotion that I can possibly think of to try to explain why this would be happening to me. I have researched and found vitamin deficiencies, organ malfunctions, and diseases that could be causing this and taken dozens of vitamins and pills ( no anti-depressants/anxiety pills) to bring me back to myself again. All of this just leading to one conclusion, I have no idea why this is happening to me. I really truly deeply love my life, husband, family, and friends. I didn't have a terribly traumatic childhood. These panic attacks have left me feeling paralyzed and as though my life will never be normal again. I can't even drive on the freeway, or any other high speed road. It is truly one of the worst things I have ever experienced. I would take physical pain over this intense fearfulness and loss of control.
Slowly but surely I have decided that I will gain my confidence back. Even if I have to fight for the rest of my life. I will not abandon the virtue of feeling at peace once again. Everyday I have started asking myself, what is the worst thing that could happen? I could either die or be humiliated. So what! If I die then I can be with Jesus, and I don't have to be humiliated if I don't want to be. I will never lay down and just let life happen to me. This life will be what I (and my husband) make it, and that's that!