A couple of weeks ago, I was working late and I walked around the corner to get dinner. And I didn't take any phones with me. Yes, plural. All the phones. Nothing was in my pocket dinging, buzzing, beeping. A good 10 minute walk with none of this. A rare experience anymore. My phones are my constant companions. I am a slave to the little red notification bubbles. Must clear them all, stat.
Everything is urgent. Everything is important. (except that is a lie from the devil, but you know what I mean)
So there I was, walking down the street - just me and my thoughts. Like the old days. And you know what happened? Something came back that I haven't had in years, probably because of the phones I keep in my right and left pockets and can draw out simultaneously like a good cowboy in an old Western movie drawing his guns from his holsters.
I could hear myself think.
I used to have this running commentary in my head, almost all the time. Like one of those shows that's narrated like a character - Doogie Howser, Carrie Bradshaw style. It was one of the things that made me, me.
It came back, y'all. And it was great. It felt like sinking into a big comfy chair with a hot cup of coffee and the perfect light blanket.
I was watching myself walk down that street and I was proud. Head held high. I am doing this! I have overcome so much. I have earned so much. God has seen it fit to place me right here, right now. I get to do this life of mine. And it's good.
What a complete and total honor!
Note: since this grand revelation, you'd think I'd leave my phones behind for 10 minutes more often. That has not happened. But I have thought about it. And now I'm writing about it, so - progress.
Seriously, though - do you ever hear that commentary in your head? Do you ever watch yourself and wonder how you got here, how you do this? Do you let yourself star in your life? Do you realize you are doing this? You're rocking it out and you're making it happen and you're enough and you're doing a good job? Do you ever tell yourself that, instead of hustling for someone else to notice?
Because you are. You're rocking that school lunch assembly line and still getting to work on time. You're listening to and encouraging your husband like no one else can. You're a best friend. And this is it! This is our life! These are the moments we live for. They're happening right now. Don't miss them.
Don't rush through to the next thing, or panic because you don't know how you'll "do it all." In the wise words of Nike, just do it. One foot in front of the other. You've got this. It will lead to something more.
I recently saw a video a friend posted of how she transfers her husband into bed. You can watch it here. He is a ventilator-dependent quadriplegic and getting into bed is a long process, and anyone who doesn't understand this spinal cord injury world may wonder how does she do it?
I think those of us that live life with an extra (obvious) challenge are sometimes tempted to say, "we just do it because we have to." But there is more to it than that. It's an art. And that makes us artists.
The truth is you have hard things in your life, too. They may not be as obvious as a wheelchair. And you endure. You put on the big girl panties. You wipe the dripping mascara off your cheeks and press on. You hear the test results, swallow, pray, and plan the treatment schedule.
I encourage you to watch yourself and cheer yourself on. You wonder how you do it? Here's a hint: you're not alone. Also, all of this has a purpose.
Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured out into hour hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.
Did you catch that? Sufferings lead to perseverance, which leads to character, which leads to hope.
I get that when you're in the middle of the suffering the hope thing is kind of hard to grasp. Believe me, I've been there! You can't skip a step! But I promise you if you persevere, you'll get to hope. It will float up. I know this, because it is my life.
The character part is key. It's not fun, but it's a necessary step in growth.
My prayer is that you'll be kind to yourself, keep going, and learn how much God loves you and see yourself in a whole new light.
There you go, that was stream-of-consciousness writing. I'm definitely rusty writing for an audience, but hopefully you see my heart and understand the message I felt led to share with you guys through this.