Sometimes You Have to Do Things on Your Own

My Post (56)

I’ve been very fortunate to always have people in my life whom I can count on in moments of panic or desperation. Usually these type of moments arrive when an emergency light turns on in my car, as was the case last week.

The events of the week were a big wake-up call for me. First came the car emergency light, and a day later I woke up so sick that doing anything other than lying down resulted in feeling faint and getting sick to my stomach.

In both cases, for the first time in a while, I was on my own. When the car emergency light came on, I was on my morning drive to work. When I called my husband for help, he didn’t answer because he, too, was driving.

I tried calling my dad (a low move on my part because he lives in a time zone two hours behind mine), but he had his phone off because it was, you know, not even 6 a.m. his time.

I had to figure it out for myself—and I did. When my husband and dad both returned my calls later, it felt good to tell them that I had taken care of the situation (with some help from kind people at a tire shop).

The very next morning, I faced the same challenge. My husband had left the evening before on a business trip, so it was just the dog and me. I woke up feeling unbelievably dizzy—so dizzy that I could hardly sit up in bed. I had to call in to work because I couldn’t imagine driving with the world spinning as it was.

As the day went on, it became clear that I needed to get to the doctor’s office. The problem was that I couldn’t drive, and all of the people whom I would normally call were out of town or states and states away.

I’m not going to lie: I broke down in tears and threw myself a pity party for quite a bit. But then I finally got my act together, called an Uber, and got myself down to the doctor’s office.

While it was a horrible two days of feeling rather alone, it was a lesson I needed. It was a reminder that I can successfully do things on my own—even when I think I can’t.

Sometimes we just need that reminder that, even when there’s no one around us, there’s an inner strength that can be called upon.

We need other people in our lives. We need love. We need care. But we also need to be able to rely on ourselves. We need to know that we’ll be OK even if there’s no help to be found.

Don’t let times like this bring you down—let them, instead, remind you of how strong you are.

 

The Christian Dating Cliche: Guard Your Heart

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I call it a cliche, but it’s a rule to live by: Guard your heart.

When I was 15 years old, I found myself heartbroken for the second time in a year. Out of nowhere, the guy I had been dating (who I thought was so different than my ex-boyfriend) dumped me. He said God was calling him to do it.

Listen, I’m Christian, but I do not think a good way to break up with people is to claim that “God said so.” That is not loving. That is a cop-out. If God is really calling you to break up with someone, then give that person the reason why that may be. For example, it might be that the soon-to-be-ex wants to raise children with different values or has a different lifestyle. Even the cliche “I love you, but I’m not in love with you” is better than the “God told me to” line.

The same boy who used that line on me also told me over and over that he thought God was telling him that I was “the one.” OK, dude. I think he was confusing what he wanted with what God was saying to him. Just saying.  

Anyway, I was heartbroken. Crushed. I couldn’t get out of bed. It had taken me months to snap out of my last heartbreak, and I couldn’t face the inevitable road of pain that I knew I was about to walk down again.

My mother, being wise, called me out of school and drove me right down to our church offices to speak with the high school pastor. I’m really thankful for the heartfelt talk he gave me. It really did help—not so much with the pain, but I think he saved my faith. I could have easily turned sour and cynical toward the church and God. After all, did God really tell that boy to dump me? Why would He let me get hurt again?

Ladies, regardless of your religion, it is important to guard your heart and your faith. People lie. People make mistakes. People say things without thinking. I’m sure that boy didn’t mean to hurt me. Honestly, for all I know, maybe he was—VERY WRONGLY—flirting to convert, and he thought he was actually doing a very nice thing by getting me more involved in church. Maybe it was some weird test I didn’t pass.

It doesn’t matter why he said what he said. I should never have allowed myself to be that caught up in someone that my entire world would be shattered by a breakup.

Breakups are hard, and they hurt. As Lorelai Gilmore would suggest, they require wallowing, but they should not derail your entire life—at least not at 15 years old or after only a few months of dating.

Guard your heart. Be sure that you don’t allow your boyfriend to become your world. Keep time for friends and family. Don’t text 24/7 (as tempting as that might be). Schedule phone calls, or have a cut-off time for text conversations.

Most of all, value yourself. You are far more than a relationship. You are more than some boy’s words.




 

Your Reflection in the Mirror Isn’t Your Identity


Have you ever looked in the mirror and thought to yourself “
UGH!”?

I know that I have.

I remember the first time that I saw the movie Princess Diaries and the thought that I sometimes felt like I could relate to Mia Thermopolis. Big hair that can’t be easily tamed is real, girl. One morning before school, she looks in the mirror and says “as always, this is as good as it’s going to get.”

I feel your pain, sister.

That was often my mindset—well, except for the fact that I always wanted my reaction to my reflection to be better. I wanted to be prettier. I wanted my hair to look less frizzy and more beautiful. I wanted boys to like me and actually pursue me. I wanted to feel like I was worthy.

Here’s what I didn’t understand, though: I was already worthy just as I was.

It’s not necessarily always an easy truth to accept, although it should be. I feel like it should be pretty simple—my worth is not found in what I look like or how many guys are interested in me; it’s found in who I am in Christ. I could have the frizziest hair in the entire world (and that’s probably sometimes fairly accurate) and still be just as valuable as the days when it’s actually presentable. The point is that it’s not what you see in the mirror that determines who you are—it’s what’s in your heart.

I’m sure that you’ve heard the expression “it’s what on the inside that counts,” and you might roll your eyes and think that people usually only say that about other people they think aren’t very attractive or when they’re trying to make sure that others don’t develop shallow mindsets. Sure, it’s a trite expression, but it carries such tremendous truth. It truly is what’s inside your heart that makes you beautiful.

But, of course, we women typically want to look attractive. Here’s my suggestion to you: Stop focusing on all of your flaws, and start embracing what makes you uniquely you. When you look in the mirror, don’t focus on the zit in the smack-dab middle of your forehead. Instead, compliment yourself on your remarkably captivating eyes or your contagious smile.

Rather than looking in the mirror and telling yourself that “this is as good as it’s going to get,” remind yourself that you are full of beauty and worth every bit of love there is in this world—you are enough, now and always.

Don’t Lose Yourself While Trying to Find Yourself


As you’re growing up and learning more about life and how you fit in this world, it can be easy to stray away from your true identity while you’re trying to figure out who you really are.

Sometimes we tend to let other people influence our likes and dislikes. I wish that I could say I’ve never done this, but that would be a lie. When I was in college, I was in that stage in which I was starting to fall for a guy who was one of my good friends, and I suddenly found myself listening mainly to the kind of music he liked and not as much to the country tunes that I actually preferred. Sure, I did actually like the songs he liked, but I then started only listening to those bands and those genres rather than paying attention to what I wanted to hear.

Have you ever found yourself in a similar situation—suddenly thinking that the things you find interest in aren’t really as great as you once thought they were? That maybe you should learn to like more of the things that the people around you like? If that’s the case, please know that you’re not alone. Sadly, most of us probably do this way more than we would care to admit.

Even when I started off in my first career as a sports reporter, I thought that I had to act or present myself a certain way in order to be accepted and respected, especially because I was a woman in a male-dominated profession. I wish that the younger version of me would have understood that losing my own identity in order to try to be someone I definitely wasn’t was a horrible idea.

When I fell really hard for a guy who broke my heart, I sometimes found myself hesitant to let certain things about me be made known to him simply because I thought that he was looking for something—or someone—completely different. That’s not a healthy way to move toward what you want to be a genuine relationship.

I’m proud of the person I am today, flaws and all, and I’m glad that I don’t have to hide who I am or strive to impress others by changing my likes and dislikes. I don’t like chocolate. I don’t like marinara sauce, so I don’t like most pizzas. I eat Wheat Thins with everything. I put ketchup on almost anything. I would rather watch sports all day than anything else on television. I hate snow. I’m morally opposed to fantasy football. I’m a virgin who has only kissed one guy, so my experience level is near zero. I have an unashamed love for country music. I can’t stand Star Wars.

Ladies, don’t ever try to hide the things that make you you, and don’t try to create an image of you that isn’t actually you. Growing up isn’t always easy, and there will be times in life when you really are trying to figure out who you are and where you belong in this world—and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. It’s natural. But don’t soil that time of discovery and the experiences you have along the way with false pretenses that you have to force yourself to feel or believe.

To revert back to those glorious carefree days of childhood, Grandmother Willow said it best in Pocahontas: “Listen with your heart, and you will understand.” Let your heart be what guides you in your journey to discovering who you are.

Because if you lose yourself while you’re trying to learn more about who you are, then you’ll never know or become the real you you’re meant to be.

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