OK, confession time–For those who think I’m rock solid and exude enormous amounts of strength, hopefully this confession I am about to make will make me seem more human in your eyes–I am tired of being strong. I have been so focused on being the strong one that I have not allowed myself to feel the depths of my grief. I have finally allowed myself to soak in who I have lost and what I have lost. And, to be honest, it has brought me low. I knew I would be faced with valleys–it was only a matter of time. I am tired, bitter, sad–a lot things that have happened recently have really gotten to me. A few people have disappointed me greatly to the point of me being ashamed to know them (this may be extreme to read right now, but don’t worry… I’m going somewhere with this).
And another confession–I have been on a couple of dates. And, let me tell you, that was not a good experience for me. I have come to the conclusion that online dating is dumb–guys have expectations of what you should look like. Well, I’m not a skinny girl–I’ve got some meat on my bones. I called it quits when a guy told me that he just can’t date me because he wasn’t physically attracted to me. My interpretation–you’re fat and not pretty. I did not realize how much I depended on Jake telling me that I was beautiful no matter what. I was like an angel to Jake–he saw the real me; he’s the only guy to really “get” me. And that right there is the thing, in my opinion, that has brought me the lowest. I had a husband whose love for me had no limits–and now, I don’t. He’s gone. And I am faced with being single in a world that values external beauty more than internal beauty. To add on to all of this, pretty much all of my friends are pregnant and having kids while I am standing still.
I realized that I was not getting any better. In my counseling classes, they tell us that self-care is so important. So, I decided to go back to personal counseling; and just one session has helped me so much. It dawned on me that I do not need to start feeling sorry for myself or wallow in my self-pity. I don’t need to be upset with my friends to continuing their life. And I certainly do not need to put a negative stigma on all guys just because of a few bad experiences.
Before I started writing this, I came across a photo I saved to my phone which reads “Life is 10% of what happens to you, and 90% of how you react to it.” It hit me–Becki, you are the only one who controls how you react. Of course, I saved that picture a while ago so I knew I agreed with it at some point. But, it didn’t really hit me until now.
When the going gets tough, how do you react? Do you react defensively, negatively, positively, optimistically? For so long, I have been choosing to be optimistic and positive. And I realized that sometimes it’s just hard to have that attitude. But, I’ve got to keep pressing forward (Phil. 3:13-14). I don’t have children right now and who knows if I ever will–but, you know what, I can adopt and give a child a good Christian home with limitless love. And I don’t have a husband who is alive–but, you know what, I have been able to experience a love like no other; that’s more than some people.
I would give anything to have Jake back; but, God is using this for good. I know He is. Would I have been able to inspire so many people? Would I be going to school to be a counselor? Would I have started JARs of Hope (which I’m still working on… hopefully one day it will be a non-profit)?
My word for this year is CONTENTMENT. I want to adopt the attitude of Paul in Philippians 4:11-13: “Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” It’s going to be a growing-filled road, for sure, but I want to be content with who I am and where I am in life. And leave everything else in God’s hands where it belongs.
“We must understand that contentment is like a muscle–the more practiced, the stronger it will be” (Sally Clarkson). Contentment takes work and persistence. I can’t just give up when the going gets tough. When the going gets tough, I am going to press forward and lean on God. When the going gets tough, I am going to allow my friends and family to help me. When the going gets tough, I refuse to be knocked down by Satan.
So, what will you do when the going gets tough?