Recently, I’ve spent a great deal of time in reflecting. Mainly on the past year – Where I was. Where I am. Where I am going. Saying that “a lot has changed” over the past year is an understatement. I was laid off from my job in January (2017), met and started dating an amazing guy, did a great deal of traveling (mainly with him), started a new job (which I LOVE) in June, moved out of my parents’, and got engaged in October. Whew! So many wonderful blessings!
Last Christmas I never would have imagined that my life would look the way it does now – and that’s a good thing. I remember wishing for a job I didn’t hate and a boyfriend who wasn’t a jerk. Having a tough couple of years really lowered my standards… I thought that a “happier” life just wasn’t in the cards for me.
It can be hard to look back one year let alone two or three. Even last year I was in a much different place physically and emotionally that I am now. Calling off your wedding weeks before the “big day,” which also meant breaking up with a substance abuser and ending an overall very unhealthy relationship, while simultaneously moving back with parents is a lot to process all at once. My eating disorder behavior was out of control and my weight was at an all time low. I was a zombie, so lethargic, depressed, and lonely. At 26 years old I would cry myself to sleep, often crawling into my mom’s bed for comfort.
Needless to say, I struggled a LOT. I got tired of feeling so hopeless (and I’m sure the few people that were around me that I hadn’t pushed away felt the same). I knew something needed to change and I wasn’t going to get anywhere sitting on the couch.
I struggled forcing myself to “be social.” My counselor encouraged me to go to events even when I wouldn’t feel like going and to give new things a chance. It felt like torture. I literally had to force myself to go to events. Particularly a young adult church group a friend had told me about. I hated it at first, it felt so uncomfortable. I wanted to run back to the comfort of my bed and Netflix even though I would regret not going out later.
It only took a few weeks for my efforts to pay off. Volunteering with hat young adult group is how I met my fiancé. Oh, how he has turned my life upside down (in a good way)!
But even being with him doesn’t guarantee happiness. A lot of demons from my past, things that I thought I had gotten over have come back to haunt me. He’s kind and patient, but doesn’t always seem to understand why certain things are still hard for me or I’m not super happy 24/7.
Sometimes I don’t feel like I “deserve” all of the things I have now. I know, I know, I hate the word “deserve” too… I think about all the ways things could have gone wrong and wonder what my life would look like now if I stayed with my abusive ex and gotten married. There’s very little use thinking about the past like that, only that it makes me cherish what I do have now. But I’m human things like that still cross my mind from time to time.
I think the hardest thing for me right now is when I’m encountering people for the first time. Those who didn’t know the “old me.” They act jealous and say things like, “Oh, your life is perfect – great job, you travel all the time, awesome family, and a fiancé who adores you.” Yes, yes I do have all of these things, but they didn’t magically come to me while I was lounging on a beach. I worked hard to be where I am now. Becoming more involved in the church and counseling helped. What people didn’t and don’t see was/is the nights I spent sleepless and crying in bed, the literally hundreds of employment applications I completed, the bad dates and rejection from other guys, the mental struggle to gain and maintain weight. I mean, I could go on and on, but I think you get the picture.
I am constantly reminding myself that this is MY life and not to take things others say in their naivety too heart. They don’t know and don’t need to know where I have been for me to feel deserving. Our struggles make us who we are. I appreciate them for getting me to where I am now, but I also need to release things/people that can still pull me back to a place of hurt.
This year has been a year of growth and I am very honored for all the ways I can see God using me. 2018 will be another busy year. I don’t know what all is in store for me, but I do know that I will be grateful. I will continue to weed out the negative/toxic things and people from my life (which is so much easier said than done). And probably most importantly, learn how to fall in love with myself and life even more so I can confidently do God’s will.