I had one thing on my Christmas list. I wanted RED cowboy boots. RED. BRIGHT RED.
Me: Stop asking me that. Yes. Red. This coming year is the year to be BOLD.
I am BOLDLY kicking 2016 out of the way and BOLDLY walking into 2017.
I do not have high expectations of 2017. We enter it with a series of tests for John and decisions to be made. I am taking what I have learned in the past two years and applying it to every part of my life.
I live in the “I DO NOT KNOW.”
Is John better? I do not know. Will he need surgery? I do not know. Has Grace decided on a college? I do not know. What are your plans for the weekend? I do not know. You are not working, are you going back? I do not know.
All of this used to scare me. It used to render me speechless and riddle me with anxiety. But now…”I do not know” has turned into a very good thing. “I do not know” forces you to ask really hard questions about your life, the people in it, and yourself. There is really so much that we do not know but we like to pretend that we do. I do not have to do that anymore. That is really very freeing. Now I am asking questions:
- Do I really want to do that?
- Is that really true?
- Is that really necessary?
- Does that really matter?
- What do I want to do about that?
- Do I really care?
I now answer to 2 things. I answer to God and my family. My friends know this and respect that. My circle of friends is small and they have watched this slow growth of realization. Some people think I am rude. That is okay. I say no without an explanation and I refer to the questions above.
I am BOLDLY living in the “I do not know.”
I am silencing the critics that do not matter.
I have critics. These critics are in my family and some used to be friends. I also have critics in my mind that have been implanted since childhood. The critics of “guilt” and “shame” that motivated me to please others, live my life to please them, and at the same time I learned to place my value on whether they approved or not. I have been working on silencing the critics that do not matter.
Some critics do matter. These people are the people that truly care about you and can speak truth and love to you. They are my husband, close friends, and mentors. They have a way of doing this because I know that they unconditionally love me and care for me. They have been in the trenches with me. They showed up. They didn’t ask me to be something I am not and patiently waited as I slowly grew. They have cheered me on and hugged me hard. They want the best for me and have shown it over and over again.
The other critics do not matter. The people that think they know me but do not. The people that want me to be something that I am not and never will be. The people that sit behind a computer and read into things that are not there. Some of these people have told me that they loved me and taught me to love based on conditions. Those people left me miserable and hating myself. I do not do this anymore. I do not participate. I do not engage. I do not put them down or talk about them. I just move on.
I have BOLDLY removed the critics.
I laugh a lot….at all the things…because life is so very short.
I am stuck in middle school and that kind of humor cracks me up. Having that kind of humor and not being uptight about it has helped my relationship with my kids. They will tag me on Instagram with things that they find hilarious and think I will too. I like to play jokes on people, especially my kids. I like to belly laugh to the point of not being able to breathe. I also laugh at things I shouldn’t. I have used humor to get me through the worst moments of my life. John and I have used humor to help pull us out of situations that are heart wrenching. I joke about myself and I can take a joke and not get offended. Laughing every day helps me feel more human.
I am going to laugh more….BOLDLY.
I am going to love big and give more grace.
You cannot go through the past two years without something having changed deep inside of you. At the end of the day I have to ask myself, “Does my husband know how much I love him? Did I show him today?” because there is a reality that he might not wake up. “Do my kids know that I love them and did I show them today?” That doesn’t mean I gave them everything they wanted. I just need to make sure I am following everything up with an appropriate “I love you” or “I am sorry.” (just in case I lost my s%*t on them that day).
So many people talk about living every day like it is their last but there are not many people that really do. Our family does NOT take every day for granted. And when you REALLY have to live that way you can get REALLY impatient with the people that do not. We do not know. We really do not. I need to give grace to the people that have not had to figure that out yet. I need to be more patient with them.
I am going to BOLDLY love and give grace.
I am getting my red cowboy boots on and boldly stepping into 2017. Head up. Chin up. Smiling I have grown. It is time to apply these lessons boldly and brilliantly….ready or not…here I come.