thinking out loud

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Sometimes you just get punched in the gut.

It can be a good punch – one that knocks your brain back into place. One of those moments that takes your breath away, but somehow allows you to breathe more freely. It can be a horrible punch – one that knocks the air out of you. Leaving you gasping for air that you seems to be all around you, but you can’t find.

Sometimes, you can’t tell which it is. You’re in those breathless moments, not sure if you’ll be able to breathe more deeply, or not breathe at all.

I’ve spent the last two-and-a-half weeks in the US & Canada [insert joke about Canadians here]. I must say, it’s a bit of a mental transition after living in Uganda for the last 9 months. Now, don’t get me wrong – in some ways, I just sunk back into the American culture. [Take pumpkin spice lattes for example. That is all.] It was easy to fit right back into the “routine” of home, friendships, and a fast paced society. At the same time, so many things everything was different. Some of the people that know me best in this season are across the world. I left all our sweet outreach kiddos, and boy do I miss those smiles every morning. Oh, and I miss the coffee.

Life isn’t better here or better thereit’s just different.

Life keeps going, no matter where you are. Sometimes my mind convinces me that time just stops while I’m gone, that everything will pick back up just as I left it upon my return. I’m delusional. Life moves on. People grow and change. I’ve grown and changed. It’s about embracing that, not changing it – or even better, pretending it’s just like it used to be. Pretending just ends in a breath stealing punch in the gut, leaving you gasping and searching for air.

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However, I think I’ve learned I’m learning my lesson. Embrace change. Yeah, it still sounds half ridiculous leaving my fingertips. But the second I let myself be okay with the change, I started to catch my breath. As much as I may try, I cannot be responsible for other people’s decisions, for their actions, for their expectations. I can, however, take responsibility for my own expectations. For the expectations I put on others, for the expectations I limit myself by. I’m realizing more and more how much I make decisions within other’s expectations. I like to know where my safe zone is, where people expect me to be, and I move perfectly within those boundaries. I set expectations for myself based on others expectations of me. And it’s comfortable that way.

I’m not a fan of comfortable. I get antsy when I get comfortable. Yet, I’ve been completely comfortable living this way – with no plans to change it. Or better yet, with no realization that this is what I was doing. It was so comfortable that I didn’t even notice. It turned into a habit, a default, a norm. I like to defy the norm – yet that’s exactly where I’ve been positioning myself.

So today that changes. I’ve had enough. I’ve realized this pattern that I keep slipping into, and I want to alter that norm. I want to make decisions based on me, on where God is directing my footsteps, on where I need be in this season and the next.

So sometimes a punch in the gut can be good – it can be just what you need. It can knock the air out of you, leaving you scrambling for your next breath, unsure if you will ever find it. But the moment you snap into reality, realizing what is actually happening, you are able to take a full, deep breath. You breath more deeply than you have before, sinking into the realization that it was you who needed to change all along.

Don’t fight for that breath, just breathe.

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2 thoughts on “thinking out loud

  1. So many thoughts I have had lately but you seem to be able to put them to paper in the best possible way. Every time I sit with your words, I feel I have sat with you. You have such a gift. Thank you for this wonderful, painful reminder.

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