Sunday, January 3, 2016

2016: Confidence

 A few days ago, I saw this quote on Pinterest and it seemed to jump off of the screen at me.

And I knew that this was what I wanted to focus on in 2016.

You see, in the past, I've come up with a word/mantra that I adopt for the entire year. The past few years, this has really helped me to stick to my goal.

Faith.
Bravery.
Healing. {Anchoring to the good}

It's funny because my 2015 word was healing and within a few weeks, I felt like I was drowning trying to figure out recovery from so much trauma. I happened to be pouring my heart out to a friend when she told me I needed to anchor to the good and her words were so powerful. I knew that was God telling me to switch my mantra for the year.

Because healing is wrapped up in all of this. It really is. Healing is a part of the bravery and faith and positive thoughts.

And looking back on my year and all of the deeply personal struggles I faced, anchoring to the good was exactly what I needed.
Exactly.
More than exactly.
If only I could explain just how perfectly this fit with the year we've had.


Anchoring to the good.
There were many times in 2015 that I had to remind myself to anchor to the good but one particular situation changed me and taught me more than I ever could've imagined.

Because there was a time in 2015 that I thought life would be better if I died. I pleaded with God to let me give up.

And it wasn't magically fixed. My mantra couldn't make everything better. But it did help. I remember nights where I would stare at my chalkboard where I had written those words and I would repeat them over and over again.
And sometimes, all of the good I could remember was my children. Sometimes I even left God out of it because I wasn't sure I trusted Him.

Sometimes in 2015, the good seemed minuscule.

But it never vanished. There was always something good.
Always.
And that is what got me through to today, where I am a completely different person than I was when I started this year.


Because 2015 forced me to leave my comfort zone many times and I realized that I was craving a deeper relationship with my Heavenly Father.

About halfway through the year, I started attending other churches to figure out where I feel I am supposed to be. For part of 2014 and the first part of 2015, I had tried to force myself to stay in my then-current church, the LDS church. I felt like I was holding on, mostly because my friends/family are incredible and I didn't want to disappoint anyone or worry them.

But there was a point where it became too much, where I needed to start living for myself and not for others.
And unless you've been there, you probably don't realize just how scary those feelings are.
Unless you've been there, you probably don't consider how hard it is to tell your loved ones you're walking away from something they believe so strongly in and want you to be a part of---because they want the best life for you. 

And that's ok if you don't understand. Let me try and explain a little bit of my journey if that'll help.

The easy thing for me would've been staying an active member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. The majority of my friends are in my ward. Most of my family members are active.
And I struggled with this for a while. In fact, I tried to find a testimony for a while. I listened to the Book of Mormon at work and poured over Ensign talks. When something would rub me the wrong way, I'd call up my bestie and her, her husband, and I would get together that night (or as soon as we could meet) and talk it through.

I wanted to stay.

Because everyone wanted me to stay. 

And there came a point where that wasn't good enough anymore. There came a time last year when the culture I'd been raised in wasn't bringing me closer to Christ.
If your a member of the LDS faith and you love me, you probably think that happened because I wasn't opening my heart to the Spirit and if you do, I'm ok with that.
Because what I've been trying to work on is having my opinion, letting others have their opinions', and allowing there to be dissonance between the two.
If you know me, you know how much I hate dissonance. I want everyone to be happy and feel loved and when there is conflict, I freeze. I get anxious. I don't like knowing that not everyone is ok with an outcome. 
But I cannot change the way you feel---nor can you change the way I feel. And I'm trying to work on letting there be a difference in opinion without needing to fix that.

During this time of faith struggle, I went to a non-denominational Christian church with a friend. I had been praying for answers and trying to figure out what the right path was. She invited me and I thought it sounded like fun. It was on a Saturday and it didn't interfere with our Sunday meetings so...why not?!
We walked in while the music was playing and then Pastor Joel came on the stage and as he spoke about everyone needing Jesus in their lives and how important that is, tears were streaming down my face. {And I'm not a crier...or at least I didn't used to be.}
And I wish I could remember everything he spoke about in that meeting because it was so spiritually powerful for me. I did post a thought on Facebook that night that said, "The series today was called In This House and focused on carrying people and loving them through their brokenness. The pastor spoke about the difference between catching someone in their act of sin and catching someone when they've fallen. And I loved this thought that there are different ways to catch. 
We can either catch someone when they've made a mistake and shame them for it OR we can notice they are falling down and be there to catch them and love them.
It was incredibly powerful. I loved it so very much.
The truth is that none of us are perfect. We have all fallen. We all have failures and things we aren't proud of. Because we are all human. We are all broken. And we ALL need Jesus."

After that night, the ONLY thing I knew was that I needed to go back there again.
I craved more.
I wanted to feel the hope and happiness that I felt for that hour.

I knew it was the right place for me. Right then and there, I knew there was something I needed from Mission church.
But then I remembered that this new-found answer to prayer wasn't going to be easy on the people that I love.
And I got scared.
It was the first time I really knew that I wanted to leave the church and I wasn't sure I was brave enough to tell people.

But then I thought back to my struggles and how one of my promises to myself was not pretending to be someone I'm not---and I knew I was going to have to tell them.


And I did.

I told my people. It took weeks because I knew it needed to be in person with most of them but I tried.
And although there was sadness and confusion, no one was angry. No one told me to leave and never come back. No one stopped loving me. None of my worst fears happened.
And I guess that was just me overreacting---believing the worst even though I know my people and I know they'll still love me.

So now I'm here. It's been 6 months since then and during the past 6 months, I was never fully sure how to write about it or what to say. I wasn't sure I could get the point across of how much I've changed and grown.

And I knew I needed to pinpoint that this wasn't an easy decision and that it certainly wasn't some childish rebellion---cause trust me, I've already been there and done that and I'd rather not go back to the childhood rebellion stage, amiright?

So 2016. What a big year. I am excited for this year and all that it seems to be offering my beautiful family.
Hayley will turn 8.
Andersen will turn 7.
I will turn 29. (Although I may or may not be panicky about my last year in my 20's being SO CLOSE.)
We will all gain more knowledge through our school studies. We will try so hard to become closer as a family.
And above all else, we will make sure we are coming closer to Christ. 

So for 2016, I decided my word needed to be confidence.

Because there are so many aspects of my life that could use a dose or two {or five thousand} of confidence.

I am going to gain the confidence to unapologetically be who I am and the confidence to know that the choices I'm making are going to benefit my family and help us all learn more about the only perfect being to ever walk on this earth.

2015 was beautifully messy. There was darkness and light. But I am grateful for everything I have learned and the confidence I have already gained.
I am grateful for all of the times fear almost took over---because it didn't ever fully take over. Bravery was always there, fighting against the fear. And that bravery came because I am a warrior but it also came because God is bravery. 
There were many times this year where I couldn't begin to understand the heartache and confusion and I knew I'd never be able to get through it on my own---so instead of letting myself drown in it, I'd hand it over to God and he'd fight my battles for me.

He is the reason I am where I am and He is the reason I am fighting to become the person I was intended to be.