Sunday, January 17, 2016

Authenticity:2016

 We went to the snow recently. We'd been planning a similar trip for weeks but plans changed and we ended up in Strawberry, Arizona with some of our favorite people.
Once I got over the asthma problems and tired knees, it all felt so magical.

My children were happily playing on the hill and squealing with delight every few seconds. There were tears and fights every once in a while but there were much longer periods of happiness and giggles.

I sat down near a tree for a while and closed my eyes. The wind was singing and I had so many thoughts running through my mind.
Homework. Cleaning my house. Losing weight. Eating healthier. Organizing. Figuring my entire life out. 
I felt like there was so much I could be doing but I also knew that if I would've been home, I probably wouldn't have been doing any of those things.

On the drive home, there were no other adults in my car and I had some time to myself. I was questioning many different things and felt like my brain was on overload.
Why does that always seem to happen when I get some time to myself? Instead of relaxing, I am constantly trying to nitpick every aspect of my life to figure out where my successes and failures are.
It's exhausting.

I was thinking about church and my first post on this blog. That was incredibly intimidating to write and post. It was hard for me. In fact, I almost took it down a few times.

But then I remembered---confidence. 

And since then, I've been thinking a lot about confidence and authenticity and how the two can go hand-in-hand so easily. Because if you're authentic to yourself, you probably have confidence in yourself.

A few weeks ago, I was having a semi-difficult conversation with one of my closest friends. I had been feeling the push to be authentic because I don't want to pretend that I am someone different than the person I present myself as. We were walking and talking and my confidence was dwindling because I didn't have all of the answers.

My gosh, I don't know if I'll ever have the answers.

But lately, I've felt this push to talk about all of the things I don't have answers to and although it hasn't always been comfortable for me, I think it's been good for me.
And the best part about friends who challenge you like that is that you find yourself becoming a little bit stronger and possibly even a little bit wiser too.

I've felt this awkward-in-between stage of "Who is Suzanne" creep up on me. The stage where I'm scared to make the leap in a direction that will hurt some of my people. I really hate hurting people. But a conversation I had with another friend last August has stuck with me. We were talking about my testimony and what I believe and how I'm scared of hurting the people who love me and she said, "The thing is, Suzanne, you don't get to choose who you hurt or don't hurt. That is our choice. You have to let us feel that." And realizing that was extremely hard for me but also eye-opening.

I have hurt many people in my life and although it isn't always the case, most of them were hurt by things I cannot change or things I didn't deliberately do to them.

I'm starting to realize that that is life. We get hurt. We hurt people. It happens to everyone.

But a person's true colors shine when they are hurt by someone they love. They can choose to stick by their loved one's side or walk away.
Both of these situations have happened to me.
And although neither of these situations have been easy, I've had the opportunity to learn from each situation and realize the kind of person that I want to be.

I'm a little bit obsessed with the attributes of Christ right now---certainly not a bad thing to be thinking about a lot of the time---and I've been trying to remember Him when I react to the situations presented in my life.
Most of the time, I completely fail. Like today, when I yelled at Hayley to "Stop it!" and she melted into tears, thinking I had called her stupid (momfail).
But sometimes, I get it right. Sometimes I remember that self-control and sincerity can go much further than my impatience and sarcasm ever will. Sometimes I remember that my children are watching my every move and emulating my choices so when they yell at me, it's probably because I have raised my voice at them.

It's not easy. Becoming this person that I want to be, trying to stop and think, "What would Jesus do?"---these are not my "go-to" reactions.

But figuring this out and trying my hardest to become more like Jesus is the right thing to do.
It is what I want to do. 

And I believe that is when I become the most authentic---when I'm living for Christ and loving others with no expectations.

Christ is for me and He is for you. I think I love that concept the most. I love knowing that no matter what, He is our Savior. He died for all of us. He lives for all of us. He is for all of us.

And it is never too late to remember that.