Give It All Up

Ten years ago my whole life changed. A wonderful friend had the courage to confront me about some junk in my life. I thought I had kept the edges tight enough, the walls high enough, and my outside clean enough. I thought no one would ever have to see the person I was hiding inside. I knew I didn’t like that version of me, so no one else would like it either.

My world was broken to the ground and I had to face the reality that I had a bunch of issues that could only be fixed with God’s help. So I gave up, stopped making excuses, quit pretending, and began to admit and own my thoughts, feelings, and actions. I quit blaming other people, stopped acting like I had it all together, and began seeing a counselor. I quickly learned that EVERYTHING HAD TO CHANGE OR NOTHING WAS GOING TO CHANGE.

And so the renovation of my life began. During those first few years, I felt so unsure of myself, so unable to embrace any measure of confidence. I had been living for others for so long that I had lost me in the process. How could I be trapped in the same body with myself for my whole life but not really know me? I began revisiting old dreams, goals, passions, hopes, and loves. I acknowledged when I was happy, sad, angry, and glad. I let myself create opinions, no matter how strong, and began sharing them when asked instead of skirting away from the issues. I actually picked the restaurant instead of saying it didn’t matter. And I started making the effort to develop friendships again, but this time, I chose to open myself up instead of keeping everyone at arm’s length.

One of the greatest lessons I learned through this process was about becoming a finisher. If you knew me in high school and college, I was always smart enough to keep up, but procrastination and disorganization were my middle names. Long term commitments were nearly impossible and all I had were unfinished projects surrounding me at every turn. As I began working on my childhood dream of becoming a published author, I will never forget the first book I finished. I wrote 50,000 words in 30 days and then took another two months and actually finished it. I cried. I could now call myself a finisher. My inner dialogue of defeat began to change to one of determination and hope. I knew I could do it, now, and there could be no more excuses. I am still chasing this dream today and one day I will get there!

So many changes. So many good changes. And as I look back over the past decade, I am humbled and blessed. I thought I knew what was best for my life. I thought I knew what God wanted me to do with myself and my talents. But when I let go and stopped fighting to hold onto what my version of the future was and gave in to God’s leading, I have landed in a place I would have never ended up if I had been left to my own devices. Teaching adults. Supervising student interns. Working at church. Having children. Pursuing my dream of writing. Encouraging others. And still having my heart focused on home. None of those would be happening now if I had not let go so many years ago.

So, where are you in this renovation process?  What do you need to admit and let go of? What secrets are you keeping that are eating you alive? Do you have dreams that you gave up on long ago? Don’t stay stuck where you are, wrapped up in excuses, and buried in defeat. Live this one life you have been given to the fullest and surrender. Lay it all down. If you need a place for a fresh start, join me at Celebrate Recovery on Tuesdays, 6-8:30pm at Fellowship Baptist Church. It’s not just a place for addictions; it’s a place for all hurts, habits and hang ups. Are you ready to give it all up?

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