We often learn our limits the hard way. Were there any limits you realized this past year? (Author: Carolyn Rubenstein)
I have always felt this strong urge to rise above what is expected of me, even to the point of where I surprise and even shock people. In every stage of life I’ve had a main goal, from overcoming the obstacles associated with Cerebral Palsy, or just being happy.
I remember her words very clearly:
“I’ve been watching you go through the same struggles since our freshman year, and you’re breaking my heart. You have to stop beating yourself up, because all you’re doing is hurting yourself. Let yourself be open to loving other people, and let other people love you.”
In that moment, all I could do was cry. That was powerful, and it was the difficult, face-slapping truth that I needed to hear.
Let yourself be loved
Following that night, I realized why “change” wasn’t happening; I wasn’t allowing others to be apart of the journey and the process, aside those in my counseling group. Even then it was tough though, because I still coming off as angry and defensive. In order for any kind of healing to take place, you need to be completely open about your experiences and not rely on the reactions of others.
The other big part of it was trying too hard to mold myself into someone that I wasn’t, rather than allowing God to work in me and mold me over the course of time. When we use our own strength to twist ourselves into the supposed ideal mindset or person, it will eventually backfire.
It’s so easy to assume that our beliefs should enable us to think, act, and ultimately live in the same way. However, we’re each given different gifts, with different personalities, to impact people in different ways.
Still, it can be a difficult path to navigate. While I am much more at peace, I can’t promise that I won’t have set-backs or struggles in the future, especially as I move into new and different stages in my life. By my own nature, I am a determined, hard-headed, and sometimes stubborn woman. I’m a little competitive and will always in one way or another, have this desire to show other people what I’m capable of.
And when I fail, which does and will happen from time to time, I will always ask myself what I could have done differently, or what I could have done better. What I need to remember is that it doesn’t have to take over my life.
Rejection, for what ever reason, absolutely sucks. But while you may not be “good enough” for your church, school, a relationship, perhaps even family, it doesn’t mean that you aren’t good. That I believe is why we have Grace; to be able to forgive and accept ourselves despite our past mistakes, even when the people around us won’t. It enables us to fully embrace the love and freedom that God offers us, because it is the only thing we’re really guranteed to have.
And when you do, maybe you’ll come to find out that a lot of what you assumed in the beginning was actually not true at all, as I did. Maybe you’ll find out it’s not that people don’t like you, but they don’t know you, because you were so ashamed and hid your true self out of that fear.
Whatever it is, make a point to get off of that pedestal and give yourself a cup of Grace; not just today, but every day. Drink it in slowly, and remember that every day is completely new. You’re wonderfully made and loved, even in the times where you don’t believe it or feel it.
All of what I have just written may sound a little off-kilter, given that I am still trying to process what it means and genuinely live it out. All I know is that the standards that I have set for myself are too high, and it’s beyond exhausting trying to live up to them.
As I said, we’re not created to carry heavy burdens by ourselves. I would not be where I am right now if not for the friends that weren’t afraid to look me in the eye and tell the truth, which they still continue to do.
I am blessed and I am grateful. But mostly, I feel like I am finally free.