As I sat at lunch today with a new friend I just met a few months ago, she said, “Are you always so calm? You just have this calmness about you. Just an aura…” She turned her head sideways and squinted a little in that I-can’t-find-the-right-words way. “Um…not always, but I get that a lot,” I replied.
People noticing that about me used to make me anxious. I would mentally set myself up with all kinds of expectations I had to meet because someone had made an observation of my “aura of calmness.” So then I became a duck in water. Gliding seamlessly on the surface, but paddling for dear life underneath. But then somewhere along the way, I figured out my aura was a gift from God. That He created me to be a light in the darkness; a handrail on rocky terrain. I stopped placing unrealistic, unnecessary expectations on myself and became present. I started listening for the Holy Spirit and asking God, “How do you want me to be present for this person? Or, maybe more importantly, what is it you want *me* to experience in this exchange?” I wish I could tell you that transition was a one-shot deal. That I just woke up one morning and decided THIS is who I’m going to be today! But really, it consisted of a lot of mornings like this:
It’s morning already? Ugh. I just went to bed. *heavy sigh* One more snooze. I know there have been three already, but just one more. Just as I doze off, the alarm clamors for the fourth time. I roll myself out of bed and pad to the bathroom. Another day. Another shower. Another rush out the door to try to make it on time…as I berate myself again for never being able to make it on time.
My mornings became gentler. Less hurried. One snooze instead of four (because I am STILL not a morning person and you can’t make me). Listening for the song stuck in my head, because God sings over me while I sleep and I wake up with a song stuck in my head every morning. How glorious is that? Thank you, Father, for another day. Another chance to see the incredible plan you have for me unfold. Another chance to see your Kingdom come and to be a light that leads others home.
When I was a child, living on the edge of my seat and anticipating the expectations of those around me was a survival skill. Say the wrong thing, look the wrong way, I might walk away with a bloody lip. But as I’ve come to the middle of my life, those survival skills no longer serve me. They are, in fact, harmful to me. To my relationships. To my sanity.
Brene Brown posted a blog yesterday about “The Midlife Unraveling”. As I read it, tearful, I thought, ‘why is she reading my mail??’ My life is currently, indeed, unraveling. The further I read, the more my guts settled, because I AM NOT ALONE. And unraveling is not the end—It’s really the beginning. A glorious, new, beginnning. Of realness, authenticity, vulnerability. It’s a new beginning of sitting across from a new friend and telling your story and feeling absolutely ZERO guilt, shame, or fear. Because this is who I am. I cannot go back and change it, and I love who I am becoming.
So, if you have a little voice inside you screaming “I CAN’T DO IT THIS WAY ANYMORE!!” go read her blog at BreneBrown.com and let’s be friends, because ME. TOO.
Please follow and like: