The Right Places

I had a conversation with a friend earlier this year where I said to her, "I don't know what it is. I just feel like I'm meeting myself all over again."

She replied, "Maybe you're starting to see yourself the way that God sees you."

She was right. I'd walk past a mirror and glance back at myself, fully appreciating my curly hair and the freckles on my arms in fullness in a way that felt new; felt different than ever before. 

I'd put on mascara and see a sparkle in my eyes that was unmatched to anything I'd seen in myself for years. And I was ok. I was fully ok. 

All that mattered to me was the here and now and to be honest, it felt as though it was all I had. My friends and family were over 7,000 miles away, a global pandemic was on the incline, flights had been stopped in the UAE, and I was just - there. So much was out of my control that I unconsciously resolved to stay put without even realizing it. 

Somewhere along the last month and a half, I misplaced that feeling. I walk past the mirror unsatisfied with my curls and stare blankly with circles under my eyes from being tired all the time (working 11pm-8am Saturday-Thursday takes a toll on a human that coffee cannot satisfy). 

Everything has been wild. Insecurities, hopelessness, disappointment, and fear seem to meet me at every intersection. But an even greater security, hope, resilience, and joy greet me at every turn. 

There are things I've been asking of God, but I've been slow to move with His resolutions for me.

I've been asking for rest. I'm slowly turning into a zombie without my regular daily rest, and an angry, ferocious one at that. Things are bothering me that have never bothered me before, and mostly bother me when I haven't gotten enough sleep. 

I've been asking for comfort and peace. I've been asking for stability in my emotions, to look on the bright side of things. I've been complaining a lot about the things I don't have that I wish I did. 

He's listening, I know He is. He hears me. He asks in return. He asks me to start running again. He asks me to create space for His peace, space for His comfort. He asks me to be still, take time, and respond later. He asks me to trust Him. I come up with every excuse in the book and I tell him I'll try again tomorrow. Somehow, His grace finds me there. He and I both are ok with that.

I've been looking in the wrong places. I haven't prioritized myself the way I need to in this season. I'm realizing now how hard it is for me to really meet my own needs, to the point where even the bare minimum feels impossible. I've probably been in this season for a long time, longer than I can even recall, caught in the in-between of responding the way I felt I should and responding the way one does after repressing emotions for a decade (this is bad, I do not recommend this mode of life). I'm realizing now I've never really grieved the losses in my life. I've never really found resolution for the mistakes I've made. I haven't spoken up for the things I need until it's been simmering under the surface for far too long. I've just carried them with me, occasionally setting the baggage down when I'm distracted, then picking it back up again.

That is shifting now. I've come to know that God designed this chapter of my life to remind me that I have to take care of myself. And that I can't take care of others well until I meet my own needs. It's going to take some trial and error, which isn't something I love, but it is something I'm ok with. I've come to accept there's only so much I can give right now, and if I attend to that part of me that needs a little more time to figure these things out, I'll ultimately come out on the other side of it a little quicker, a little wiser, and more of myself than I've ever been.

I'll start to look in the right places. I'll look after the things I love and bring light into the shadows that follow me around. I'll look after the hope and peace God plants in me, the trust and life I know that I find in Him. And I won't be afraid to say, "this hurts," and I won't be afraid to address it instead of sweeping it under the rug. 

I'll meet myself all over again. He'll walk me through the waiting. 

I will know that it is well.

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