Struggle

Life (Before the "Shake Up")

Draw a line with me. 

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Where would you put your line? 

 

We all have a line in our lives. A line that separates the life we lived before and after a "Shake Up" moment. 

 

A "Shake Up" moment is that moment in your history where time tends to slow down and speed up all at once. It's a moment that changes everything. A moment that we either relish in or recoil from. 

 

Most "Shake Up" moments aren't positive.  

 

I could probably name some of these defining moments in those who are closest to me.  

 

For my husband, his "Shake Up" moment was collapsing twice in a period of nine months, without warning, in 2014/2015. 

 

I can guess my parents moments quite accurately. They've had more than one each.  

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For me, there's life before anxiety/panic and life after. 

 

I won't lie to you, I still find myself trying to pull myself back to that "Shake Up" moment with a giant eraser. My attempts to remove it from my life are futile, at best. It's just there. This big red, fat reminder that I used to be "x,y,z" and now I can't even sit comfortably at a restaurant for twenty minutes without nearly jumping out of my skin.  

 

Where do you find yourself right now? If your "Shake Up" moment was positive, well, I guess you don't think much about going back. Instead, you're rapidly running thru life towards the next "Shake Up" moment. Next time, life may not be so friendly. 

 

If you're like me, you may find that you have a heightened sensitivity to what life was before the "Shake Up". Tangible reminders of life before are hard to take in. Photos, videos, trinkets, and mental treasures seem like they were from another life, another galaxy, even. 

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But do we really, deep down, want to go back?!

 

Maybe.  

 

Maybe so.  

 

And maybe not.  

 

But we do.  As long as we could take the beauty we've acquired on this side of the "Shake Up" with us.

 

I don't know. I wish I really knew what I really wanted.  

 

I want the past to be the present, with the current present to stay present. I want them blended like a smoothie. With extra mango. 

 

Its hard. It's hard to not let the "Shake Up" moments define us. Because, they certainly leave their mark on our lives.

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How do you deal with your "Shake Up" moment(s)? Do you find it hard to keep moving forward? Do you look back too often and long for what used to be? Share with me below! 

 

 

If I Can Be So Honest...

This morning, I sobbed.

 

As I watched my husband drive slowly down the driveway, I just sat in my own puddle.  

 

It didn't matter that I had my favorite latte patiently waiting for first sip. It didn't matter that it's Friday, or that I finally had a night where I didn't cough the entire time.  

 

After my uncontrolled emotions decided they'd had enough of a tantrum, I got up. 

 

Normally, I wouldn't have gotten up. I would've remained in my depression. But that, I've noticed, hasn't served me very well.  

 

So, I sent the kiddos outside to "beat the heat" and I turned on Christina Aguilera (Old Christina, to clarify). I just got busy. 

 

I've been sick this week. And I've been trying to work out for the past 2-3 weeks almost everyday. That's unheard of for me. 

 

In fact, one year ago today, I was a blob.  

 

A skinny blob, but a blob no less. I spent most of every single day in my husbands brown chair. I had no energy. I couldn't eat enough. I lost weight by breathing. 

 

I was at rock bottom. I literally longed to die. I would daydream about it. Yet, it terrified me all the same. If it wasn't for my best friend driving over 20 minutes to my house every day (for the record, I never asked her to, that's just how she is) and my other best friend loaning me her 15 year old on Wednesdays, I think my children would've had to raise themselves. It was THAT BAD. 

 

I quickly developed this mentality that I don't deserve happiness. That I was to become a martyr to Motherhood. To life. I also believed that Christ desired me to stay in the valley with no hope of gaining the strength to climb back out.  

 

I thought He wanted me to stay in the belly of the whale. And it's been super hard to break free from that lie the enemy planted in my heart.  

 

In fact, up until a couple of weeks ago, I wholeheartedly believed that I didn't deserve much of anything good. That the goodness in my life had passed. I believed that I would just have to buckle up and stay on this motherhood ride until it ends eventually.  

 

I thought "if I act happy, then people won't know how badly I'm hurting. Plus, it'll be fake and I'm not fake."  

 

Its affected everything. My relationships. My book writing. My businesses that I long to be successful at. Everything.  

 

I don't think my choice to exercise was what sparked a little change in me. I think it was the fact that I realized that if I want to change; If I want to see a different something in my life full of somethings, then I have to do it. I do. 

 

Hating oneself is a deadly poison. And, I can't quite tell you why I hated myself so very much. But I think it was because I was my own worst enemy.  

 

Maybe you're in the thick of that right now, yourself. Maybe you feel like I did, and sometimes still do, that everyone else deserves happiness except for you.  

 

Maybe you believe a thousand and one lies like I did and find myself still doing.  

 

Its a hard process, no doubt. I have a long way to go, myself. But, first of all, if you have Christ, greater is He. And if you have a will to change, that's all you need.  

 

After that, make small opposite choices to what you've been doing.  

 

Im not an expert on this subject. By far, I'm not. I just know what I've learned. And I always want to share it with you. Vulnerability is strength. Don't forget that.  

 

And strength is only one choice away.  

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Why Struggle is Necessary for Growth "(Of Sprouts and Cocoons)".

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"The tiny seed knew that in order to grow it needed to be dropped in dirt, covered in darkness, and struggle to reach the light." -Unknown  

 

Have you ever witnessed a freshly-formed butterfly emerge from its cocoon? I have. It's beautifully frustrating.  

 

To be audience to that kind of struggle, my instinct was to just reach out to help. It took forever. And I knew if I helped, the helping would equal a sure death sentence for the metamorphed creature. 

 

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It made me realize that the metamorphosis that it went thru for several weeks was the "easy part", breaking free from its prison, however, was not. But, in case you weren't aware, those are the very moments where the butterfly gathers all of the strength it needs to face its new life.  

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Another example would be the tiny sprout. So fragile, and yet entirely strong as it pushes through the blanket of soil that once covered it. 

 

Three years ago, my husband and I started our first modest garden. We had little clue as to what we were doing and made some huge novice mistakes. 

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I recall my husband staring at these seeds the size of a sentence period and realizing that you must need to put 3-4 seeds per hole for there to be any chance of a decent harvest.  

 

Little did he know that our tiny 3x5 foot garden would yield over three hundred tomatoes that summer. We couldn't pick them or consume them fast enough. We gave so many away, it was hilarious. 

 

We surely won't ever make that mistake again. One seed per hole. One. That's all it takes for a tiny speck of potential to turn into a bountiful harvest. 

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It's not without growing pains, though. The struggle, the fragility, the dependence on the roots, the soil, the water, the air, the sunlight. All of these things must be in place or the harvest will never come.  

 

Some of us are in that time of struggle right now. Desperately trying to remove ourselves from a time of change. Desperate to escape and fly onward. But the change must occur, the struggle to be free must take place or we won't have the strength to keep going. 

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Others of us are in that growth phase, completely reliant on the pouring into that may come from others. Some of us are just waiting to be fully ripe so that we can nurture and sustain others on their journey. And it will come. 

 

It will come.  

 

Its no wonder that the process of life always, always follows the struggle. Butterflies, babies, fruit: all emerge after a period of rapid growth, change, and lastly, the struggle of their lives. 

 

Wherever you find yourself in your journey, may you seek to find the beauty in the struggle, because it's there and its there to make you stronger.  ðŸ’—

 

Love, Alicia