It’s okay to pause and reflect. To be in pain and feel emotion. You’re allowed to stop and rest. You’re allowed to say, “No.” To another task. To fleeing. You’re allowed to just be.
Driving down the highway toward Kansas City, I felt emotions coming. They were good, warm, fuzzy, feelings of love mixed with a little mild anxiety. But mainly, good. As emotional as I am, I like to drown out those emotions as quickly as possible. Turn up the music, focus on work, find a reason to worry about something else. Instead – I turned the Bluetooth to Steffany Gretzinger’s “The Undoing” and came undone.
The emotions hit me. I’m loved. It’s okay. I don’t have to be on edge all the time. There’s no reason for bitterness to creep in because others are simply interested in my life. They just want to be there. What an honor – that I have those people that want to be there with me. There will come a day when I’m in the hospital and people will show up. What a blessing!
Society has taught us to stiff-arm love. I’m not sure what it is or why we do it. But love comes and gets into our personal space and asks us deep questions and we get uncomfortable. We shift. We avoid. We rebel.
And to what end?
To the end of isolation.
We find ourselves sitting alone with a phone empty of notifications. Hey – they tried and we shut them down enough times that they stopped trying. (Unless you’re my friend. I’m fairly relentless. I’ll eventually come knocking. ;P)
We are better together.
It’s okay to not have life figured out yet. Allie has looked into my eyes and reminded me of this gentle truth a hundred times in the 10 months we’ve been dating. “Justin, you’re 26, you’re working hard, you’re trying…that’s all anyone can ask of you. Stop being so hard on yourself. I love you.” Praise Jesus for that love. Praise Jesus. (And there come those joyful tears I spoke of earlier…)
A friend of mine is trying to start a marketing/branding company and I’ve been assisting with that minimally (as I’m still learning the ins and outs of my new job). One of the first projects we’d like to do is rebrand my writing and blog to reach a wider audience and figure out what makes my “voice” unique. What’s my niche? How have I acquired so many followers over the course of the last few years?
I think it comes down to transparency. A humbleness of heart that is willing to say, “Hey guys, this is me. I love coffee and I love beer. Christianity is the foundation of who I am, what I believe, and the way I attempt to live, but we’re all kidding ourselves if we say we’ve never wrestled with doubt, setbacks, or sins we’re overcoming. The war wages on – light against darkness – joy against fear – love against hate.”
So I pledge to make my “brand” – who I am, what I do, and how I write as real, tangible, applicable, and inspiring as possible. And you know what – sometimes it’s going to plain suck and other times you may see seed-plants of an aspiring New York Times Bestselling Author (that’s the dream). Sometimes it’ll be about Jesus and other times it’ll be about the world, politics, entertainment, my personal life. It’ll be awesome regardless.
So today’s blog is a reminder that it’s okay. You’re loved where you’re at. We just don’t want to see you stay there forever, because growth and change are good things. Hard things, but good things. They promote Kingdom Living. They give your family hope and courage. But it’s okay. Pause today. Reflect today. Love yourself today. There’s no need to keep loathing yourself until tomorrow.
Right There With You,