The other night we were sitting on the porch after dinner, eating popsicles of course (yes, we have one of those 1,000 ice pop bags in the freezer that you find in the middle of the aisle at Walmart), and we decided to bring out some Play Dough that Faye had gotten for her birthday. This was the first time she had ever played with it, so of course the first thing she wanted to do was eat it, but after a little while I think she understood the nonsense of just squishing it around. Really is a funny toy when you think about it. Can we call it a toy? How about activity. Anyways…
As she was playing with it, molding it, forming it into “shapes” (I’ll give her the benefit of the doubt), I began to think about how easily we are squished and formed into different people. How easily we let things change us. How easy it is for us to be built up and then mashed back down again. How one day we can feel like we are on top of the world, and the next we are rolled back up into a small ball. A mere portion of our former selves.
Life hands out all sorts of things that we can’t for see, or even handle. There are things that are immeasurably better than we could have hoped for, and those that are immeasurably harder than we ever dreamed. There are days when we wonder how we got so lucky, and seasons when we ask ourselves, “why us”? Why do we have to be the ones to walk through this? Why do we have to be the ones struggling while everyone around us seems to be thriving?
If there is one thing I have learned in our 2.5 years of marriage, it is that there are going to be so many different seasons of life, and one can change to another in an instant. We are never going to know what is around the corner, and quite honestly I don’t think I really would want to know and have to anticipate it, but the only thing we can know is ourself. The only thing we can do to prepare for the ups and downs of life is to constantly be working on and growing ourselves so that we are healthy when these things hit. It’s just like with our physical health, if you already have a cold, and the flu hits you, you are going to be taken down easily without a fight. But if you’re healthy and strong, you will be able to fight off the virus. Our emotional health is the same way, and even that much more important. It controls the core of who we are.
I’ll be honest with you all. This has been an incredibly busy and trying season of life. There have been job changes, life events, new personal endeavors, and some traveling, to name a few things, and it has stretched me very thin. I have recently figured out that I am a outgoing introvert (Goodman is the exact opposite, a reserved extrovert). I love people, and there is not much more I love than a good conversation with someone, or intentional time with my people. However, I must have my time to myself. I crave that. There are nights I send Goodman and Faye out on a date night just to have the house to myself, or to go on a run without a stroller. I have to be alone to recharge. Especially during busy seasons like the one we have been in. When I don’t have that time, and I don’t let myself be me and take care of myself, I quickly begin to unravel.
When I am not actively seeking ways to better myself, stay emotionally healthy, and do for myself what I need to, I am not a good partner when things hit the fan. I am not helpful to my family, and I am not the person that I like to be around. I don’t handle situations, conflict, miscommunications, and disagreements as well as I normally would. I let things slip through the cracks, and then I beat myself up about it. It is a vicious cycle, and the thing is, it is one that can be avoided.
I know myself. I know what I like and don’t like. I know what I need. I know how I love people best, and how I feel the most loved. I know the things I need to do when I feel overwhelmed, and what is the best way for me to decompress. I know when I am about to hit my limit, and when I can push that much further. I know ways that I have been hurt in the past, and things that can be communicated to prevent that. I know ways that I fall short, and ways that I can improve on that. I know, me. However, I don’t always hold on to those things, and sometimes in the heat of the moment, I lose myself. I don’t want to do this anymore. I don’t want to ball up every time I lose sight of who I am. I don’t want to abandon the core ship of who I am because I feel insecure or a little beat down. I want to be confident in who I am, no matter what hits.
They say that knowledge is power. I know that I am never going to be able to know what is to come for us, but I do know that I can know myself. I can have power over myself, and how I respond to life. Power is the ability to do something or act in a specific way. I want to know how I am going to react to things. Not be explosive and unpredictable. In my opinion, that all starts with knowing myself better. Having that knowledge of myself so that I have that power over myself.
From the minute that I met him, Goodman has always been the most steady person I have ever met. I always know how he is going to respond to things. He doesn’t act on emotion, and he is constant. He knows himself, and he knows how he wants to respond in situations. That is power to me. There are many things that I would say my husband is, but powerful isn’t necessarily the first word that pops into my head, until today. Knowledge is power, my friends. Let’s all choose to have power over ourselves so that we are that much better for the inevitable that is to come.