I usually work into most posts that I’m a work in progress but think I need to start this one in that way.
I don’t always do this perfectly but I have certainly come a long way! The more I practice what I’m about to “preach,” the better I feel.
Let me say that I love the forties. Not the 1940’s era. The being in the 40’s age group.
Don’t get me wrong. There are a few things that I would like from my 20’s. I wish my middle section was toned and would like to tighten up that five baby stretched out skin on my tummy. Who am I kidding? I would like to buy the entire line of Rodan and Fields to take ten years off of my crows feet and jowls. A few less varicose and spider veins on the calves would be nice.
Ahh….I digress. I was about to tell you why I love being the age that I am.
Even with the marks and stretches and lines in the wrongs places, I love this season of life. With it comes a freedom.
There are some bags that I carried for so long and I have learned/ am learning to put them down. With each one, my load is lighter and I have been given so much freedom! I want to shout it at the 20 somethings so that they don’t carry it around for 20 more years unnecessarily.
Here are a few of the things that I have taken out of my bag and I feel so much lighter for it:
- The ability to let other people’s opinion drive me. WOW! That’s a big one to unpack. My phases went like this: I spent a lot of time worrying about what other people thought of me, came to the realization that people don’t even think about me as much as I thought they did, and then decided not to care. If I start to feel that burden hopping back into my bag, I remind myself of who I am in Christ. A little side note is that I have a handful of great friends who I trust to give honest, Christlike feedback and I listen closely to their counsel.
- The need for perfection. This has permeated most areas of my life ( work in progress.) I haven’t and won’t be a perfect friend, parent, spouse, daughter, aunt. teacher, housekeeper, decorator. Any of it. I can’t even say that I’ve done my best for all of my life. But I do try to improve daily. A few years ago I began saying it would be “just right.” One of my friends had burned something that she was cooking and I said “Oh it will be just right.” From then on, that became our phrase for it’ll be ok if it’s not perfect. It has been used over and over and over. Guess what? It’s always worked out ok. Because that small stuff really isn’t worth sweating over after all. The next time you are stressing because it’s not working out just perfectly, try telling yourself it’s “just right.”
- The guilt of my past. Man, that’s a big one. I shoula’, coulda’, woulda’ but I did or didn’t. This freedom has come from Christ and Christ alone. I can look back at regrets from thirty years ago or even yesterday. If I’m living intentionally (and I hope I am) then I am going to have to trust that God will work all things out for my good. Satan is a deceiver and a liar. When he brings up sins and failures that I’ve been forgiven for, I’m sending him right back where he came from. I’m taking hold of those thoughts and living in the freedom that I now have.
- Fear and worry. I’ve come so far. I come from a long line of worriers and that is a hard, hard cycle to break. But I’m finally making progress. Worrying about the present, the future (and #3 the past) takes SO much energy away from just living today. Very little of what I could worry about could/can be changed. So I pray. I believe that God is for me. I move on.
I’m sure my bag is lighter because of a million other things that I put out of my life. Sometimes I have to put them out daily. Sometimes it’s hourly.
However, I am so thankful that God has helped to settle my mind and allow me to unpack some things that have weighed me down.
Sometimes the struggle isn’t putting them down. It’s leaving them there.
As always, I’m a work in progress.