Sitting down to write today is a bit of a struggle.
As I continue to reflect on what really matters in this season and how God is using the current circumstances of my life to build my character, I realize that I’ve been feeling pretty vulnerable and unworthy.
I’m doing my best to be honest with myself and transparent to God, while holding myself accountable to the values and priorities I set out for myself in my Manifesto, but unfortunately, it’s not as easy as I thought.
As I was contemplating everything this morning, in preparation for what to write about today, I noticed that this emotional low was preceded by about a week of craving things I don’t normally pay much attention to such as bagels, chocolate, and Netflix. At first, I tried to fight it, because I know it can be a slippery slope but eventually, I gave in (using Mother’s Day and my son’s birthday as an excuse) and, of course, I started feeling like a failure and a hypocrite with little motivation to bounce back. I told myself it was okay to treat myself but I suppose what I was really doing was comforting through “numbing”. This seems obvious now but I’ve never really associated my cravings with the early warning signs of emotional distress.
In last week’s post, I warned “be careful how you fill the space” but, I’ll let you in on a little secret about that… for some strange reason, I didn’t feel 100% at peace about posting it.
I was feeling pretty uneasy about it but I couldn’t put my finger on it at the time. I reminded myself that I had felt God’s presence with me the whole time I was writing it so I pushed past my doubt, knowing that if there was anything in that post that I needed to reconcile, God would reveal it to me.
And… uh-oh… here it comes.
I have made some very bold declarations recently (ie My Personal Manifesto) and while they are 100% authentic and were made with the utmost conviction, I’m just beginning to understand what my declarations will actually require of me.
I mean, it’s one thing to imagine what it would be like to live our lives by a higher standard but the reality of that is something else, entirely. Living according to our values requires a degree of courage, sacrifice, and endurance that only a few people I know possess, and quite frankly, I’m worried that I don’t have what it takes.
I’m just going to sit with that for a moment because I honestly didn’t know this post was going in this direction…
…Oh wow. I did NOT expect this.
As I sit here, literally weeping about the magnitude of the mountain I’m preparing to climb, God is showing me another perspective.
It is humbling, to say the least.
What He is showing me now, are all the people in the world and, in particular, those I know personally, who are struggling with just getting through today.
These are good people who suddenly, and through no fault of their own, no longer have the luxury of contemplating how to protect their mental and emotional “space” or wondering what they can do to inspire others from the comfort of their living rooms.
These are people who have been blindsided and overwhelmed with a new reality that they now have to face each day.
These are people who are being forced to see and do things that they never imagined were even possible. Things that they had no preparation or training for. Things they cannot simply or easily opt out of.
These are people who constantly worry about the health and safety of people they care deeply for.
These are people who feel helpless about the circumstances they or their loved ones are living with.
These are people who are faced with impossible choices in which their mental, physical, and financial wellbeing hang in the balance.
For these people, their biggest concern is not whether, at the end of each day, they watched too much TV or ate too many carbs. Their biggest concern is how they will make it through tomorrow.
When I think of these people, I am truly humbled.
My heart is heavy for what these people are being asked to endure.
Part of me even feels ashamed that they have to go through this while I don’t.
In fact, when I imagine myself in their shoes, I’m quite sure I would not be able to cope, if not for God.
I don’t have the answers.
In fact, I don’t even have very good advice.
But I do know this:
This is a time when we have to remain hopeful.
It’s a time when we have to make a regular practice of putting ourselves in others’ shoes.
Most of all, its a time to stay connected and gain strength from one another.
I’m so grateful for this process today.
It’s always amazing to me how God can sit me down and put me through a process that shows me how to make sense of the jumble of seemingly unconnected thoughts and feelings I have swimming around in my heart and mind.
I’m grateful for the reminder that, no matter what we are facing, be it an existential crisis or a brutal reality, we can always turn to Him for wisdom, comfort, and courage.
By now you might be wondering why this post is called “Who Are My Heroes?”
The truth is, that was my plan… to muse about who my true heroes are as a means to discover more about the kind of person I want to be. I got the idea from Derek Sivers based on comments he’s made in many of the interviews I’ve heard. I also found this article of his that explains wit pretty well: “Your Heroes Show Which Way You’re Facing”.
So, I wanted to ask myself the same question he asked himself:
“Who are my heroes?” Who are the people I look up to the most… The people I’d most like to meet… The people I’d most like to emulate?
When he looked at his list, he realized what they had in common was that they were all authors. I wonder what mine would have in common?
Before today, I found it hard to come up with a list because I discovered that there are not very many people I truly admire. I know that sounds odd but I realized that it was because I was thinking of well known people and I really don’t care much about the achievements of famous people anymore. I’ve been disillusioned by the deceptions and hidden agendas of many people I once looked up to so it’s hard for me to admire them or want to emulate them, regardless of their accomplishments. So, until now, the only person, living or dead, that I would have put on that list was Jesus Christ.
This morning, however, I began to think of it in a different way. I thought of people in my life whose character I admired and it became obvious who the first few people on the list (after Jesus) should be.
The list is not complete but what I have noticed so far is that they are all incredibly strong leaders, role models and people of faith. But even if they did not share that in common, I would still admire them and want to emulate their ability to live by their strong values, personal maturity, wisdom, discernment, self-sacrifice, flexibility, genuine love for others, humility, authenticity, transparency, adventurous spirit, sense of humour, ability to endure, joyful nature, stoicism, courage, intelligence, vitality, vast personal experience… I could go on.
Well, it’s obviously no accident that I chose the title of this post before I started writing today because the people I was referring to earlier are definitely among the heroes on my list. They may not have chosen the circumstances that they have found themselves in and they may be struggling every day but, even on their worst day, they are showing up, doing their best and doing it for the right reasons.
That’s more than most of us can say, even on our best days.
I wish you all a blessed week everyone,
Until next time…