This week was a bad week. A lot of things piled up, and I felt as if I sat in a dark room with all my troubles, problems, and frustrations crowding around me. It was one of those times when everything happens at once, and while I could see everything I needed to take care of and the solutions to fix my problems, I couldn’t move. I was frozen in place, afraid and overwhelmed. It was all too daunting to even consider dealing with. Life had hit a bit too hard, and all I wanted to do was lie on the floor and stare at the ceiling.
So I did. I turned off all the lights, grabbed a couple pillows, and flattened myself on the floor. I spread my arms wide and hummed a song to myself. There were no coherent thoughts or brilliant plans to deal with my stress. I just laid there on the floor and let is wash over me.
The next day, I cried. Not much, but the tears still fell. They wet my pillow and left traces of mascara on my cheeks. I tried to let my problems leak out with the tears, but they still lurked around me. I could feel them pressing in. The tears fell faster then, and I heard myself asking “why?” over and over. Because how it could be fair for me to feel so much when I could do so little?
The day after that, I locked myself away in the bathroom and took a hot bath. I let the steam curl my hair and blur my vision. I sank into the water and let it refresh and revive me. It replenished my wilting spirit and filled the spaces between the fears and frustrations. Relaxing in the tub with a Diet Coke on the counter, I closed my eyes and pushed everything out. All the stress and worrying and anger and despair, I shoved it away. Because I didn’t want to feel the emptiness and hurt in my heart, not tonight. I wanted to rest. Everything else could be dealt with tomorrow.
And today, I chose to smile. I chose to laugh. I chose to be happy. Because I deserved better than the alternative. I deserve to enjoy life despite the problems. I’ve lived enough and had my share of hellish moments to know that life won’t always go my way. It’s easy to let the bad sneak in and take residence.
We can’t always see it happening. But one morning you wake up and there is a weight on your chest and a heaviness in your heart. You sit up and feel defeated before the day has really begun, and there is nothing empowering about that. Nothing hurts more than feeling helpless in the face of life’s challenges.
Some days, it’s okay to feel a bit wrecked. Life is more messy than perfect. It takes us all over the place, sometimes into situations we’d never have chosen for ourselves. Sometimes life hurts us. We sit in the dark feeling battered and bruised and anything but strong. We feel weak.
I give you permission to feel hurt. I give you permission to be sad. I give you permission to cry. I give you permission to be angry, frustrated, and confused. I give you permission to be overwhelmed. There are times when you need to stop fighting and take a break. Sometimes, your heart needs to rest and your soul needs to be alone. Every so often, you need to retreat.
But I also give you permission to smile. To laugh. To revel in the good moments, even if they are fleeting. I give you permission to tackle anything life throws at you. I give you permission to be strong. I give you permission to have faith in yourself. I give you permission to be confident. To be happy.
And I give you permission to take a breath. To heal. To begin again tomorrow. To simply be.
Because the truth is most of the problems or struggles in our lives can’t be fixed in one day. Perhaps some of them can’t even be fixed at all. They are simply unfortunate situations we find ourselves living in. And try as we might, it’s out of our hands. So why constantly beat ourselves up over something that we can’t undo? Why berate ourselves with stress, negative thoughts, and feelings of worthlessness over something can requires more than three quick and easy steps to a solution?
Why punish ourselves for not being strong instead of sitting back, taking a deep breath, and admitting we’re human?
Not every day is going leave us feeling victorious. But every day we can make the choice to find something beautiful and let it bring us back from the darkness. We can choose to step back and take refuge in a God that loves and heals and allows us to lean on His strength. We can rely on friends to make us laugh and on loved ones to comfort us. We can choose to rise above what life throws at us. We can cry today and be strong tomorrow.
Maybe we need to fall apart every so often in order to be remade.
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