Happy Sunday! How was your week?
Last week I started a blog post, but the week got away from me and the words I was looking for never showed up. Some weeks are like that. I started writing about life-altering moments vs. defining ones. I think there’s an important distinction. I’ll keep working on the post so I can share it with you.
This week I want to explore the idea that we are made for the life we have. We are bombarded by messages that we should be more, do more, have more. As we scroll other people’s feeds, it’s so easy to wish our life was different in one way or another. It's easy to feel we don’t measure up. We remind ourselves of our shortcomings. All of this is exhausting and makes us feel disconnected from ourselves and others.
I’m the queen of striving, of having a vision for something I want to create, of rearranging this or redoing that. It’s the creative side of me. For many years my apparent discontentment with what’s in front of me was misread for a discontented person. Now I know it’s just my creativity, my mind that is always churning and turning, who loves great design and energizing places, spaces, and people. So yes, we can, of course, want more in life. We should strive to be our best selves. But we get into trouble when that inner drive to create, and better ourselves morphs into wishing we somehow had a different life.
When I feel jealous of what someone else is doing (don’t lie, I know you think this too!), I now stop myself and ask why. Maybe I love her handbag and just plain want it. Or perhaps the life she’s created came because she worked really hard for it, and yes, sometimes she just got lucky and was handed opportunities. But here’s the truth: she was designed for that life, and I’m created for mine. You are built for yours. In addition to asking myself why I feel jealous, I also need to be clear that perhaps I am called bring forth something similar to this world. Pay attention to those feelings and instead of letting jealousy take over, dig a little deeper to see what might be underneath.
The life you have is the life you are created for. And in it lives your purpose. When lives are handed out, it’s normal to speculate why some people’s appear unfairly more comfortable. We wonder if we drew the short straw. But we don’t live those lives. So it’s best to stay in our lane and focus on what we have in front of us. At one point in time my dad said to me, "if we could line up all the pain in the world in front of us and choose one to be ours, we’d pick our own". I think about this sentiment quite often. We have been imparted with the gifts and unique abilities to make this one life of ours beautiful.
My friend Stefanie and I were talking recently about the idea of living a life different than we planned. She’s the mom to three children. Two of them born with a rare disease called Sanfilippo Syndrome. In the last 14 months, both have died. She told me that she will always win the gold medal of "saddest story" in her group of friends, but that each woman has something that breaks her heart. Something in her life she wishes was different. Stefanie knows she was created for her life. A life that from the outside seems so unfair and the last life any woman would want, but when you get to know her, you see this person who is wise, beautiful and who sees clearly the purposes of her life. And you say to yourself, I want to be more like her.
This is why I say that your life is an invitation. If it doesn’t look the way you’d like, or if your circumstances seem more than you can handle today, dig in. Dig in deep. Accepting this invitation is not passive. Instead, it asks you to get honest with yourself and to start listening to your heart, to the Holy Spirit, to the God who breathed life into your lungs.
Stop grazing the surface.
Stop comparing to others.
Stop buying more stuff to make you feel better.
Start answering the calls of your heart.
Start creating space for new life to be reborn.
Start saying “no” to things, habits, time sucks, and people that don’t align with your vision for your best life. Start cultivating your natural talents, pursuing your dreams and finding creative ways to deal with the limitations set before you.
You are made for THIS life. Not for hers, or his, or theirs. For yours. So start making it stunning. And you know what? The imperfections, the deep pain, the crippling sadness, these make you more beautiful. Especially if you allow them to grow and refine you. When you do the hard, some days, yucky work, little by little you with breathe deeper and see clearer.
I remind myself all the time that I am created for the life I have. When I desperately miss Ethan, which is often lately, I remember I was born to be his mom. To walk with him in his illness and allow the most profound pain of my heart to transform me. When my body hurts from carrying around Bodey, and merely going to the store feels like such a production, I remind myself that I was created to be Bodey’s mom. I am invited to see life anew through the lens of disability and to be loved by Bodey (he gives so much love). When I want to redo my laundry room or buy new furniture, but there just isn’t the money because of medical bills or something not covered by insurance, I get frustrated. Being frustrated is okay. We were never promised easy. Instead, we are invited to become our beautiful selves BECAUSE of the life we have.
You are made for this. For all of this. Within you are the skills, abilities, and ideas to craft the life you want within the one you already have. You don’t need to go anywhere else. Climb inside of your own heart. See what you find. I think you will be pleasantly surprised.
Sunday Love to you.
PS The great writer and poet Mary Oliver died this week. Fun fact is that like me, she was born in Cleveland OH (Maple Heights to be exact). Her words have meant so much to me. Take some time this week to read her poetry. I know her words will touch your heart too. These words are perfect for the week’s post.