This is a letter to the younger me. Everyone has things that they wished they could have told their younger selves, well these are mine...
Dear Sweet Child,
I want to write you to tell you a few things that will help you along the way on your journey. It might be hard for you to understand but please try. For me, for us. I'll start by saying that you have many heartaches ahead of you. They are shockingly hard at first, but I want you to know that pain is the reason you become the strong woman you grow up to be. The scars, they give you character, and they give you wisdom for later. SPOILER ALERT!!!!! God actually comes in like a superhero and heals them all...one by one. Heals the loss, heals the betrayal, heals the rejection. You make it boo! You make it....but not without God.
I remember all the disappointments you've experienced and I want you to believe me when I write this: What looks like an inconvenience or a disappointment is actually God setting you up for a blessing. Good things have to end to be able to receive the NEXT BEST THING! Good things have to turn sour so that you will move on and get to where your blessing is. You are too loyal to temporary seasons. I encourage you to embrace change, don't be afraid of losing people. The more you hang on, the harder you make it for yourself. Seasons change, people change, and honey YOU CHANGE! Life calls for change, and it's a great thing so just let go. Every time something doesn't go your way, God is re-routing you life to go the way He planned.
God is going to take care of all your needs. Yes, you are a hard worker, but I'm telling you right now that working 15 hours a day doesn't make you a better you. You are not your work. You are more than someone else's employee. You are more than an entrepreneur. What you do is different than who you are. God sees what you do but more than that, He loves who you are. He made you to be a leader but He wants to see you smile more than he wants to see you work. He made you able to get money, but He wants to be your provider. So let Him. Let Him show off just how much He loves you. How He will bless you just because you are His child and He is your Father. You need not to stress about finances. Can I say it again!!!!!! You need not to stress about your finances! Dare to believe that!
I've left the most important topic for last. The topic of what people think of you. My sweet child...… So much effort and energy has been put into trying to be a better you. Trying to show that you are worthy of love and care. Trying to be "good enough" for people. Well let me tell you !!! People want the REAL YOU... they want Andrea. They are not looking for some girl that can do everything that guys can do. They aren't looking for someone that can be happy all the time. They aren't expecting you to be perfect. They just want the raw version. The unedited self. The imperfect, clumsy, sensitive, outspoken, authentic YOU. I hate to break it to you but all the work that goes into trying to be perfect doesn't pay off. It does you no good. People still walk away. They still get mad at your attempt to make the best decisions, and most of the time, people don't care anymore about you then they would have if you would've just been yourself. And that's okay! The people that are supposed to love you, they love you so much. They love the way you laugh, they love the way you sing and they love the fact that when you mess up, you get back up and try again.
Oh, and side note : You can dance and people won't laugh. So don't wait to dance your heart out....Sweet Child, don't wait to be free. Be you. Unashamed. Unafraid. Perfectly imperfect.
She figured that no one cared anyway...
What did it matter ? She tried so hard to win their approval. To feel worthy of some quality time, or some affection. But it wasn't ever enough. Frankly, all work and no play made Andi a dull girl...so she found a way to feel good...a way to escape the pain of rejection, a way to feel like her choices had some gratifying results...she took control... and rebelled.
As a kid her favorite movie was The Little Mermaid. She would watch it over a billion times, wishing she was the one exploring the seas outside of the set limits. Her reality stayed within the boundaries of her parents orders. She sat down like a good little girl, and used her manners. She always excelled in school, secretly feeding off of the gratifying moments of acceptance by her teachers. She patiently waited for the A+ report cards to come in and to see her parents welcome her good grades. The truth is that she did what kids do, and made kid mistakes but, inside her own conscience, she felt like she gave her best. She worked hard to put on a good performance. Do good, be good, act good and then you receive good. At least that's what her mind told her. The way that you get accepted by people is to be the best you....
You see, there was a problem though...she was a human being...she made mistakes...How could she get approved of if she was always making mistakes? Try harder ? So, she did. Tried to be better, to talk quieter, to be happier, to be more grateful. Pushed for approval harder than ever!
As an adopted child, there was an invisible barrier between her and her new Mom. The lady had her own kids and naturally a deeper bond with them. As a child you don't understand the depth of a bond between a mother and a child. All you know is that you want a certain type of bond with a mom. When you don't have it...it does something on the inside. It eats at you, constantly reminding you that you are not theirs. That you don't fit in. It makes you think that there's got to be something that you can do to fix what doesn't seem right...So, this little girl went searching. Searching for an answer that didn't exist. You cannot magically create a mother-daughter bond. You just can't....it has to happen naturally. Being a human being means that we have the intense ability to feel a connection with people. When you don't feel it, you are very much aware of the difference. But she was determined to change it so she continued to perform well. The problem with being adopted is that you have rejection issues that cause your mind to perceive things in a very painful way. It's like someone gives you a pair of glasses that makes you see everything as rejection. So, no matter what you do, you always feel not good enough, not accepted and rejected. Perfectionism sets in and it's never satisfied so you, do more and more to get accepted, only to receive a classic "good job". This is so average and you've tried so hard that you once again feel not good enough. The cycle continues....
Andi lived her life this way ….round and round this merry-go-round of insanity. At 13, after her adopted father passed away, she began to wonder if it was all worth it. Her father had been sexually abusing her for 2 years and he was dead. She felt alone. She harbored a shameful secret that not even her best friend knew. The family was taking their father's death hard, and even the small bond that she once had with her adopted-mom seemed non-existent. Proving to be a "good kid" wasn't resulting in smiles anymore and so she gave up. She gave into the desire for acceptance. She had heard plenty about the kids that were smoking weed and decided that she'd try it on her own...she decided that she would make her first "big" decision on her own. She searched out the kid that she knew would be able to supply, and she asked for her own personal "try out" sample kit. At 5' o clock the next morning, she sat alone in the backyard with a pipe and a lighter in her hand.
Rebellion welcomed her with open arms and she escaped the thoughts of caring about what other people thought for the first time...the fog made it almost impossible to see her imperfections. The haze made it hard to remember all the disappointment and the rejection.
Perfectionism finally seemed faint enough to breathe and she fell deeper in love with the rebel escape.
It seemed that anxiety just wouldn't let up. Until one day I began reading a devotional that opened my eyes. In the book of Mark chapter 4, the Word contains a parable about a farmer that threw down seed. It tells how some of the seed was thrown down and it landed by the wayside and the birds came and ate it up. Then there was some that fell among rocks and sprang up only to get scorched by the sun. Then there were some that were sown among weeds that choked out the growing seed as it sprouted up, and nothing came of it. The weeds symbolized the cares of this world, the stresses of what we need and how we are going to get it.
This shook me! Never have I thought of myself as being a Christian that was tied up with the cares of this world until I looked at it in this context. I thought that I loved God and that I did my best to cast all my cares but I was wrong, and the paralyzing anxiety proved it. That's bible. My little plant of a life was being choked out by stress. I began to analyze my thoughts. What was I so anxious about? The bible says to be anxious for nothing...but I was sick to my stomach daily with anxiety.
The number one anxious thought for me was people. I literally wanted to puke at the thought of what people might think of me. My stomach was in knots and I was extremely nauseous (if you've ever experienced serious anxiety, you know what I mean) thinking about how I could have done things different, why wasn't I good enough? How could I get better? ….As I write this I see that my thoughts held so much fear. Fear of man. I was afraid of myself too, my brokenness and my faults. The dumb part is that my thoughts were taking no notice of God. I seemed to forget that God is my source of revelation and understanding. That He is the one to grow my wisdom and discernment. He is the only way to true growth. He is the only person I need to be concerned with getting better for and if he hasn't done the work in me, there's nothing I can do to change myself anyways...
I would get anxious when I wanted to be in control of my own progress. I would get anxious because I didn't feel good enough for people. Well I had it all wrong and I was being choked out. The worry that my life will not turn out good, that my flaws would cause me to make bad choices and that the cycles will continue, were weeds that needed to be uprooted immediately! The Bible clearly tells us that when we give our lives to Christ, that all things are made new. We have a new life. A guided life, a life that has ordered steps to follow. The old life doesn't have any power and the dumb decisions we used to make are being enlightened and given wisdom to make better choices. So what is there to be afraid of? From the jump God says that he is making our life new. He also says in Jeramiah 29 that the plans HE has for us are good. So, no matter what people think my life should look like, I'm in His hands and His purpose for my life will be fulfilled. Sitting here with this bible in my hands I can see that anxiety is not a promise. It's a lie, it's a deceiver, its a weed ….and the time has come for it to be pulled up from its roots.
I can see that if I want to keep growing I have to remember the truth. God is my creator, He is the one who creates good soil in my heart. He has planted me as a seed in a beautiful garden. He waters me everyday and He is the sun ( Son ) that causes me to get the nutrients that I need to grow. Without Him, I cannot grow, and with Him, I'll grow as fast as He allows me to. I shine for Him, I blossom for Him, I flourish at His word. And just as he clothes the flowers of the field, he will take care of my every need so I can be anxious for nothing. Now, anxiety might come to try me another day, but then I'll say....GET THEE BEHIND ME IN JESUS NAME!
I know what your probably thinking......
I'm writing to reveal my secret night time-bed time buddy Mr. Binky.....
NOT EXACTLY !!! Although that would be an interesting convo to say the least, I want to talk about the real life-binkys that we use to alleviate our pain as adults. No matter how you color it...a pacifier is a pacifier and there's no way around it. Embarrassing as it is, you might have one stuck in your mouth right now.
So, we all know about the obvious ones: drugs, alcohol and food, but what about the other things that aren't talked about. Maybe you bite your nails when you're nervous or lonely. For the ladies, maybe it's the romance novel used to quiet the cry of a life without a spouse. There's those that gamble trying to produce an emotional freedom by spending everything they own "freely". Many people sleep as an escape from reality when the going gets tough. I have even heard of people living a literal double life, one life in their dreams and one while awake to ease the anxiety of not having total control of their real life. Should I dare say Facebook??? or Reality TV ??? Some people need a jolt in their life and will do anything to get it. If you can't start your own drama, why don't you watch someone else's. Not exactly helpful to a life already filled with tragedy and depression. Grown adults play video games to pass time, and for some playing games alone is easier than having face to face conversations with the people around them because of insecurity. Education helps hush the whispers of unworthiness and a work-a-holic's tasks are never finished in hopes of feeling important to someone. There are more of these unspoken binkys, but for now this will get our brain's jogging. I am not trying to point out our flaws but I am simply attempting to cause our faces to turn toward Jesus for comfort. By looking at these false sympathizers we can better understand what makes comfort so unreachable. Our real soother is available 24/7, it's just a matter of calling on HIs Name even when we don't know what to ask for. Just say Jesus. I'm not promising all your problems will melt away but I can promise you this. Jesus satisfies. Millions of people will back me up in saying this so just try it...say Jesus when you want to run....say Jesus before you take that drink...say Jesus when you're alone...call out for Him an He will be there for you when no one else will. Then, when you see what I mean, don't stop calling His name and he will take you beyond your wildest dreams. Just do it ! Get crazy enough to try pacifying those aches with His name and I promise you won't ever be the same...call on Jesus name.
Let me ask you....How do you deal with pain? Do you smoke, do you drink, or emotionally check out through video games? Are you an emotional stuffer or do you lash out at those around you? If you have ever been through any kind of traumatic experience as a child, you know how difficult it is to handle extreme pain. You also know how challenging it is to deal with these emotions in a healthy way. I want to share with you what God revealed to me in hope to give you some insight to my life and others like me.
Now, I am not exactly sure what age I had made this decision but I can remember choosing to make myself into another person in my mind. The pain that I felt on the inside was so unbearable, and I was desperate for relief. When I was 25 God had showed me in a vision what happened to me as a young child. I believe he showed me this to spark a reunion between my real self and the person I created to survive my life. This reunion would allow the real me to surface again so that I could truly experience life and be who God created me to be. I didn't have any surface reasons to be diagnosed with split personality disorder and I never had any "episodes", but I believe my story tells what really happens in peoples minds who suffer from trauma. Some stories can be more extreme than others, but here is mine.
As I sat on my bed and closed my eyes I could see myself as a little girl. I was short, blonde hair down to my shoulders, blue eyes. As I sat there with my eyes closed and my body still, I could feel what she " or I " was feeling. It was odd at first, but I could distinctly feel her feelings and mine at the same time as if they were separate. I began to wonder how this was possible? How could I literally be looking at myself years younger? I still had my eyes closed and suddenly felt abandoned and alone, afraid that I would be left to fend for myself all over again. I could then see the younger me crying hysterically and I felt like I couldn't go on with life anymore. I realized that I was experiencing what the younger me was feeling. Those feelings of loneliness, fear, and exhaustion. Then, just moments after that, I felt outside of myself and I was angry. Just as though I was watching a movie, I could see myself yelling as I looked at the younger me crying like a baby. I felt absolutely disgusted at the sadness that she showed and I wanted her to just stop.....just stop crying....pull it together...but she wouldn't...
So, I gave up on her. I told her that she was too much of a burden for me. I knew that we weren't dead yet and that someone was going to have to face our life eventually. It definitely wasn't going to be her. So that day I left that part of me behind. I remember separating myself from the pain that I felt. I separated myself from the person that felt the pain. I left that little girl right where she was, hoping she would die.
I was determined to survive, with or without her. She was devastated, and I could feel it....but only for a moment. The new me quickly got with the program and began to live life the best way she knew how. She walked real tall, had a swift cutting tongue and didn't let anyone or anything get in her way. She was going to make it...She could do anything she set her mind to...anything.....
but God showed up.....and He brought the little girl with Him.....
Everyone you know wants more income including yourself right? Of course the answer is yes!!! Each one of us could use a new car, a nicer home and a new wardrobe. But, did you ever think of income in a way that changes the way you think and changes the amount of time you spend on people? Most people don't, but think of it this way: What you allow in your mind and who you allow in your personal space can either profit you or cost you. Let me point out that you can lose big if you're not careful.
We can profit some great knowledge and wisdom from amazing leaders but who we allow to be our friends is very important too. I've learned the hard way that gambling myself away with people that are not profitable to the "good life" can be detrimental.
We need to budget ourselves. Figure how how much "income" we have coming in and then find out where we are able to spend ourselves. How many people can we afford to pour into every month? How much leisure and play can our budget handle and where could we tighten up. Do we need to fill our Bible bank up a bit or refill our spiritual savings account? Sometimes we build up hundreds and someone comes along and makes huge withdrawls at a time. Can you afford to eat out with negative Nancy this week? What about Todd the talkative tattletale?
Do not let people deposit bad checks into your personal account. Those checks will bounce and you will be left with a nasty overdraft fee that you are responsible for. The Bible says to guard your heart because everything you do flows from it. This is serious...I have learned from my leader that you can't let everyone and everything make deposits into your life. Discern what is good for you and what is toxic now before it's too late
As kids, we all imagine what it would be like to fly. How awesome it would be to soar through the air with thick feathery wings, never to touch the ground. Experiencing the steep dives off of the highest peaks, and the terrifying close calls of each obstacle passed, would make anyone's heart drop.
A few days ago, I watched a sermon preached by T.D. Jakes about flying. He explained how a mother eagle pushes her baby out of the nest then lets her freefall, in hope she will fly. If the baby does not begin to fly on her own, then mamma swoops down and rescues her from plummeting to the ground. The mamma then soars to an enormous height only to drop the baby once again. Over and over the baby bird is put to the test until she finally catches the air and soars with freedom and strength. I cringe at the thought of being dropped time after time, but then I ponder to myself:
This is exactly how life goes! Our nests are shaken, and life throws us out into the open with no certainty that we will fly. No certainty that we will catch air like we are suppose to and begin to move with the wind. There is hope in the midst of uncertainty though....it's God. He knows the perfect time to shake the nest, the perfect time to take us to unimaginable heights and drop us, and the perfect time to save us from disaster. The scary part is that we don't know much of anything ! We don't trust ! Many of us don't even believe we could ever fly on our own.
Right now, I am literally smack dab in the middle of a flight test! And oh my gosh is it thrilling! A nest I thought I would never leave has been shaken! My whole world wobbling as I cry out to God for an explanation.
If I'm honest, I have to say that I wasn't ready. God also hasn't given me any other explanation besides saying that there was a need for change. So, here I am, in the midst of transition. I am slowly breaking ties with everything I've known for 3.5 years. Friends are changing, I'm changing churches, and I'm moving to a part of Phoenix I've never lived in before. My daughter is changing schools and I will soon have my certificate to be a personal trainer so my career will be changing too. I wasn't ready for a complete life-shift but the King of transformation knows what is necessary so I will continue to move forward. If you are going through something similar, we are in this together. We can move confidently knowing that our Daddy in heaven has our footprints already mapped out in the earth. All we have to do is fly freely and when we are ready to land, our footprints will be ready for us.
" Don't you have any common sense? Your an idiot! Why can't you do anything right ? You are so stupid! You are just like your mother! " These words played like a broken record, echoing off the walls of possibility in my mind. Insecurity became the song that replayed in my subconscious as I attempted to imagine what my life would become. The lyrics went something like this:
♪♪♪ I can see that I was meant for more but my heart is sore
I don't have the strength to walk through the door of greatness
I'm afraid that I'll try and no one will accept it
I'm afraid that I'll speak and then I will regret it
I have so much inside and I want to fly but I'm deeply afraid so instead I hide
Help me to believe that there's more than this
Help me to believe that there's more to live for
Help me to believe that there's more than this
Help me to believe that there's more to live for ♪♪♪
Music is such a blessing but can become a curse when you got the wrong song stuck in your head. I mean seriously! You can only sing row, row, row your boat so many times before you feel like blowing your head off! Think about what a subconscious song of insecurity could do to a person...
I was stuck...unable to believe that what I had...someone actually wanted.
God gave me a new song. A song of possibility. A song of hope. Deep down inside, I could hear the faint melody of a song I never heard before. The bass reminded me of a mothers heartbeat when she stares into her newborn baby's eyes. The treble sparked a hope on the inside. I felt the exhilarating anticipation of something great. Then I heard the words echo in the depths of my being:
♪♪♪ Be you, be exactly who you want to be, be you
I've given you a special creativity, be you
You are free to dream
You are free to dream
You are free ♪♪♪
If He did it for me, He will do it for you. God has a song created just for you. He dedicated it to you the day you were born. For you... It's playing right now. Listen... its beats like a drum in your soul...waiting for you to sing along.