In just a few days I'll be 47. I have no idea how I achieved this many years in what feels like such a short amount of time, but I have fully embraced it! I'm not afraid of aging. In fact, I recently made the decision to chop off all my hair - hair that's been long for all of my life, and let it go gray. BEST DECISION EVER! Talk about embracing a change... I have!
I've been in that stage of life where I am decidedly happy. It is a choice after all. My life is meaningful and so are the things I get to do. My work is full of tasks I love to do, not much of the things I have to do. My creativity finally has an outlet in my everyday work experience and I am content, becoming more like the me I always envisioned I'd be. And all that took some hard work!
Since 2011, I've been on a journey with a few folks I love. It's called Faithwalking and it's become a movement. It has been a journey of intense introspection and honest evaluation of the places in me which are broken and how those places have caused me to be a certain way in the world around me. I have had to be intentional about my own personal and spiritual growth more than I had ever attempted before.
At times I've wanted to quit, and other times I've been so relieved to have an understanding as to why I am the way that I am, that the fact I was such a mess didn't seem to matter as much! Thankfully, I've not been alone. As I said, others have been on this journey with me and at times, we've been one motley crew! We've laughed with each other over our stuff and cried on each others shoulders, but mostly we've taken great comfort in having the opportunity to make this journey together. It has been life-changing!
Watching our broken ways of doing things and relating to others, fade into the distance has been a liberating experience. We've seen each other grow and overcome struggles we've had for years. We call one another on our stuff, lovingly I might add, and we sometimes wish we didn't have insight into each others business so well. Anonymity in this journey is not at all possible, nor is it encouraged because living authentically means being honest with who we are and those places in our lives that aren't working as they should. Few want to see them much less work on them. Yet those are the places where real transformation occurs when we are intentional about walking in the light with others who are for us and who want to see us changed.
I still have far to go and this journey is life-long, not a quick fix. That's okay. I can see, and more importantly, others can see real change in me and that's encouraging. I'm not as anxious and I don't make assumptions about people based on my perceptions, like I used to do. I realize we each have our own baggage we walk around with, many of us never fully realizing it's there, and we operate out of that place. Do you ever wonder why you respond to a certain person a certain way, or why in some situations you cower, instantly become anxious or withdrawn? You do it without fail and without thinking about it, yet you have no idea why? Yeah, I did too.
I catch myself thinking in old ways and before I can respond in a way that will negatively affect another, I am able to stop and choose differently (most of the time). I'm not so easily offended. Lord, have mercy! Let's just all stop being that girl or guy! People often respond out of their brokenness which in turn, causes us to take things to heart which were never meant to be. We CAN live differently. It is possible, but we must choose to BE different.
My Faithwalking journey has been so impactful for me that I went on to become a Faithwalking Coach, helping others through the process. My journey is still evolving and my commitment is growing as I am stepping into a new role in the Faithwalking community. I welcome the challenge as I know and have experienced that this process changes lives, heals marriages, and creates disciples of Jesus who are missionally minded and impacting their spheres of influence with transformed lives. Now couldn't our world use lots more of that?
So today, and pretty much every day but especially today, I am celebrating this beautiful journey and my incredible support system whom I've been fortunate enough to walk this journey alongside. None of us have arrived. We may laugh our heads off or, at times even vent about our own messes and rough edges, but we stand shoulder to shoulder, side by side in this wonderful adventure. I am grateful for the companionship. More than that, I am grateful that in those moments when I really wanted to quit, I didn't. I would not want to be today who I was not so long ago, and I am still being transformed. Aren't you glad? BEST DECISION EVER!