I’ve been carrying bits and pieces of this post around in my mind for a few weeks now.
This Encouragement of the Month series is a popular one, which I don’t take lightly or for granted.
So, before I ever sit down to type a single word, I make sure I’m crystal clear about what I want to convey.
Sometimes I’m inspired by snippets of conversations I’ve had with friends and family throughout the month and that alone is enough to give me a writing jumpstart.
More often than not though, it’s much easier to write in an accurate and passionate way if I actually have a personal experience to draw from.
Since the beginning of the month, there’s been a quiet yet relatable theme running through my conversations with others.
At the time, I hadn’t had my own experience yet. So, I mistakenly thought I was going to have to choose something else to write about.
But then I had a heated exchange with a loved one and he said the words I’ve come to dread since I was a little girl, “You’re too sensitive,” he said in an anger-filled tirade.
Long ago, my first instinct would have been to immediately fight back and defend what did not need defending.
After all, there seem to be several generations that equate sensitivity with a weakness instead of a gift.
If you knew my entire story, even the pain-filled parts, you’d know I’m far from weak.
Every major mistake, setback, loss, or bout of grief has been like a stack of stones laying the foundation of resiliency.
It’s because of all the jagged edges of experience streaked with empathy I’m able to encourage others every day.
I’m sure you have some of those stones in your foundation as well.
I’ve done a lot of heart work over the years and instead of lashing out when I heard those dreaded words, I actually surprised myself when I simply said, “Thank you.”
Those two words were a watershed moment because I realized it was up to me to reclaim my power and handle the situation in a different way.
The truth is without being sensitive, I’d never be able to have genuine compassion for how scary it must be to grow old, to have your body fail you while your mind is still relatively sharp, to fear losing your independence, to need people in a way you’ve never needed them before, or to look back on 85 years and wonder about the legacy you’re leaving behind.
Don’t get me wrong, it took years of therapy and a lot of Jesus to get to that watershed moment.
It takes a conscious effort every day to be able to turn the pain into purpose, the challenges into opportunities, the breakdowns into breakthroughs, and the mess into a purpose-filled message.
Whether you realize it or not, you’re playing a part in someone else’s story even as you’re writing your own and it’s up to you to decide how you want to show up.
For the longest time, I searched for an easier way, a magic pill, a shortcut, a lifehack, or a quick tip.
A way to be more efficient yet effective. More persistent yet productive. Balanced yet restful.
But after all the searching, the falling down, the getting back up and trying again, I’ve realized the magic was within me all along and it’s inside you as well.
The part that seems to overwhelm us the most, at least initially, is *believing* we have the power to choose differently.
And secondly, trusting we have the ability to * take action*
While there might be some sort of stumbling block, label to shed, or problem to solve, our situations basically come down to these simple words…
…it’s up to you.
It’s up to you to embrace your magic.
It’s up to you to take back your power.
It’s up to you to finally act on that dream you’ve been putting off.
It’s up to you to process your emotions before lashing out.
It’s up to you to forgive so your heart can heal.
It’s up to you to take the high road, even when it feels like a lonely place.
It’s up to you to nourish your body with good things instead of numbing your emotions with cookies and cupcakes.
It’s up to you to stop believing the lies.
It’s up to you to break the cycle.
It’s up to you to create life-giving habits.
It’s up to you to put on the blinders and keep going, especially when comparisonitis hits hard.
It’s up to you to stop participating in relationships that feel one-sided or no longer serve you well.
It’s up to you to show up as the best version of yourself.
It’s up to you to create the life you’ve always wanted, worked hard for, and dreamt of night after night.
It’s up to you to know your worth.
It’s up to you to say you’re sorry and make amends.
It’s up to you to draw the line.
It’s up to you to believe you can do hard things.
It’s up to you to ask for what you want and need.
It’s up to you to create white space.
It’s up to you to rise to the occasion.
It’s up to you to stop living the label others put upon you long ago.
It’s up to you to own your story.
It’s up to you to take the first step.
It’s up to you to choose faith over fear and courage over confidence.
It’s up to you to find proactive ways to get out of your head, get out of your funk, and step into your purpose.
Most importantly, it’s up to you to plant the seeds of possibility today so you can reap the harvest of future opportunities the moment they’re presented.
You will always be worth the investment.
Cheering you on as you take the next step,