I’ve learned recently something all too true, and somewhat scary… we often in life create our own clouds, our own pain, our own drama.
There was a situation recently where I had a choose to do or not do something regretful, and unfortunately, I didn’t choose wisely. I chose a chaotic storm of events that has filled me with sadness and grief ever since.
What was I THINKING?! I’ve asked myself for weeks. Not that I condone living in regret and shame—there is no reason to replay a series of bad events over and over. But I did and do need to process alone and with those closest to me—what is going on and what led to me making one bad decision over a different good decision?
I created my own clouds, my own STORM really, and didn’t have to.
But then, I realized the hope. I didn’t have to.
I actually had the power to not walk into that decision. I had the power to choose differently. Which means I have the power to choose differently the next time.
Sometimes when there are clouds over our lives, clouds that keep us bogged down, we need to recognize that those painful things that “happen to us” aren’t really happening to us at all, but are a series of choices that we could have made differently. And when we can realize that difference, we become empowered.
We become empowered to see joy in pain, to learn, to walk through the steps of making the wrong right again.
Creating clouds and storms can honestly grow us, if we let them. It’s time to recognize we have a choice and to let those painful things change us into more wise and mature people. Kinder. More loving.
Storms, clouds, and chaos. It’s time to stop worrying about what we did wrong. Or for some it’s time to stop playing the victim. Instead, we need to see where we have control, and need to take control back into our own hands, learn from the pain, and let sun shine on us again.
Planting, weeding, digging in your garden or flower bed… Typical summer activities that I’ve been doing more of recently and they reminded me of a conversation with a friend a couple of weeks ago. She was talking about planting seeds in her garden, and how a seed, being covered with soil, is almost like a burial. Then, in time it transforms completely, and becomes something new. The seed, now a seedling, breaks out of the earth into new life.
This is a beautiful picture.
A burial. A death. Transformation. Life.
We ourselves go through many life-changing, transformational events. And often these events begin with a “death” …an end of what was before we see the light of positive change and growth. New seed coming through the earth.
Examples of this could be relationships, bad habits, or a big move from one city or country to the next… before we see fruit of change and new life, there is often a death.
Death doesn’t always mean the end. It doesn’t always have a final say. Like the burial of a seed in the ground, life takes root and hold in that dark place and THEN we see it, popping from the earth slowly through the growing stages and taking full force of color, life, and fruit.
But what I didn’t realize in conversation with my friend, that occurred to me recently is: the new life only takes root and produces beautiful fruit under the proper conditions. That little seed needs water and soil for nutrition and growth, and energy that only comes from the warmth of the sun in order to grow and change. The seed will just stay buried, dead in the ground with no hope if not for the beauty of perfect conditions that help move it from one stage to the next.
I think it’s the same for us as humans moving through the world. In order to take root for the new life waiting for us after each burial, we need the proper conditions to thrive. We need kindness and love from and for others. We need self-care and forgiveness of self and others. We need warmth from family and friends. Without these things, we may just remain stuck, buried, or live with anxiety.
Assess where you are at now in life. Where are you in the death to life to fruit producing process? Maybe it was the change of having a house full of kids to being an “empty nester”. Is this new stage in life something you can thrive in? Or will you remain buried with memories in the past wishing to have things as they were?
Maybe it’s the end of a job. As you move on to the next thing will you transition well with excitement and joy, or will you carry resentment if the old job didn’t end well, or fear of the future as you move on?
Seeds of life that carry fruit for the next season will need to go through that burial process. And maybe you won’t see light right away. But the key is to build the proper conditions around yourself to make that transition possible.
Maybe you’re in a season of thriving. The seed you buried cracked and grew. It’s producing fruit and you know you are just where you need to be in life. That’s a beautiful thing. Sow into the people around you and be sure if they need fruit, shade, and someone to lean on… your life can be a safe haven for others. You never know when you might hit a winter cold and need those same friends around you to walk you through the change if it happens.
Seeds, death, life… change, transformation, fruit… beauty, healthy conditions, pouring into others. There are seasons of burial and change and the process can seem daunting, depending on where you are at. But there are also seasons of fruit and life. Joy to be had. Life to be lived.
I’ve had many hours to process when working in the yard/garden through the warm months of spring and summer so far this 2021 year, and I’ve been able to reflect on not just what is happening in the stage of life I’m in, but also the conditions to be able to walk through it well.
I need to pour into healthy relationships and practice forgiveness of self and others if I’m to break out of the tomb into the new life I’m looking forward to next. It’s only with the proper soil conditions and water to help me grow that I know I can move up and truly transform. And I know I’ll be able to. Life is coming… I’m breaking out of the soil I’ve been “buried” in. Planted in. And as long as I keep that soil well-watered with the forgiveness to let go of what was, my next stage and phase will get here, just like spring planting always yields summer fruit. This is my picture of the beauty of the death and life of a single seed and the transformation that’s coming.
We ALL have embarrassing moments in life, times we may think we’ll keel over in shame or embarrassment. Even writing this, I can feel what embarrassment brings… my face warming up, heart starts to race, red splotches taking over my neck. It seems a little crazy, the impact of missing social cues, messing up with family or friends, saying the wrong thing at the wrong time. But this physical reaction and the mental-emotional impact of those times are more of a gauge for how to walk through life well, bringing joy to people around me. Embarrassment can lead to new ways of engaging with and relating to others better next time.
After a number of embarrassing moments in life recently, I have a few tips for how to get over embarrassment swiftly and with class.
If you were in the wrong at all in a situation, and that’s where the embarrassment stemmed from, staying humble and apologizing in the moment, or after the fact, will go a long way. And it’s a classy move that other people will recognize and look up to, rather than down on you.
There is no reason to replay or live in something embarrassing that happened. Life is life, and honestly that moment may turn into a great story later on. More than likely, whatever you did that you think is so embarrassing will be forgotten soon after it happens. Hit the reset button and move on from the situation.
3. Let Go
I’m a firm believer that the only opinions that truly matter about me are the Lord’s and my own… and maybe my husband’s opinion matters too. But whose opinion of me doesn’t matter are that of my co-workers, friends, and strangers that most embarrassing things happen with. If we live up to everyone else’s standards in life, I’m sure we could be embarrassed easily. Let go of opinions and thoughts of other people, and live with assurance that you are doing GREAT in life despite embarrassing things that you might say, do, or that happen to you. You are in process and allowed to live life, goof up, and handle awkward social messes as they come—despite embarrassment.
Handling embarrassment with class can be done. And we can learn from embarrassing situations. We can learn how to relate better with people next time and how to be more prepared for when something embarrassing happens. Don’t let those embarrassing moments trip you up longer than they already have, and stay humble in the process.
Anyone else feel tied up and tight with pressure from self and others? Well this is your sign to take steps of freedom to just BE… Sometimes I feel caught in the past, or worried about the future, or like I’m chasing something that I don’t desire or want anymore, and I forget that I am allowed to BE in process as I do life. And I know others may feel the same. This is my note to you to embrace the freedom to BE.
Today, my friend, I release you.
I release you to relax and take a deep breath.
I release you to enjoy the short, good moments that you have on this earth.
I release you to do what you LOVE.
I release you to not just work for the sake of work, money, prestige, or something else that is an unstable foundation, but to work toward something you love because of passion and JOY. You were created with a personality and preferences on how to spend time and what hobbies and work you would pursue.
You, dear reader, have been put on this earth for a purpose… multiple purposes I’m sure, as seasons come and go and you move down your path and walk of life.
I release you to not stay caught up in what you DIDN’T do and HAVEN’T yet done, but in where you are in this moment of life; enjoy it.
I release you to have faith that you are where you are in life because you are supposed to be here right now.
I release you to not need to force yourself to hold onto past ideas that you claimed over yourself, or that others may have spoken over your life.
I release you to allow yourself to change.
You, dear reader, are a “being” a human being in BEING and you must allow yourself to BE. You must allow yourself to change. You are in process from what was to what is to what will be and change through the process is inevitable.
I release you to stop striving to be perfect.
I release you to go for a walk and take a break.
I release you to cry, even.
I release you to give yourself permission to be and breathe and relax into today, your purpose, what you love, and the inevitable change that’s coming as you just BE….
I can’t think of too many things more symbolic than wearing a team jersey or uniform and knowing you belong to something bigger than yourself. I’ve recently been accepted to a women’s racing team (road, gravel, and mountain biking) and when one of my teammates and friends gave me this year’s jersey, I simply felt like I belonged. Perhaps for the first time in years, I belonged to something bigger than “me.”
There is symbolism in things we wear and put on every day. Wedding rings and bands are symbolic to a deep relationship between two people and whether those people are physically together or not, a bond exists. Men’s ties and other jewelry for men and women often symbolize high status in work or society. Wedding attire- the dress, suit, and tux- is symbolic to a huge life event in many people’s lives. Even the logos that represent the brands and companies that we give our money to say something about us.
There are many examples of symbolism in material things in daily life.
But for me, something clicked just a few days ago and I had a deep recognition of who I am and what I stand for because of that team jersey that was handed to me last month. And with that recognition came a deep sense of responsibility too.
By putting on a team jersey or work uniform you represent that organization, group, team, brand or company. When you wear your uniform or jersey, you’re proud. You’re making a statement to the world that these moments aren’t just about you as an individual, but they are about your team or organization beyond you. (I have to chuckle because maybe this is by default… you need a job and you have to wear a certain uniform for work, even if you hate it. I remember this being the case at times in my life as well.)
When I race, I get to wear my team’s name. When I ride for training, more people will see our logo and colors. I’m one part of a greater whole that matters and is making a difference for women cyclists in my area. One example of how this changes me is that I’m going to go out of my way to follow road rules and practice good bike etiquette, especially when I’m in my team jersey.
So too, the importance of the jersey I get to wear for my team doesn’t end when I take off that shirt at the end of the day. I’m still “me” and I still belong to that group, with or without the name and logo on my back for all to see. I should be practicing those road rules and etiquette always, not just when in uniform.
This idea of belonging AND representing my team well really struck home a few days ago. Whether I’m wearing my jersey or not, I’m still a part of a team and group. And I want to bring honor to the group at all times, not just when I’m riding with the colors and logo of the team.
Whether we recognize it every day or not, we all represent something bigger than us. Our families, schools, churches, teams, places of work all make up pieces of our lives and groups that we belong to. And my realization the other day was this: I belong and don’t want to misrepresent the team that is important to me. I want to build the team up at ALL times.
A side note, I think this is why social media can bring so many problems to people’s lives and why supervisors and companies care about following their staff on social media. The online world matters as much as the behind closed doors, private, offline world.
Awareness of belonging to a team and how to represent that well comes with a growth in responsibility and character. It lasts beyond taking the uniform off at the end of the day. Day-to-day, we need to be aware of how individual actions and attitudes reflect outward on those groups and organizations that we belong to, and to not let wearing a jersey or uniform change how we should be behaving and acting as representatives of our groups and teams. Even our families’ names matter… and to bring honor to our family means acting with wisdom and making daily, healthy choices that help and not hurt our families.
In the end, reflecting on belonging and who I represent matters. I don’t want any organization to be brought down because of me; I only want those I work for and with to be lifted up. As individuals a part of teams, our actions really do matter for the greater good, or downfall if we aren’t careful.
What groups are you a part of? Have you ever thought of how you represent where you work, or the teams you are a part of even when you’re not in uniform? Does this change your perspective on how you move through the world on a day-to-day basis?