There Will Be Days

31 Days of Finding Self | Moving Peaces

There will be days when life seems to make sense. You feel like you know who you are, what is most important to you and what your best talents and skills are. Those days are sweet days with a certain ease to it. Your confidence is restored and you have a clarity of mind.

There will also be days when everything you thought you knew goes awry. You flounder about trying to understand why you feel the way you do and wonder what your purpose is in the world. There’s a difficulty and sometimes pain that comes with these days. It can lead to discovery or it can lead to doubt. Self-worth is questioned and positivity is often lost.

You will face both types of days. When you hit one of those days hard, it might seem unfathomable that things will swing back around in the other direction at some point. When that happens, we need to cling to the truths. We need to prepare for both days and acknowledge that they will happen as they are part of life. But then we need to keep moving forward.

 

This post is a part of the Finding Self series for the 31 Days of blogging in October.
To see the all posts in this series, check out the Finding Self page.

Challenges Defined

We all face challenges. Can I start by saying that? I don’t care what you say, the person next to you definitely faces challenges too, no matter how seamless they make life look. Okay, glad we cleared the air there.

Challenges Defined | Moving Peaces

One of my challenges has been food. Some of you know about my story of sickness our first few years of marriage. The short of it? I found myself throwing up multiple nights a week with no clear explanation why. After months of doctors and specialists and prescriptions, things hadn’t improved. I changed diets and pressed for more tests until they finally removed my gallbladder. Things didn’t end after surgery as I still found myself quite sick, but on slightly fewer occasions. When I wasn’t throwing up, I felt like I might. I was told I had food allergies but had a long way to go before I found what foods I could actually eat and how to navigate restaurants and grocery stores. I have a long list of allergies to varying degrees, but at the top of the list are garlic and onions.

So that’s the story. It’s why I can’t eat sauces or dressings. Why I have to call ahead when we go out to eat or why I have to coordinate with the caterer directly for weddings and special occasions. It’s why my food inevitably looks different than yours when we share a meal together. It’s why I stopped caring about cooking or complex meals. It’s why I sometimes feel left out in social settings.

When I was in high school I remember seeing the challenges of someone else, which were visible and noticeable to everyone and wishing my challenge was something more easily identified. Now I can’t get through a meal without at least explaining part of the story, regardless of how much I try to skirt around it. For a little while, it felt like that was my story. It was taking over my life in so many ways as I fought through the sickness for answers and relief.

But that’s not the whole story, just an element. It’s something I still have to face on a regular basis. I still get sick (although far less often), and I still have to navigate through menus and ingredient listings. As soon as I can, I try to change the subject. I’m not my sickness or allergy or challenge.

It has shaped me and changed me. It has made me so grateful for the things I can eat (like chocolate) and more aware of the difficulties that one issue can cause in many other facets of life. But it does not define me.

So whatever your challenge is, realize what it truly amounts to. It might be huge, and I am not trying to minimize it necessarily. When this sickness first hit, it seemed like I would never go a week again without feeling sick (and specialists told me as much). What I’m saying is, your challenge might be huge but it doesn’t have to overtake you. You are so much more than the challenges you are facing.

 

31 Days: Finding Self | Moving Peaces

This post is a part of the Finding Self series for the 31 Days of blogging in October.
To see the all posts in this series, check out the Finding Self page.

 

Say Sorry

Say Sorry

Sometimes, we have to say sorry.

Wave the White Flowers | Moving Peaces

An apology might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you consider the topic “Finding Self” but I still think it’s important. We live in this culture that says to be you and stand up for yourself. I don’t disagree, but I think we can take it too far.

There are times when I can get too caught up with what I’m doing or thinking. I have this plan for how life should look, not just for me but for everyone around me. I start going on these tangents on how life should go and where people haven’t quite learned what they should have by now. I plow ahead with these thoughts and opinions, at times silently thinking I’m in the clear. I expect graces from people when I’ve been busy or having a bad day but then don’t always offer them when I should for others.

Do I do things intentionally to hurt people? No. But sometimes in my fog of thoughts and feelings I don’t act or react the way I should. Finding self doesn’t mean that I’m always right or that it’s all about how great I am. Finding self means I have to recognize the areas where I’ve failed and let people down. I may be coming into my own in some ways and ready to do amazing things, but I also have things in my life that I’m not proud of and downfalls that aren’t pretty. Realizing that side of self isn’t as flattering or as fun, but it’s often just as significant and something to learn how to handle.

Instead of pressing on ahead like that thing I said or did never happened, it’s worth it to go back and find out what it takes to make it right. Saying sorry requires humility and admitting your shortcomings to someone. Being truly sorry means you are owning up to wrongful thoughts/actions that you’d rather just ignore.

 

31 Days: Finding Self | Moving Peaces

This post is a part of the Finding Self series for the 31 Days of blogging in October.
To see the all posts in this series, check out the Finding Self page.

Recap & Reflection

Recap & Reflection

For those of you who have been asking how the event went, here’s a quick summary. From my perspective, it could not have been better! This is something I have been working on and praying about for months. Yes, months. But I think it was worth it.

Women's Event | Moving Peaces

For those of you who weren’t yet aware, I coordinated this year’s women’s event/retreat at our church. After hearing so many good things about the IF:Gathering, I thought it might be nice to host it ourselves, albeit a bit later than the rest of the world who participated in the live simulcast. IF asks the question, “If God is real, then what?” There were speakers like Jennie Allen, Christine Caine, Jen Hatmaker, Bianca Olthoff, Rebekah Lyons and Ann Voskamp, and they all had incredibly strong messages to share with women.

Speaker - Jen Hatmaker | Moving Peaces

As I shared earlier, I had a few dreams for what a women’s event could one day look like. When I learned about IF, I found they had carried out so many similar dreams and was struck by it.

IF Table | Moving Peaces

When it comes right down to it, there are amazing women out in the world. They are doing big things and they are doing small things, but they all matter. One of the things I wanted, was to bring the amazing women in our church all under one roof so we could learn from each other and build lasting relationships. So we could learn what it meant to live a life for God.

I’m so glad this weekend was about that.

Emcee | Moving Peaces

 

I had the unique pleasure of not only coordinating the event, but also being the emcee as we transitioned from different sessions. I almost never knew 100% of what I was about to say before I said it, which was completely unnerving but it basically meant I was praying for the words the whole way through.

Lunch Outside | Moving Peaces

We got to hang out together and chat Friday night at the bonfire, eat lunch on a gorgeous sunny Saturday under tents on the lawn and talk to each other around the table all weekend long. A few women shared and we really just had time to enjoy each other’s company.

Women from Church | Moving Peaces

IF Gathering Event | Moving Peaces

Guest Post: Serving Others

Samantha’s Note: Recently, I realized I could not blog a whole month on my own. Especially not this month which was full of side projects, events, freelance work and job searching. Because of this, I invited a few others to join me in talking about Finding Self to hear what they had to say about it. Neive (isn’t that the coolest name ever?) is a part of a blogging group I belong to and volunteered to write all about how serving others through her faith has helped in finding self. I should also mention that she has the cutest brood of dogs at home and lives in Australia! You might notice a thing or two spelled a little differently, so just go ahead and read it in an Australian accent to get the full experience.

My name is Neive and I blog over at “The Aussie Osborns”. I am so excited to be a part of Samantha’s series “Finding Self”, what a wonderful topic! There are so many different ways that we can find ourselves, but what better way to do it then by bringing light into someone’s life at the same time! Thank you so much Samantha for allowing me to be a guest on your blog, I am honoured.

Find yourself by serving others

Some of you may know the famous quote by Gandhi “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others”, which really rings true to my heart. There have been many times within my life where I have engaged in service and found myself. I’m not talking about some massive epiphany, but characteristics I maybe though I didn’t have or didn’t associate myself with.

That’s not to say that I always throw myself at these opportunities every moment of the day, life is so busy and complicated sometimes it’s hard to find the time to give service to others, but there is always a sense of satisfaction, accomplishment and emotional reward after – for everyone involved. Not to mention how the Lord knows us, he knows the true intention of our hearts and what will make us happy. I know thy works, and charity, and service, and faith, and thy patience, and thy works; and the last to be more than the first (Rev 2:19)

I’m not talking about full blown “make sure you go and clean the next door neighbour’s gutters” kind of service (although you are welcome to do that and I’m sure they will appreciate it). I’m talking about little simple acts things each day, some things that you probably already do. Without realising it we can help serve others in so many ways. Everybody can be great…because everybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.” (Martin Luther King Jr.)

 

Read more

Deciding for You

Do you remember the first big decision you made, completely on your own? There’s something amazing that happens when you make a decision completely separate from your parents (but not in a rebellious way) or friends or other influences. A true transition happens when you say, this is important to me and no longer factor in the other opinions. This is of value to me. This decision will impact my life for years to come.

For many it might happen in college, whether it’s choosing a college, choosing a major, choosing to move, deciding to travel, accepting a job or meeting a future spouse. While college may be a typical timeframe that occurs in, college does not deserve all the credit and glory. Often, it has more to do with the time in life and the first real time of distance from parents or even from friends who otherwise heavily influence your decisions. This most certainly does not only occur within a college setting or even in your late teens and early twenties. Maybe you grew up too fast or were a late bloomer. Either way, it happens at some point or another and is a significant moment, whether you realize it at the time or not.

I believe it’s worthwhile to consider that decision. What was it? What did it say about who you were? How did it impact your life? Whatever it was, it was a coming of age. What did that say about you then and how has it shaped you now?

 

31 Days: Finding Self | Moving PeacesThis post is a part of the Finding Self series for the 31 Days of blogging in October.
To see the all posts in this series, check out the Finding Self page.

Guest Post: Family and Self

Guest Post: Family and Self

Samantha’s note: This is the big weekend for the women’s event which has been awesome so far. Because of this among other things, I knew I needed some people to help write some of this month’s posts. I am SO glad I had a reason to ask for some guest posts as I am loving the depth that they bring. Emily is a friend of mine from the Midwest who shares some of the real in her life and while hard, it’s beautiful. I love her writing style and think you will, too. She asks all the questions and sorts through all the thoughts and feelings many of us have but don’t all want to own up to. I wish we lived closer but for now, we’ll have to settle for swapping stories on one another’s blogs.

 

Before sitting down the write this post, I questioned my authority on finding self, and if I have the right, as an unemployed, confused 25-year-old to shed light on something so profound and deep as self. Before we go any further I should confess something—I’m not sure I’ve actually found myself yet.

Guest Post by Emily | Moving Peaces

I come from a long line of selves built in chaos, in quicksand. My family is no stranger to tragedy—my mother suffered through two funerals (her sister’s and her father’s) during her pregnancy with me—we take emotional blows like seasoned boxers. We roll back our shoulders, and stand up for more hits. My own parents are both deceased. I lost my father in a plane crash when I was thirteen, and my mother to melanoma three years ago. Self has always confused me, a concept that begs to be concrete in my quicksand world. Is my self the girl with parents? Is she some alternate path I wasn’t allowed to take, some unreachable, whole person? Is she who I am supposed to be if (insert tragedy here) didn’t happen?

If you’ve experienced any kind of loss, you know one of its painful truths—it finds new ways to surprise you. Whether it’s hearing an old song that reminds you of them, seeing a car pulled over and for a fleeting moment needing to know they’re ok, or wanting to share new experiences with your loved one and realizing that they won’t pick up when you call; loss and sorrow seem to always reinvent themselves in small ways.

For me, I never anticipated the terror of becoming an adult on my own. I never expected to think, three years after losing my mother, that I should call her to ask how long to bake a potato. To need her to tell me that job hunting is difficult, but that there is some merit in trying, and that I am worthwhile. I never thought about the strange mourning that comes in realizing you will never experience your parents as peers, as equals. How strange it is to look through old photos of my parents, grinning in the way that 20-somethings do when friends snap their pictures—as though the whole world is at their feet. The unfairness of growing up, of realizing who I am and who I want to be, I can never share with them.

Emily's Parents | Moving Peaces

I say I don’t know if I’ve found self yet because I haven’t quite had it affirmed. I am a set of trials and errors, missteps and mistakes, and miles of backtracking. I am blessed to have grown my self through the help of remarkable friends, and the outpouring of love from my extended family. My three best friends are my siblings, and I am so lucky to have their guidance and support in my life. Despite feeling partial and broken, these people have filled in the gaps, pressing themselves into my growth like sunshine. My confidence (albeit not 100%, but strong) in this self I have built is their gift to me, and it is their love that helps it to grow.

I am not confident I have found self yet. I cannot help but look back on my life without the “what ifs.” What if I had time with my mother to apologize? What if I had time with my father to discover our views (conflicting or complimentary, I don’t know) on gender, and race, and sexuality? Would I be a more whole self? Would I feel more confident in this girl? Or is the pressing forward, the pursuit of wholeness still worthwhile? Is the striving I do to find my adult self, my future self, my multifaceted me still noble? Will I ever feel like I have truly found her?

I have not found myself yet. I don’t know if I will ever be confident enough to say I have found her, become her, until the end of the line. But the decisions that I make along the way, the actions that must feed the act of becoming her, are my focus now. I have not found self yet, but I am content in the maze. I am content in the pursuit of discovering her, of chasing her through the storms.

 

Emily Coleman | Moving Peaces

Emily is a blogger and video blogger based in Minneapolis, MN. She currently runs the blog Staving Off Disaster, where she admits to the embarrassments and mistakes of attempting adulthood. In her free time she pretends she’s a novelist, and trolls the “writing jobs” section of monster.com.

This post is a part of the Finding Self series for the 31 Days of blogging in October. To see the all posts in this series, check out the Finding Self page.