Life is a garden; grow it.
I stopped struggling with insecurities when I was around 15; the year I realized I was hot. By that I mean I came to an understanding that the only opinion of my level of attractiveness that mattered was the opinion that I held of myself.
Even still, I walked into a relationship whose key player danced on the human weakness of feeling as if you are not enough. I would lay awake at night thinking that I needed to change my body or my habits to be enough for this person.
It felt like an insane uphill battle because my well founded self confidence in who I was fought with this projected insecurity of who I felt I needed to be.
I’ve never seen someone plant weeds, but that is exactly what I had done.
After that relationship withered away, I found myself laying in the arms of the man who told me he loved me so much that when I was away he even missed my stinky feet. Yet even in the arms of someone who loved me so fully, I found myself struggling with the ghost of those insecurities I had never come to know, and this sudden hollow need to feel like I was somehow enough.
The result of unaddressed emotions lead me to become both bitter and needy.
I expressed to my best friend during this exploration of self awareness, “This must be hurt pride causing a bitter root to take hold.” and she had given me three weeks to bitch, whine, and be resentful, and then assured me I had to get my shit together.
Once my allotted timeframe came to an end, I worked to uproot the bitterness. I imagine visually it’s a lot like weeding a garden, where you grab the weed by the base pulling hard, trying to ensure you get all of the roots out of the soil so that it doesn’t take hold again later. I turned my love off, and it had been affecting all my relationships.
The weeds sprung up ever so often, and I become more equipped each passing day to handle them. There would be a season where it came time to plant a new garden. However, I discovered that though free of weeds, my plot of land had bad soil. *Coming out of the metaphor, I never addressed the needy feeling taking its toll.
If love is like sunshine, then pain must be the rain.
This has brought me through another growing season: You do not need either person to be enough.
The sun and the rain do not dictate to the flower to grow, bloom, and be a flower. You do not need either the insecure or loving person projecting their perspective of who you are and what you are worth on you.
The rain does not arrange a downpour on your schedule, and the sun does not shine at your command. You will never be enough for the wrong person, and there is nothing about you that would keep away the right person.
Be a better version of yourself today than you were yesterday. This change in yourself is happening every day because of the love in your life from family and friends, but strongly because even when it seems like you fail, you spring back up. You are not a victim of others actions. You are strong, loving, hard working, attractive inside and out, and intelligent; all of this makes you beautiful.
Say it every day, with conviction “I am enough.”
“I am just trying to figure out what you are passionate about?”
A friend of mine asked. It was a legitimate question; yet for some reason I found that I have no answer. I have things that I “do”, but I wouldn’t necessarily say that I was passionately doing those things. I remember feeling overwhelmed with passion once, but I have come to the realization that this passion was drained from me.
“There might have been prettier women in the room but, when she turned those babies on, fluttered her eyelashes, I was hers. It had taken me nearly fifteen years to extinguish their light. Now, when she looks at me, it’s a vacuum. I had drained so much from her over the course of our marriage that every glance rips a little bit of my soul away to fill the void I had whittled within her.” – Thomm Quackenbush
In my naivety, I reached for the knob and barely turned the faucet and opened myself up for a slow drain. Such a simple question, and I found myself unable to answer it. What AM I passionate about?
I wrote this over two years ago. I am so happy that I can say that this too will fade. The unhappiness you find, whether from work, life… a relationship… when you turn yourself away from what is not good, and face the light – you too will find that the passion will return.
It takes time, but I have slowly found a new me. A better me than before.
I will always have areas of my life that try to steal my happiness from me. It is my job to turn away from those negative emotions, and focus on a better, happier, healthier me.
I can do this. You can do this. We can do this! We are strong.
Marriage is hard.
I say this, and some of you are like, “Eh, I’ve heard that before. I get it… marriage is hard.”
Yet, it’s not something you truly get until you are married.
You can’t even begin to understand; what others have told you barely has scratched the surface of the hardships you’ll face. Lets look at this for a minute.
It is as if you are destined to marry the person who is the exact opposite of you. I mean, literally, you do everything different. everything.
One of you sits to pee, the other one pees in the sink. One of you can’t stand a house not to be clean, the other sometimes gets the clothes next to the hamper, if they hadn’t already stripped down in the living room. One of you needs your personal space, you can’t be bothered while you are in the shower. The other one asks you to define personal space, as they brush their teeth with your tooth brush while you’re in the shower.
That doesn’t even begin to uncover the differences.
You speak differently, hear differently, communicate different… You even eat differently!
So you’re both so different, and you’re now sharing a confined space you call “home”. However, sometimes it feels more like a war zone than a home. I did mention you argue differently too, right? One of you storms off to clear their head, while the other one needs to cling on for dear life and share their feelings. As if you weren’t going to come back when all was better…
You were going to come back, right?
It’s not like I could sit here and name every single difference you’d face. There are books out there that do a great job of preparing you, but nothing will ever truly prepare you for marriage. It’s like the saying, “You’ll never truly be ready to have kids.”
Except this kid is a grown adult who wants you to treat them with both the utmost kindness as well as baby them when they’ve made some seriously dumb mistake. And you do it too.
Why… Why do you do it?
Because after the battle is done for the day, as you pick up the pieces in the form of dirty clothes scattered throughout the house, you realize something. You become familiar with this person, one of the only people in the world you’ve told all of your deepest, darkest secrets too. The one who’s lifted you up when you were down, encouraged you while you were up, and laughed
at with you in between.
This person is your soulmate, made for you by God. Created specifically to both annoy the heck out of you and love you unconditionally. To both drive you crazy as well as grow you in ways never possible before.
Once in a lifetime love.
Sometimes you catch yourself questioning, “Why the heck did I say ‘I do’?!” and moments later (or sometimes days) you get reminded, “Oh that’s why.”
The good outweighs the bad, the love outweighs the anger, the joy outweighs the suffering. You just know, deep down, that this marriage is worth fighting for.
You’ll question yourself, you’ll ask why… Or for how long can you keep going like this? Then just remind yourself, with God anything is possible.
Make sure you are truly with God. Pray often. Be the kind of spouse you’d expect of the person your child marries to be. Remember, the Bible is the best self-help book ever written. Not the best your-spouse-needs-help book, if they pick it up and get it, they get it. You are called to love. Choose to love your spouse as they are, and if/when God chooses to transform their hearts you may truly deserve the perfected them.
Be the lover, the friend, the partner… After all, that’s why you got into this mess.
Be Christ-like, that’s what each of you need. Because…
Marriage is hard.