▪️PICK YOUR BATTLES

The real growth was learning to stand up for myself.

We had already talked for hours, and sometimes that’s what it takes, hours. Hours to get to the heart of a matter. We’d shared our stories, bruised and battered as they were, yet on the mend. The conversation unboxed some old dusty memories of the “me” I used to be, broken. Broken in so many ways.

Emotionally broken, mentally broken, and spiritually broken. Recently these types of conversations have unearthed some old narratives that I used to allow to replay and control my life, set on repeat like tracks on a broken record. These narratives defined who I was by others, and who I saw myself to be. I’ve spent years rewriting these narratives, inserting more and more truth, adding objectivity and grace.

And yet with all that work I still find there are old silent narratives that live inside of me just waiting to be discovered in conversations like these. But now they serve a different purpose. Where they once bound me to a life of pain and abuse, they can now be used to unlock cell doors for others. While I had longed for someone to fight my battles for me, the real growth was learning to stand up for myself. I needed to endure the process of learning to set protective boundaries. It takes courage to set boundaries.

Its hard to loving yourself and trust yourself in the places where you have a dent in your courage. A beat up spot that keeps you from wholeness, health, and freedom. This is a place of self doubt. I had almost forgotten how far I’d come until my conversation today. The journey has been long and hard, but worth it. After waiting in this place for years, just hoping someone might secretly come and save me, I’m glad I finally got tired of waiting.

If you live on a pendulum that swings from the poles of discouragement to encouragement on a regular basis, you need to take the leap yourself. Disrupt the cycle. The decision to stop waiting is a leap, the action that follows is a step. Feeling your way to a middle ground begins by taking a small step that requires courage. We all have different battles to fight, but they all require the same thing – just a little bit of courage.

Will you take a small step today?

I hope so, you can do it, you are strong and courageous,

 

▪️PICK YOUR BATTLES

“Push back” is that a term in your home?

We’ve been knocking heads more than usual these days. As a mom of teen people transitioning into young adults, I’ve been anticipating some friction. I was sorry, however, for the timing. In the middle of putting out some surrounding fires I became short with her. I’ve coached my kids to set me up for a “yes” whenever possible, that’s my heart as a parent.

I’d prefer avoiding dishing out a “no” whenever I can. Occasionally, we need to find a middle ground when I’m not comfortable with the “ask.” That day much to her dismay, I was tired. A quick “no” was easy to dispense. Putting out the fires of everyday life can be exhausting, and I was ready to scream, “Calgon take me away.” That’s when she approached me with her request.

It wasn’t altogether unreasonable, yet as she pushed against my boundaries of comfort, I pushed back. “Push back” is that a term in your home? I laugh sometimes when people share their stories of “sass” from their kids. My typical response is… “have you met my 6’5″ son? I’m a pro at push back.” Preschoolers have no chance against me. Usually, I’m the one getting the “push back” this was my rare occasion to dish it out.

She was handling it well. There was a game of tug of war being played which required her to be assertive. I’ve coached my kids to be assertive. It takes courage to be assertive.

I want them to “ask.” I don’t want them to be held back by fear. They’ve just got to be ready to handle a “no.” This is hard for many adults. Myself included. Often times I think we can misappropriate a “no” and add it to our “rejection” list. It’s hard not to personalize everything in life. A “no” can simply be that…”no.” It can have nothing to do with you. A “no” can be birthed in a variety of ways; the timing’s not right, the need doesn’t fit, or it’s just flat out not comfortable to give a “yes.”

I used to tell my kids that when I checked out of the hospital when they were each born, that with them I also received 1 million “nos.” “No” is the word we use to create boundaries. Boundaries with ourselves (no ice cream Melissa.) Boundaries with others (no thank you…salesperson.) “Push back” on the other hand can help us find a “yes” when “no” seems wrong.

Like I said, I didn’t want to say “no,” I just wasn’t comfortable with saying “yes.” Ultimately, through “pushing back” on her request, forcing her to edit her request until we could both be satisfied with the solution, she presented an option that yielded a “yes.”

I’m seeing both of my teen people grow in this area lately, and it makes me smile. They are about to leave the comfy confines of our family nest and I want them prepared. The world is tough. I’ve spent countless hours trying to mold and shape them with thoughts about leadership, purpose, and choice. This sadly, has not been the case for the vast majority of their contemporaries. In order to live the life they desire, they will need to lead up, down, and from side to side – create their own territory, navigate their own way. I’m not ashamed to have trained them to stand up for themselves in a chaotic world. Who knows maybe they’ll even show others the way. I want them to be strong and courageous, these are the kind of humans we need more than ever.

Be strong and courageous – and assertive this week my friend.

▪️PICK YOUR BATTLES

What if our realities collide?

You would think since we now live in the same neighborhood that we would be spending more time together, sadly it hasn’t turned out that way. Last week there were close encounters as we played tag via text, and another day as I was rounding the street to return home from my walk I caught a glimpse of her jogging the other way. Friend-ships in the night I guess. We finally accepted our lot and settled for a phone call while we tried to multitask some of our routine responsibilities.

We never quite get through our list of “life stuff to discuss with _______” I think we both keep a running mental account with one another’s names included.

We were gracious and allowed each other a fair share of the talk time to catch up and cover most of our agendas before she interjected “new business” to our meeting.

Question, have you ever felt like you had investigated something thoroughly and are ready to pull the trigger on the decision, only to discover, just after you were certain, “Houston, we have a problem?”

Well, that’s exactly where she found herself. This can be unnerving. How can we be so certain we are moving forward in the right direction only to realize that we’ve hit a headwind straight into a danger.

After she neatly unpacked all the details of her quandary, we began to analyze.

Of course we were both able to take our seats up in the clouds, as we pulled apart the situation attempting to see it all from God’s point of view, no judgement of course. I can honestly say that we were fair and kind, even though we did not agree with the actions that had transpired. However, there would still be danger ahead for my friend so I advised she launch some preemptive counter measures.

“Call her back” I said.

She had just given a verbal “yes” to a year long commitment. However, with this new information now in play she was dismayed. “It took courage for me to go in and tell her I would commit in the first place” she said, “now I have to call her and bring up these issues.” She knew she had to do it.

It takes courage to seek the truth.

Whether we like it or not, all of our perspectives are building toward a future reality. What if our realities collide? Some of us will like the new reality and some of us won’t. Seeking the truth of someone else’s perspective can help us know which battles are worth fighting.

I’m betting that if someone else’s perspective is going to impact my future reality, that I better fight for my perspective to be considered.

Isn’t that how most conflict occurs anyway – opposing perspectives?

She’s one of us. She’s full of courage. I have no doubt that the next pocket of time we have to debrief on life, I’ll get the rest of the story.

Maybe so will you.

Until then, be strong and courageous friends,