For me, life has always been one of introspection, of questioning everything, of doubting... a lot – whether it be people's motives, God's plan, or just a simple decision of what to wear to school that day.
As I got older and life threw some serious curve balls my way, my doubt grew – not only in God but in myself. I lost myself inside a storm of depression, anxiety, shame, self-loathing, and self-pity. My thoughts waivered between “Why me?!” and “If only this, this and this happened, then I'd be truly happy.” And while I was in this perfect storm of negative emotions, I was completely disconnected. Disconnected from my body, my spirit, my God.
I struggled to find a balance and to find happiness. I sought out a multitude of unhealthy things to fill the void, always thinking that happiness was just around the corner. When that didn't work, I'd seek God, only to turn away again when His plan didn't match up with my own, when He didn't give me what I thought I wanted. And in this the self-pity increased, the doubt multiplied. I did not know myself and couldn't figure out why things never went my way, no matter how hard I tried.
Years came and went. I found myself back on the therapy couch, in 12-step meetings, covered in wise counsel from a multitude of people. And in time, that sense of disconnection lessened. I began to know myself again, my wants, my needs. I let go of the weight that drowned me I became victorious over my demons and learned to fight my battles with grace. I learned the difference between being a victim and being a survivor. My sense of self became more clear and in that my outlook on life shifted.
I finally started to recognize that life really is what you make of it.
This morning, I sat in stillness, reflecting on growth, maturity and positivity. I thought about the past year and how incredible it has been and saw that there was no longer a constant battle in my spirit. The sense of self-doubt, self-loathing, self-pity and shame has vanished. And in its place, I have found confidence, joy, unconditional love and trust. Yes, in God, but also in myself.
In that confidence, joy, love and trust I have been overwhelmed to have experienced one of the best damn years of my life... not because everything has gone my way or because God has all of a sudden decided to give me everything I want or ask for, but because I've finally found that happiness I've so desperately been seeking. The happiness that comes, not with situational or material things, but with the knowledge that life is breathtakingly beautiful, even when things don't turn out as you hope or plan. That happiness that comes simply because you are awake and alive.
My prayer lately has truly been one of thanksgiving and gratitude because I have finally discovered that life is magical and that magic continually surprises me in it's simplicity. It's not that I have more money (which really, I don't) or that I finally got married (because I haven't) or became a mom (nope) or lost 40 pounds (wrong again)... it's that I finally love myself enough to fight for a good life, to ask for what I need, to say no when I'm uncomfortable, to be me without caring what others think, to risk rejection because of my beliefs, to give more than I take, to do things that scare me, to release myself from the expectations of the world and to face the fear of being truly known by others. It's that I've finally allowed myself to rest comfortably in who God has made me to be, without apology.
I don't know what tomorrow will bring, or next week, or next month. None of us do. All I know is that even if the world comes crashing down around me, God has changed my heart to see the magic in all things. He has given me the ability to wake up each morning with a smile on my face and a heart full of love and expectation for the possibilities of the day.
For a glimpse of my magical year, click here – Today, it is my prayer that you can see the magic in your own life, despite the circumstances that threaten to drag you down. Because Life is a beautiful gift and you are part of the magic that it holds. Truly.