Running Toward: Authenticity

As we sit on the edge of a new calendar, many of us spend some time reflecting on the year that was and looking ahead to the year to come. I am no exception to this. As much as I don’t want to put too much stock in January 1st, I can’t deny that 2015 has been quite a year for me.

2015 for me saw a lot of change and a lot of growth. It was one of the most exciting and one of the most painful years of my life. 2015 was a lot of things but middle of the spectrum was definitely not one of them.

One of the biggest callings for me was to spend more time at home and to finally follow my passions in life. In the process of trying to figure all this stuff out and dealing with a lot of fear, discouragement, stress and wavering faith in the entire process that could only be described as utter lunacy by most people, I was hit hard with a few realizations in the way I spend my time and what little value I’ve placed on myself over the past few years.

I’ve always been the type that’s just happy to be included. Thankful that someone remembered me or thought of me or wants to invest a moment or two of time into getting to know me a little better. As a shy and introverted person, being social doesn’t come naturally to me. But what I’ve come to realize this past year is just how completely and utterly rundown I’ve become trying to be everything that I’m not in hopes of being accepted and loved. I’ve come into the very bad habit of looking at what people want me to be and not just being me. I’ve accepted a lot of mediocre relationships in which I pour out a lot of myself and get nothing in return. Not that every season comes in a 50/50 split of give/take but I think you know what I’m getting at.

Flower

In short, I’ve settled for so much less and allowed myself to be used over and over again and put into positions where my worth is entirely dependent on what I have to give and offer and not on simply being authentically myself. And in the process, I’ve completely burnt myself to the ground.

I get it, life is busy. We have so much to do and precious little time to get it done. But, my goodness…doesn’t anyone else get tired of it all? The bigger, better, faster mentality? The trying to fit as much as you can into each and every day that you can barely stop to breathe if you plan on getting it all done.

Barrier Bay

I don’t know about you, but I don’t like living that way. I don’t want to live that way. As much as I can hide behind my family and declare that I don’t want them to be party to this frenzied, plastic existence (and I absolutely don’t), I don’t want any part of it for myself. I don’t want friendships or relationships that are an inch deep because “quality time” means a quick “how are you” text or email that never gets followed up on for days on end. Or a coffee date that can only be done between a hundred other things and needs to stay on schedule. I think we can all say that we deserve better than that. And we can certainly give more to those we love most than a brief glance of our time.

I want to enjoy the richness of this life. The abundance of it. There is so much more out there that we’re missing because we are tricked into believing that we need to be doing something all the time. That every breath in our day needs to be accounted for. Or that there is no such thing as quality time unless we need something or have something to offer up.

When did our time become a thing of conditions? Of legalism? Of shallow waters?

Simplicity

When did it become more important to prove to people how high of a capacity we have to be all things to all people at all times? Why do we need to always going somewhere, doing something, spending money of stuff and running ourselves into the ground? Buying things we can’t afford because we mistakenly think it will fill some void in our hearts. Dragging ourselves out to places we don’t even want to go because everyone else is doing it and we don’t want to be missing out.

I have been guilty of every single one of these things for years! Worrying myself into a frenzy that if I didn’t make appearances, I’d lose out on friendships and everyone would be friends with each other and I’d be left out because I missed out on that one important night. It was so exhausting that I’d stress about leaving my house because I might make the major mistake of being myself and lose out because being me was not going to be enough.

Friends, this is no way to live. This is not how we were designed to live. We are each uniquely our own. That is a beautiful thing! Yes, it can be hard and at times, I have felt very isolated because it seems as though I’m almost a bit too unique for this world. I don’t much care for TV, I like to crochet, I have no idea what the latest music or fashion trends are. I’m simple and as much as I wish I could be trendy, look put together and lovely, the reality is, I’ve never been comfortable in those shoes.

I love to work out, I love to read and I crave deep, meaningful relationships in my life. I don’t need dozens of casual friends. There is so much more depth in having a few close friends that I can walk into a room and say “this is exactly me. No muss, little fuss and flawed beyond words. Please love and accept me this way because I don’t know how to be anything other than me.”. If that sounds super lame to you, I guess that’s ok. It’s perhaps what makes us different and there’s nothing wrong with that.

So as we approach 2016 and the clean slate that a new year provides so many of us, let’s look at the possibility of spreading our roots a little deeper and not wider. The possibilities of where that can take us are endless!

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