becoming the woman God needs me to be
I have more than the library of congress. Different sizes and shapes. Stashed away at work, in file cabinets, random shelves, plastic bins in the garage, stacks in my overly messy home office…
Today I am thankful for… journals.
As a child they chronicled my crushes and who I thought I was in love with. My dreams for becoming a writer and a poet. My girl scout cookie sales successes, my loneliness, my awkwardness, my failed and fixed and failed again friendships. My first kiss, my first friend to move away, the boy whose heart I broke, the one who broke mine, and my first friend who died in high school.
I am thankful for journals because I can look back and remember and smile at the fleeting nature of that moment. How monumental and frightening it seemed at the time. How all consuming. And yet it was a moment. Here I am millions of moments later and I survived.
Some of those crushes never panned out. Some I destroyed with my naïve nature and selfishness. Some I lived and loved and think back fondly for helping me become the woman I am today. Some I wish I could apologize to, explain what I was afraid of way back when, and ask for forgiveness. Some I wish I could egg their house for being so disrespectful.
I am thankful for journals because I get to relive in shock and awe what a drama queen I was. (And hope and pray I wrote that stuff down but never said it out loud to anyone.) All the times I thought I’d never pass that test, never get a later curfew, never like my body, never get that internship…
I am thankful because they remind me what I really wanted to do in life was be a writer. (As evidenced by the sheer number of journals in my possession and my unwillingness to throw any of them away, lest there me a story or poem hidden within that could spark the book I’ve yet to write.) It reminds me that sometimes when you have a dream and you tell other people they don’t understand it. Or they have a limited understanding of the world and how that dream could become real. Those who told me I shouldn’t be a writer because I can’t make any money, clearly don’t know what skill it takes to write a business plan.
My journals are a bit more grown up. Notes from meetings at work. Ah-ha bullet points from classes I’ve taken and books I’ve read. Littered with doodles and lists and lists and checkboxes galore. Acronyms and shorthand decorated with exclamation points and question marks.
Now there are prayers to God. Observations of people on the beach on our vacations to Jamaica. Bible verses. Recipes to try. Quotes from kids on airplanes. Prayers and praises for my small group. My favorite quotes. Unusable unclickable hashtags. And in the mix, in between there are poems. Haiku-ish moments where the young poet seeps through commenting on the world around her.
But more than anything my journals remind me that we all change. And that change is not something to be afraid of or take a stand against. I’m not asking you to change. Newsflash.. You’re already changing. You’ve always been changing. I’ve always been changing. Do you know how I know? Because I don’t fit into a little kid size 4T anymore. I no longer drive that ’84 Blue Ford Taurus. I don’t stress about going back to class after gym class. I don’t cuss anymore. I don’t look at my body ashamed anymore. I don’t spend money on fake nails or eat Gene & Jude’s each week (though I REALLY miss that last part). I drink black coffee and like it. I eat sushi.
There are things that are important to me that I never imagined. I not only go to church, I am an active part of my church. I lead a bible study. I fail, but now when I do I apologize to God. I am more interested in helping people grow and acheive at work, than finishing my own projects and getting credit for it. I am happily and joyfully and thankfully married to a Godly man who puts me first and makes me better.
Because spending an eternity as the junior high version of me, is what’s really frightening.
Change doesn’t have to be scary. It can be liberating, exciting and in a sense reassuring. Reassuring to know the things you freak out about one day, will likely not be the drama you experience the next. Every day is filled with hundreds of moments that will pass. And my journals remind me they do in fact pass. So if it’s a great moment, drop all the distractions and enjoy it fully. If it’s a suck moment, then barrel through until its over. Because time only moves forward, not back.
And relish in the fact that life is an amazing journey where you can decide in each moment, who you will be, how you will respond. You always have a choice, choose wisely. And if you’ve got a journal handy, write it down.