“Mom, can I pleeeeease stay home with you today? My belly really hurts. And I miss you. And I just want to cuddle with you… Do you have a lot of appointments today? You said when you didn’t have so many appointments maybe I could stay home with you. I’m just tired of school right now. All we do is stand up, sit down, stand up…its sooo annoying. Pleeeeease can I stay home?”

It would be so easy for me to say, no. I’ve been telling him no for over a week already. And I do have a lot to do today that I can’t do if he’s home. And quite frankly, he needs to be in school. And he isn’t truly sick (thankfully). And standing up, sitting down and standing up again surely doesn’t sound all that overwhelming to me. But the reality is, it’s a big deal to him. And he’s crying out for help. And I get it.

We’ve all been there. Those moments where we just feel overwhelmed, tired of the routine, and we just need a break. We are seeking rest, comfort and reassurance that yes, we can do this. But how we deal with those moments matters. And how we teach our children to deal with those moments matters.

Too often, we try to ignore our feelings of overwhelm and simply view them as normal. We tell ourselves that we just need to suck it up, drink more coffee and deal. We start to place blame for our feelings on outward circumstances – people, jobs, busy schedules, etc. Clearly, we are overwhelmed because of everything being done to us or around us. It’s not our fault. It is what it is, it’s just life, we say.

We stuff our feelings of overwhelm in hopes the circumstances will change soon and relieve the pressure. And this is where so many people end up in trouble. Because while those circumstances may change, other stressors will quickly take its place. And before we know it, it takes less and less to overwhelm us as those things build upon the existing stress we never dealt with. Simple things will feel unbearable. People will drive you crazy. Work will make you nuts. You begin to feel like you can’t escape your unhappiness and your world is crashing in on you.

I know this, because I’ve been there. Stress started early for me in life. Growing up in a broken home I saw things I wouldn’t wish on any child. I heard things that still play on repeat in my thoughts when I allow them too. I was confused by my circumstances, I struggled with not feeling loved, I felt like a failure, I felt ugly, I was lonely. I was so many things, but mostly I was just overwhelmed and hurt with no idea on how to process those feelings.

It took me YEARS of personal development and hitting a complete breakdown before I finally realized that the reason I could never get ahead, the reason I could never find relief, the reason I could never truly be happy wasn’t because of my circumstances or bad luck or because I didn’t have the skills to do those things – it’s because I had 36 years of baggage heaped upon my soul like giant anchors to a sea of despair. I was emotionally drowing. Sound extreme? Perhaps. But I promise you, anyone who has been in this place knows exactly what I’m talking about.

So what do we do? How do we escape this place? First, we must admit where we are. Then, we have to start pulling the baggage off – one piece at a time. Some of it will be light and rather easy to let go of. Others will feel like they are chained around our neck and weigh a ton and it will take time. But, if we don’t sit down and start pulling them off we are going to struggle with these feelings of suffocation for the rest of our lives and this is a miserable place to dwell. Trust me.

But friends, there is another place that is just as exhausting. And that’s where I was for the past 3 years. And I want to help those of you who might be there now. This is the place where you have let go of a lot of baggage…but you are still holding onto a few pieces. They are heavy, and they have probably been there a very long time. And while most of the time you feel like you are above water and breathing fine, it doesn’t take much to bring you back down. You feel like you are on a roller coaster of emotions because you are above water, then not, above it, then not. You have felt the peace and joy of being alive…but you feel like you are constantly on the verge of drowning. You can’t rest. You’re always on edge – knowing that at a moment’s notice that feeling that takes your breath away is only one piece of baggage away. A missed appointment. A hurtful conversation. A failed attempt. Traffic. Kids fighting. Financial stress.

If this is you, I get it. And I want to encourage you, to take some time for yourself to reflect. Think about all that it is burdening your soul. Dig deep. Look for hidden packages. Look for things that you have refused to deal with because it makes you uncomfortable and deal with them. One by one. Pray. Seek wise council. Forgive. Let go. Because the only way to find true freedom is to relieve yourself from those things that are weighing you down.

So today, when my son said he needed a day to rest, I said okay. Because I want him to know that it’s normal that he feels overwhelmed. But instead of  telling him to just deal with it and keep going, I’m going to show him how to rest, recover and refocus – a skill I’m certain will serve him well in the years to come when he struggles with things much harder than standing up, sitting down, and standing up in class.

 

 

 

 

what-if-being-imperfect-is-actually-perfect-2

 

 

I wish I could tell you how many times in the past 6 months I’ve sat down and started a post only to trash it mid-sentence. But I can’t. It’s far too many to track at this point. There are days I barely make it past the login screen before I give up. I have so very much I want to say and yet I have struggled for months to find the right words to express my thoughts in some sort of coherent fashion that others would care to read or find value in. It doesn’t take long before I’ve convinced myself posting my thoughts would be detrimental and people might actually discover my deepest, darkest secret.

Until today.

Because quite frankly I’m tired of carrying this secret. I’m tired of pretending I’m something I’m not. I’m tired of hiding. I’m just TIRED.

So, I’m typing as fast as I can with all intentions of hitting publish before I chicken out. And I’m going to just come right out and share my secret.

Are you ready?

Here it is….

I’M NOT PERFECT

Shocker, I know.

See, the truth is, I’m willing to bet you already knew that. I’m willing to bet that not once did it ever cross your mind that I was even close to perfect. And yet…. I’ve spent most of my life, like so many others, trying to convince everyone I was.

How could I possibly be vulnerable and share my fears with you? How could I possibly tell you that I’ve missed that many workouts? How could I possibly tell you that some Sundays I choose my bed over church? How could I possibly tell you that I ate chocolate cookies for dinner and washed them down with liquor? How could I possibly tell you that I yelled at my kids over nothing? How could I tell you that I read the Bible but still struggle with a cursing habit? Or that my marriage wasn’t perfect? Or that I’m struggling to grow my business? Or that some days depression still gets the best of me? How could I possibly be so real? Wouldn’t that mean I’m a failure? Wouldn’t that mean I’m a horrible Christian, health coach, friend, entrepreneur, blogger, mother, wife, woman??

Friends, there is beauty in being real. There is healing in being vulnerable. Yes, it’s scary. Yes, it can be uncomfortable. But good God almighty, it can be liberating. This whole game of trying to pretend we have it all together for our friends, for our family, for social media – it’s exhausting. And a complete waste of your time and energy.

Because those who have any clue in life, don’t believe you anyway.

And the ones who haven’t figured it out yet? They hate you. Because you’ve set a standard for them they know they can never reach and yet they will kill themselves trying until one day they too discover it was all a lie.

So here’s my thoughts. What if we stop chasing perfection and start chasing real? What if we embrace the vulnerability of being who we really are instead of who we want the world to believe we are? What if instead of trying to convince the world we never fall, we lock arms with the world and say hey, it can get slippery through here but I got you? What if instead of pretending we are always happy, we say hey, this season of my life is kind of dark and bumpy, could you bring me a light? When I get through this season, I’ll bring you what you need?

WHAT IF we accepted our imperfections as being human? Then maybe, just maybe, we would realize that being imperfect is actually PERFECT.

what it takes

Do YOU have what it takes?

Let me save you some time and just let you know now, the answer is yes.

Now, you might be asking yourself, how do you know what I have, or do I have what it takes to do what?

It doesn’t matter.

You see, we all have our own circumstances, challenges, and limitations we have to push through. All of us. So it’s not a question of whether or not you will have setbacks or even what they are, it’s really a matter of what you do to push through them that will ultimately determine your success.

Take a few moments and think about something you wish you could accomplish that you are just certain will never happen. Now, ask yourself why. What is your reason? Lack of money? Lack of support? Lack of time? Lack of opportunity? Lack of skill? Lack of knowledge? Lack of… what?

No matter what it is you feel is the reason holding you back from your success, I’m willing to bet we can find someone who has already accomplished it in spite of that same reason (excuse). Oh, and by the way, did you notice that most excuses start with listing off what we don’t have versus what we do have? We’ll talk about that another day.

So what’s the difference? How is it that some people can push through those circumstances and others can’t? The difference is how badly someone wants it and what they are willing to do to reach their goal. All of us have the same potential to do amazing things – the difference is that some of us choose to believe it, while others do not.

We are constantly bombarded with messages of instant gratification with little to no effort – claiming it’s all in the name of efficiency. Siri – “look this up, call this person, text mom, tell me where to go.” Online shopping – delivered in 2 hours or less, order right from the app! Fresh meals prepared and delivered – just pop in the microwave! Want to get skinny – take this pill! Want a bigger house, bigger car – get a bigger loan.

My point is this – whenever we meet a struggle we can’t fix with the click of a button, we panic. Anything that calls for hard work, patience or uncomfortable change, we typically give up even before we start because just the idea of putting forth so much effort is too overwhelming.

I work with people everyday who want to lose weight, who want to become healthier. Unfortunately, what they are looking for is a magic formula – and sorry, folks. It doesn’t exist.

Everyday I hear things like:

“It’s too hard.”

“I can’t do this.”

“I miss my favorite foods.”

“I hate working out.”

“I don’t have time to work out.”

“I just want to enjoy my vacation.”

“I just want to have fun when I’m out.”

“I can’t give up ________.”

“I deserve to eat ________.”

“It’s not worth it to me….”

“I can’t afford to eat healthy.”

“It’s not my fault…”

Friends, let me be brutally honest with you here, because you deserve to hear it. Those are not reasons, those are excuses. Many of which I told myself for YEARS. It’s time to face each one of them for what they are and PUSH THROUGH THEM.

You must decide that fitting in with your friends is no longer worth feeling miserable in your closet. You must decide that no matter how amazing that cheesecake tastes, it’s not worth setting your weight loss goals back another 5 days. You must decide that YOU are worth the time it takes to exercise instead of mindlessly surfing social media or catching up on netflix. You must decide that healthy food expenses take priority over eating out, brand name clothes or other non-essentials. You must decide how badly you really want it.

No matter what it takes. No matter how long it takes. No matter how uncomfortable it gets.

Then, and only then, will you find the success you so desperately long for and your only regret will be that you didn’t push yourself sooner.

 

xoxo,

Jessica