Of this I’m sure, #41years

I’m 41 today.  And it feels just like 41.  It’s not the new 31, and it’s certainly not over the hill.  It’s 41.  And it’s good. I don’t make a lot of lists, but I was thinking about what I’m sure of now that I’m 41 and it led me to the following:

  1. Hard work doesn’t mean success. It means you’ve worked hard.  It does not make you better than or less than. It simply means you are a hard worker.
  2. While the 40’s is pretty great, you don’t necessarily know who you are or what your career path will look like.
  3. Even though you might not know who you are or what you should do with your career, you aren’t afraid to find out and try. #carpediem
  4. Joy is a choice. Sometimes the hardest choice, but you can choose it every day.
  5. Being humbled is the surest way to find humility.
  6. Jesus wasn’t kidding when he said we need to love everyone. If someone can’t love you, that’s between them and Jesus.  Your job is to love them anyways.
  7. Forgiveness is hard work. It’s sometimes daily, and sometimes you have to fake it til you make it.  But you will make it. And it will look SO good on you.
  8. Social media is not a reflection of real life. For real. People hide the deepest hurts and darkest secrets. They will never show up as a status.   People don’t post about affairs, DWI’s, addictions that are destroying everything, or how they embezzeled from their employer. They will however tell you what they are eating for lunch.
  9. If you don’t know your worth, you haven’t spent enough time with Jesus. Knowing how much you are worth will help you make all the best decisions. This world does not know how much you are worth and it can not tell you; this world will eat you up and spit you out.  Jesus though, He is the real deal.  You are worth everything.
  10. Laughter is the best way to heal. It dissipates anger and lets love in.   Surround yourself with people who not only make you laugh, but encourage you to laugh at yourself.  And then throw your head back and laugh until you pee. If I’ve learned anything in the last 41 years, I’ve learned to be prepared to laugh until I pee.  #pantylinersafterbabies

Faker, Table for 1.

I’ve been pretty quiet as of late. Not if you’ve been inside my house, because there, I’ve been pretty loud. Perhaps too loud. But in the publishing my thoughts for public consumption, I’ve been quiet. Vulnerability does that to me. I like to have things in a row…my ducks, my sweaters, and my spices. And when I don’t, I’m not fan of showing it. I especially like my faith to look like it’s in a row.

Cue the timely Bob Goff tweet:

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Well. Doesn’t that just make sense.

The truth is, I’ve been faking it.

Faking like I have everything in a row. Shocker, I don’t. But putting that out there feels a little scary and a lot risky. But it’s honest and it’s mine. If I learned anything while on staff at a church, it’s that each of us is on a faith journey and none of them look the same. And this morning, I did have an epiphany about why I feel so, well…stripped.

Before I tell you about my “dream,” let me explain that I am fiercely independent. Because of this, I have always wanted to make sure that I could “take care of myself.” Taking care of myself meant that I could fix my car when it broke down. My dad owned an auto body shop (shout out to Jim’s Fender Rebender fans) during my younger years. I grew up smelling paint and playing with windshield adhesives. My dad didn’t necessarily teach me the business, but I learned a lot by watching him and his employees. Maybe I’ll even tell you all about Mookie sometime.

But today, I needed to give you a little background on me and cars. My dad didn’t understand my determination (he calls it stubbornness. potate-o, potah-to) to fix things, but always encouraged me to “settle down” and “we’ll figure it out.” He also handed out nuggets of wisdom on everything from checking your oil each time you fill up to how to whip a shitty on a frozen lake. He also taught me how to change my tires and remove the lug nuts.

That lug nut thing, it’s important for this story to make sense. Because if you try to take off a lug nut that is over tightened, with too much force, you can strip the lug nut. So here’s a picture of what I’m talking about:

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I had a semi-lucid dream/talk with myself this morning. It was kind of outta body and kind of inna body experience. It was strange.

There I was, looking at my car and my tire; telling myself that I, have a stripped lug nut. I was telling myself that my life was just like that stripped lug nut. I had tightened my life and my career so tight, that when I needed to change the tire, I ended up with a stripped lug nut.

My faith was like a lug nut screwed on too tight. I had been trying to shut out any doubt and know all of the answers, that when it came time to leave my job, it was actually so entwined with my faith and who I was and keeping it all together, that in the process of leaving, I pushed too hard to keep it all together and I stripped the nut.

In the “dream,” I cussed at the tire, the lug nut and the stripped bolt. Tossed the tire iron across the yard, sat down defeated, and wept. And then, when I was done throwing my tantrum, I got up and called my dad. He knew exactly how to get that lug nut off.

I think what I needed to see and understand from this “dream” was that I know how to do this, but sometimes I need to ask for help. Which means not being a faker, inviting someone to join me at my table. I’ve been trying to hear God and figure out where my next steps are, but I haven’t actually asked him for help yet. I need Him at my table. So, that’s what I’m going to go do now. And then I’m gonna call my Dad and thank him for all those lessons in changing my own tires.