I used to think phrases like “find your inner strength” were kind of…well…cheesy. Like something that should be written on a gym bag. However, over the past four days I’ve discovered something about myself: I am strong enough to move a deep freezer.
Sure I had help from my teenage son. Okay, he did most of the lifting on that one. But I did manage to scrape it against the stairwell in such a way that left a nice gash in it, which we will fondly remember whenever we reach for the pineapple-coconut Haagen Dazs.
Moving an entire household is a pain in the ass (and the legs, and the arms, and the hands); and when it is just you and your teenage son, it can be outright comical. And tragic.
Alas poor washing machine, I knew him well Horatio.
(The washing machine was left behind due to…((ahem)) technical difficulties removing it from the water supply).
When I first realized that as the adult in charge, I was responsible for the entire move (and I wasn’t willing or able to part with the 1,800 euro quoted by the movers, who may or may not have criminal records) I was a little intimidated. My facebook messages that day to certain friends would probably be rated R for foul language and adult emotional themes (if there is such a thing).
Basically, I wanted to pack our bags (the children, dogs and I) and run away. But after a few words of wisdom and re-direction from friends, I knew that I HAD to do this move. I also knew that if I could run 6 marathons and NEVER, EVER willingly set my kettle bells down during a WOD, I had the inner strength (stubbornness, as my mom says) to do this move.
We did it, my son and I, with support from friends. But the heavy lifting was all us. And I am damned proud of my son. In fact, I’m proud of all my kids, and the way they rose to the challenge, pulled together to make this happen. It truly bonded the kids and I and marks a shift in the family dynamic.
This whole ordeal has shown me one, single, important, life-changing thing.
I am strong.
This might not be a revelation to some of you. But for me, this is something that has shaken me to the core. For years I have imbibed the message that we are weak. And when we are weak, God can make us strong.
I still believe this is true to a certain extent.
But I also believe that sometimes you just need to suck it up. God doesn’t want to hear you crying anymore about how weak you are. Maybe God just wants you to pick your ass off the floor and go move something heavy.
If I had to label myself a year ago, I would have called myself a “Conservative Christian Homeschool Mom.”
These days, I am peeling back those labels to find the real person underneath.
Labels have so much wrapped up with them–mostly the ideas of other people. And if you don’t measure up to their ideals, then something is wrong with you. I’m tired of it. I’m tired of people wanting what I can’t give. I don’t want to hurt anyone, but I also want to be myself, even if it means showing my ugly side once in a while.
I would love to live a life where I felt comfortable being myself. Where I could say what I wanted without fear. For years I have played a role that wasn’t true to that person I am on the inside. I AM a people-pleaser. And the problem is that as a people-pleaser, you often find yourself miserable.
And the (erroneous) theology that has blanketed me for so long told me that if God wants me to be miserable, then I had to accept it and BE miserable my whole miserable life and trust that He would reward me later.
I don’t believe that anymore.
Not that I will just run out and do every selfish thing that pleases me, but I have learned that my happiness IS important. It IS a treasure that needs to be guarded, because people will try to take it from you.
Sometimes we cannot control circumstances, but things like misery and happiness are choices we make.
And now I know, at heart-level, that if I am strong enough to move a deep freeze, refrigerator, couches, a dryer (sans washer), untold numbers of books (I AM a lit major), and five bedrooms worth of furniture, I am strong enough seek, guard and protect happiness in my life.
It will be a fight.
But I will win.
And I hope the same for you.
YOUR happiness matters.
Grab it tightly, and never, ever let it go.