I Give You Permission

permission

I unintentionally lost weight over Christmas/New Year after really struggling with my body image last year. Most people put it on at this time but I walked a lot more than I ate, which was unusual and great. It feels good to be a few kilos lighter, and as I was planning how to keep the weight off, these words came to me:

“I give you permission to not be overweight.”

I had developed a bad self-image and put myself in a box that limited me to feeling big and being big. But I wasn’t destined to struggle with my weight and over-eat for the rest of my life. I don’t have to do anything I don’t want to do, like be overweight. I just need to give myself permission to go another way; to choose another path.

In that moment, I gave myself permission to have a fit and healthy body that I was proud of and it was empowering. I felt free to be me. And that was it; I haven’t thought much of it since. If you have put yourself into any sort of negative box, break out of it by giving yourself permission to be different and to change the course of your future.

What do you need to give yourself permission for?

Whatever you are dealing with…

I give you permission to succeed.

I give you permission to fail.

I give you permission to work hard.

I give you permission to be intelligent and knowledgable.

I give you permission to rest.

I give you permission to not be lazy.

I give you permission to lose weight.

I give you permission to gain weight.

I give you permission to eat without feeling guilty.

I give you permission to like yourself.

I give you permission to forgive yourself.

I give your permission to be strong.

I give you permission to learn.

I give you permission to be a non-addict.

I give you permission to be free.

I give your permission to travel.

I give you permission to be generous.

I give you permission to be selfish.

I give you permission to take a risk.

I give you permission to love, or love again.

I give you permission to pursue your dreams.

I give you permission to laugh.

I give you permission to cry.

I give you permission to overcome the obstacle before you.

I give you permission to let go of whatever you are holding on to.

I give your permission to be healthy, in body, mind and soul.

I give you permission to ask questions.

I give you permission to be whole.

I give you permission to speak.

I give you permission to be you.

Give yourself permission.

Did I miss anything? What do you need to give yourself permission for? 

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The Truth About Love [according to me]

We all love the idea of love. The word triggers pretty thoughts and the word rolls off our tongues pretty easily:

“I love Ryan Gosling, he is so fit!”

“I love strawberries, they’re delicious”

“I love my Mum, she’s the greatest”

 “I’m in love with you”

We all need to be told that we’re loved, sometimes we may struggle to say it but ultimately love is a good thing to us. It offers hope, restoration, freedom and encouragement.  But like all truly good things love isn’t always easy; in fact sometimes it’s really hard.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonour others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
1 Corinthians 13:4-7

The above scripture sets a pretty high standard of what love is, and I think it’s safe to say we all fall short. For me, it is so hard to forget; it keeps no record of wrongs’. I like to remember people’s mistakes – people that I supposedly love – and use it as ammo when I need to. Yep, that’s what it’s like to be loved by me (at times) and I’m sorry if I have ever done that to you. If I haven’t said it outwardly, it has probably been simmering inwardly and it may have even affected our relationship. Again, I’m sorry, I’m working on it.

What this part of the scripture is really saying is that Forgiving = Forgetting. This baffles and challenges me to my very core because it goes against my grudging nature. So maybe to forget those wrongdoings I needed to forgive them, even the smallest of them. Funny how I never thought they were big enough to forgive, yet I can’t seem to forget them. Because I haven’t forgiven. But how much has Christ forgiven me for my wrongs? He wipes my slate clean every single day. Who am I to hold so much against people that I love?

I may not be able to forget in my head, but if I choose to I can certainly forget in my heart. When we let go of that emotional memory we let go of the anger and sadness too.

Love, which is meant to bring hope and freedom, can bring so much pain because it is loving despite flaws (and worse). I’ve seen it first hand with people close to me, I’ve seen love bring hope to the receiver and pain to the giver. This is either because the receiver keeps on taking without giving back, or because the receiver is what I have judged as undeserving of love. Which I’m realising is pretty harsh now that I’ve written it down. WHO am I to judge who deserves love? None of us do and all of us do. We all need love, regardless of how deserving we are of it. Hopefully it does eventually change the receiver’s heart and they begin to give back, but that’s never why we love in the first place. We love because we were created to.

To be honest, I really struggle with this; with loving imperfection. Because if truth be told, I only expect to be loved when I felt I’ve done enough to deserve it, when I’ve earnt it, when I’ve deemed myself worthy. Yet in reality that’s not how it works, and though I continue to fail, the people in my life still love me. How? Why? Instead of just accepting it and loving others the same way, I wrestle with trying to understand it. That’s the stunning and downright haunting thing about love, especially Christ’s love; we don’t deserve it or always understand it because it’s too damn big for us to comprehend.

My mum always said when I was younger ‘I love you, but not because you’re a good girl’. Fast forward more than a decade and I am still grappling with this concept of love. Except that it isn’t a concept and maybe that’s where my problems lie, in this one tiny truth: Love isn’t meant to be understood.

Love sees your best, forgives your worst, and always believes in you. I may not be able to get my head around it, but I don’t have to. I just need to get my heart around it.

What do you love and hate about love? What do you struggle with the most? Please share in the comments and help me know that I’m not alone!

Confession: I can’t fix myself & I don’t know everything

I like to think I’m pretty emotionally stable. I process my emotions, I don’t run away (I try not to anyway) and I cry a lot.  I’ve even been known to call myself a ‘self-analysing pro’ because I can come up with a reason for every single one of my behaviours. I’ve got my sh*t sorted right?

Wrong. Turns out I am somewhat of an ’emotional perfectionist’ (self-diagnosed, of course. See previous paragraph!). No but seriously, I like to be so in control of my feelings and know exactly why I do everything that I don’t let things happen organically.

This is my greatest blessing and my greatest curse, because while I’m very emotionally ‘in-touch’ (are you loving all this psycho-babble?) I also over-think to the point of insanity and exhaustion.

When I talk to my friends I like to sound like I’ve got it all together. Then in the dark of the night I break down, because emotions and grief work on their own schedule that you can’t really control. Turns out being human has some painful disruptions, and I don’t have my sh*t sorted at all. 

So I told my over-active mind to go on holiday and called in a professional.

Yes, I’ve started seeing a counsellor; someone who has qualifications and actually knows what he is talking about; someone who can help me fix me so I don’t have to do it all by myself.

I went to my first session with a heavy heart; I was sad, lonely and running on empty. On the journey there I prayed ‘Please Lord let this be good for me, let me gain something from this because I’m spent and don’t have any strength left’. God heard me. I sat there and released months worth of tear-stained words to someone who is paid to listen to me. I didn’t feel guilty for ‘dumping’ on him, I just went for it (pray for him, poor guy!). He helped me reach some important conclusions in that very first session and I  left feeling so light I thought I might just fly.

The second session was a little harder, grittier and a hell of a lot more painful. That’s when the good stuff happens though and hey, I’m still alive. During these sessions my pain is justified, understood and accepted, but our (my counsellor’s and mine) ambition is my healing and I’m not allowed to sit in my pain and pity for longer than necessary. I must keep moving forward.

I’d rather be dealing with this at 22 than at 42, 52, 62 when I’ve caused other people pain from my own wounded heart. Have you heard? Hurt people hurt people. All of my hurt has come from hurt people, and out of that hurt I’ve hurt more people. It’s a vicious cycle, BUT I have the power to break it and it’s my choice whether I do or not. No I won’t ever be perfect but the goal isn’t perfection, it’s wholeness in Christ so that I’m not operating everyday life out of brokenness.

You might be thinking ‘gosh she is so honest, telling the blogosphere she is screwed up enough to go to counselling’. If it helps you, then heck yes I am honest enough. Frankly we are all screwed up at least a tiny bit, even if we like to act like we’re not. It’s what makes us beautifully human. 

Here’s a tip sponsored by moi: if you have faced trials in the past that you still haven’t overcome, or if you’ve never been to a counsellor, or just think it would be good for you, then go and talk to someone. Who knows, you may only need one session, or you’ll need loads. Whatever the case, deal with your pain so that it doesn’t deal with you. Also I personally think that if you’re in a relationship then it’s even more important; there is a lot of stuff that comes up when we share our lives intimately with someone, and sometimes they can’t carry our baggage. Oh and because I don’t like to leave anyone out: if you really are emotionally stable and this doesn’t apply to you, then that is great and feel free to ignore this paragraph!

All this was to say it’s nice not having to figure everything out by myself. Yes I still have to think, feel, process. However I am externalising it in a healthy environment instead of running circles in my mind. Oh and in case you were wondering, my over-active mind came back from her holiday and then handed in her notice of resignation. Turns out I don’t need her anymore, anyway!

If you can closely relate to the above and need to talk to someone about it, then feel free email me. Sometimes it’s just nice knowing someone understands and is there to listen. 

Truth Hurts

It’s a loaded gun that holds freedom instead of bullets. Though the initial pain still hurts like an open wound,  I consider it worth it to gain that freedom. Sadly, that’s often what truth is in our lives: ugly and painful. That is until we face it and light shines upon the face of truth; we begin to see the beauty of it and living within it, instead of continuing to believe the lie that we need to be  running away from it.

The truth is different for all of us. Maybe you don’t want to even think about the truth because you aren’t able to see it anymore, or maybe your life is drenched in truth. I’m aiming for the latter of the two, so I’ve been thinking about truth a little more than normal recently.

What I’ve learnt first hand (hold your breath, this is DEEP) is that truth is truth. You can colour it in with permanent marker, you can put a blanket over it, you can ignore it, but the truth will always be there and it usually does come out eventually.

Recently I’ve been facing a few home truths. Initially it hurt more than my words can justify because it was a new fresh wound. The pain is still ever present but so is God’s love, peace, and the joy of being free. Oh the beauty of freedom; even in sadness one can’t deny it’s the most yearned for and magnificent position to be in. Nothing is worth more to me than living in the freedom of truth, but sometimes we have to experience the other side to know the difference. The crossover is painful, but once we’re there, it’s done.

That’s why Jesus came and died for us right? To be free INDEED. Instead of ‘free’ and walled up in a cage of deceit, lies and dishonesty. His dying for us brought GRACE to truth so that we could face it. His grace means that we can live in TRUTH because He has saved us.

When I say ‘truth’ I am referring to anything you know in your heart to be true, to the truth of Jesus and who He is, to the truth that is and will always be. Truth is in the light and the light will always prevail, so just do it! Live in truth.

Choose true friends that will be straight with you, love you, challenge you and encourage you. Be accountable to them.

Be courageous. Face whatever it is that you don’t want to, and everyday choose to be true to yourself and those around you.

Speak truth in love.  That doesn’t mean it’s okay to criticize and rebuke because you’re being ‘honest’ out of love – hold on to tact and only fight battles worth fighting. Many things are better left unsaid.

Build your life around it. If you choose to live with integrity in the small things then your integrity will be proven on the big things, and before you know it your life will be built on truth. Living in truth sets you and people in your life free. It gets easier and you will continue to grow and get stronger.

Make truth a habit and it will become your life.

What do you find hardest about living in truth? Have you ever had to be honest with yourself  when you really haven’t wanted to? Tell me a story about being truthful. Leave a comment!