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Tuesday, September 13, 2016

It's An Inside Job

      Yeah, I know what you're thinking...that I haven't bothered to post a blog in 2 years, and then BOOM...2 days in a row!  Apparently, that's how I roll.  Anyway,  one of my bestest friends, Kelly, aka Kelz, asked me a simple question yesterday that later got me thinking, and I want to just share my thoughts about it.
      We were playing "catch up" because we haven't seen each other in way too long, as there have been issues with our phones, time, distance, life, etc.  If you know me, you know I typically wear my emotions on my sleeve.  So when she asked me how I'm doing emotionally,  it kind of took me by surprise.  I responded with, "I'm really doing good."  I'm sure it wasn't very convincing, but that was probably due to me being puzzled by her question.  Maybe the fact that I had just finished ranting about what a pain in the butt my 16 year old is being was also a factor.  If you have teenagers, know someone with teenagers, or have ever been a teenager, you know what I'm talking about.  I don't even need to go there!
      Last night, I was laying in bed still thinking about her question, which I'm sure wasn't intended to be some deep, probing, thought provoking question.  Nevertheless, here I was hours later, pondering WHY I am doing so well.  For the most part, I've always been a pretty happy, upbeat, and positive person.  It truly is a choice!  I try not to allow circumstances to dictate my emotions, but I am human.
      In the past when I was feeling exceptionally "happy," it usually had to do with something positive going on in my life, whether it be that I was dating someone new, I was getting ready for a competition and my body was rockin',  I was doing some fun photo shoots, speaking somewhere, buying a new house, or whatever.  My point is that it was first of all, a choice, but secondly, external events or circumstances that made me "happy!"   Not that I would crumble when those things weren't happening, but I was always looking for the next "thing" to keep me emotionally well and happy, so to speak.
      Right now, the circumstances in my life aren't bad, but there's still "stuff", ya know?  For instance, as I already mentioned - a teenager.  Need I say more?  My other son, is now officially out of his teens, in college, working, and living on his own. Yep, sounds good on paper, but trust me, it's not all rainbows and unicorns on that front either.  I don't think these boys realize how much prayer goes into me just letting them live.  HAHA.  Kidding, but I do have to do a lot of praying to get them and me both through these trying (to put it nicely) years! I've been doing a little speaking, but not as much as I would like.  I'm not competing anymore.  My body is no longer rockin'.  In fact it's more like rollin'!  I'm heavier than I've EVER been!  I don't particularly like being this heavy, but it doesn't bother me enough that I want to diet again (diet - another four letter word I'm trying not to use anymore.)  Oh yes, and there is not a man in my life aside from my boys and my dad,  one of my dogs, and my cat.  Hmm, maybe that's why I'm so much happier!!  I always wanted to find that perfect man and wanted the romantic relationship, but I have to say things are different now.   I am perfectly content NOT having a man.  In fact, I've never been more content or had so much peace in my life!
    So why?  What's different?  Well, for one thing, I'm not constantly dieting and getting ready for a competition.  Enjoying food is wonderful!!  I am still a regular gym rat though.  I'm not in any unhealthy relationships.  I've learned how to set healthy boundaries and enforce them.  I've weeded out most of the toxic people from my life and keep the rest at a safe distance.   I've taken up playing piano again, and I even finished writing that children's book!  Here's another shocker - I've totally become a bookworm, which I never in a million years would have imagined would happen to me. My youngest brother(he was 33) passed away the day after Christmas last year, which could have devastated me.   I'm happy to know that he's no longer suffering, and he's dancing down the streets of gold now.  
     I'm much more involved at church.  I love our women's ministry and our new women's pastor!!  She's different than most of our other pastors in that she's more relational.  Relational....with her flock.....Wow! There's a concept!  She's a real person who actually makes time to get to know us and even checks up on us!  She's awesome sauce!   (Hey Brianna!  XOXO)  I've been involved with our youth ministry as well - Jr. High!!  I know - crazy!!  I kind of got duped into doing it by a friend who flaked out shortly after I stepped up, but being a leader and role model, especially for these young girls, has been so rewarding!! I sure love all "my" girls!  Our Jr. High pastor is also one of the most amazing people I know.  That man has more stuff piled on his plate than anyone else would ever be able to handle, yet he handles is all so gracefully and never complains (that I've ever heard.)  So ya,  I'm giving a big shout-out to Matt as well, who just had(well, his wife Rachel had) another baby girl...number 3!  She's precious!
    While all of those things are great and would make anyone a better person,  I can't go without saying that the biggest difference in my life has been that I've spent the last 2-3 years rekindling my relationship with God.  That's why I entitled this blog,  It's an Inside Job.  There is a difference in me that I can't completely explain.  Some changes are subtle, and some are more drastic.  It's kind of like this peace and contentment ... true happiness ... snuck up on me, and BAM - Kelly innocently asked me how I'm doing emotionally, and it all hit me!    It's pretty amazing actually!  It's kind of like God asking me, "How do you like me now?!" My answer would have to be that I don't just like Him; I love Him!  As the song goes, He's a good, good Father!  Even a double good doesn't do Him justice.  In fact, good is kinda lame compared to how wonderful He really is!!  It's sad to me that I wasted so many years trying to avoid Him, and that it took a drug addicted son to reel me back in, but I'm so glad that I'm finally back where I belong.  He is an awesome and powerful God, and I'm so very blessed to be able to call Him my Father.  Yes, I'm a modern day prodigal daughter, and I've come home.
     If you too are a prodigal child, I urge you to go home too.  Run there as fast as you can.  You won't be sorry you did, only that you didn't do it sooner.

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