It was December 14th, and I ended a coaching call with an amazing woman, realizing I had absolutely nothing left in me to give to the world. I was tapped out. She suggested I take time to rest and reset for the new year.
For some reason, the holidays were extra heavy this year. The anniversaries of my sister-in-law’s death on Christmas Day and my Mom’s on Dec. 19th, coupled with this being the first heavenly Christmas for my brother was really searing my heart.
Even after knowing for many years I’m an intuitive empath, I don’t think about it until it has taxed my body to the point of exhaustion. Social Media has become a breeding ground for negative effects on me as I absorb the emotions of others.
Additionally, I try to give hope and inspiration to others, sometimes glossing over the true reality of my daily life.
Social media is typically the highlight reel for people’s lives … we compare our lives to theirs, we usually don’t feel like we measure up, but the truth of the matter is, they deal with a lot of the same challenges we do.
There’s an unspoken understanding that we must live up to the ever-rising bar others set for us. As a result, we become like robots versus the individuals God created us to be.
I lose followers on Instagram anytime I post about Cancer. It’s uncomfortable for people and they don’t like to feel uncomfortable. They seek inauthentic fiction to boost their endorphins over learning and growing through the true realities of others’ lives.
I actually smile when I lose followers after posts like that, because I know I’m doing my job. I told God early on that I would give Him all the glory for my healing journey, and I do….
I posted this picture on my Instagram @faithtoflourish on Dec. 14th and it was one of the most authentic moments of 2021. My necklace reads, “Grow through what you go through”. Even though my treatment fell short this month, I kept pushing myself until Dec. 13th when I walked into Banner MD Anderson for my infusion.
I shared in my Instagram post that as I walked through the doors, I felt like I was walking underwater, gulping for air.
I couldn’t look at the patients at first… my empath heart had no room for more pain and anxiety. The bald heads, the wheelchairs, the bones with barely any skin covering them, the conversations, ports, warm blankets. I was on sensory overload and didn’t know if I wanted to cry or vomit or both.
I had a tote bag of HOPE necklaces, but wondered how I would give them away if I was avoiding eye contact so as to shield myself from more heartache.
Then, around the corner, I heard the bell ring and people clapping which means one more person reached the end of a grueling treatment.
A tear ran down my cheek, almost as a symbol of my lack of effort. Just one tear, but it was that one tear that awakened my senses, bringing me back from the abyss I had succumbed to, reminding me that God is good, even when life is hard.
This scripture reminds us that we don’t just get restored on the mountaintop…there’s sacred work God does within us that can ONLY be done in the valley because usually in the valley, He has our full attention.
It’s not for the faint of heart, but if you can just push through your version of “hard”, I promise you’ll grow through what you’re going through.
I managed to reclaim my strength that day and bless eight women with HOPE, all because of a bell.
On Dec. 14th I posted this picture on Instagram and proceeded to take a 10-day Social Media fast. I was a bit lost as I acclimated to what had become a habit of always checking my phone. It was one of the hardest things to do; however, I can honestly say it was empowering. It allowed me to be more present during the holidays. It helped me bring more solitude and peace into my life and reflect on the changes I need to make to maintain a healthy balance and the boundaries I need to set for myself.
I hope, as you contemplate the new year, you will hold space for the notion you don’t have to be all things to all people. You have permission to be authentically YOU. I hope you will embrace the fact that you are enough and remember that God knitted you in your mother’s womb and made you perfect in His image.
I hope you realize you are here for a reason and find the bravery to tell YOUR STORY. What I’ve learned from telling mine is that countless people have lost their way – especially these last two years. By sharing our stories, complete with our triumphs and failures, it inspires others to push just a little harder to overcome their struggles.
Glossing over our problems won’t fix anything. Facing them head-on, believing in something greater than ourselves and staying the course is the only way to truly find our inner strength. Our strength will then compound like interest for the valleys that are sure to come.
Here’s to 2022 … a year of new beginnings, new peaks, new valleys and new blessings. Here’s to remembering that no matter WHAT your circumstances, HOPE IS ALIVE.
“Be brave, be kind, be bold, be fierce, be YOU”.