A few days ago I was sitting by myself having lunch at Costco, scrolling through Instagram. There are countless quotes and images swirling around these days that it’s rare one hits you straight through the heart. A kind and selfless woman I follow posted a beautiful photo of her and her children, with this quote as her caption…
“What if you wake up someday, and you’re 65 or 75, and you never got your novel or memoir written; or you didn’t go swimming in warm pools or oceans because your thighs were jiggly or you had a nice big comfortable tummy; or you were just so strung out on perfectionism and people-pleasing that you forgot to have a big, juicy, creative life, of imagination and silliness and staring off into space like when you were a kid? It’s going to break your heart. Don’t let that happen.” -Anne Lamott
This quote struck me right in the soul and reverberated through my bones. While I may not agree with all the views of this writer, this quote paints a startling picture of the way so many of us as women live. It is amazing, the things that keep us from living full, rich, magnificent lives…jealousy, fear, insecurity, pain, apathy, laziness, bitterness. This list is long and this list enslaves. It stifles the deepest, truest parts of ourselves. It perpetually holds us back from further becoming the brilliant, bold women God created us to be.
I sat with this quote and got to thinking long and hard about when I am 65 or 75, if God gives me that many years. When you are 65 or 75, if God gives you those years, you will be able to look back and reflect on the life you lived. Today, I pose a challenging series of questions for you that I have asked myself upon marinating deeply on the above quote, questions that I am asking myself and challenging myself with because I don’t want to look back on my life and have lived in a way that will break my heart.
So today I ask you…years from now when you take a good, long look back on your life, would you rather have lived your life in a way that would cause you to say…
I. I wish I had spent less time comparing myself to other women.
I am glad I spent time learning to love myself as I am.
II. I wish I had spent less time worrying about whether or not God was going to take care of everything.
I am glad I learned to trust the hand of the Father.
III. I wish I had spent less time crying to God and being angry with Him about my relationship status.
I’m grateful I spent my time focusing on the blessings before me, trusting that God has a plan for my life and relationship or not, marriage or not, His plan for my unique life has always been good.
IV. I wish I had spent less time wanting and investing and focusing on things.
I’m so glad I spent time investing in hearts, friendships, people, and community.
V. I wish I had spent less time wishing I had what she has.
I am thankful I spent time learning to love and want what I have.
VI. I wish I had spent less time being jealous of other women’s gifts and talents.
I’m glad I took the time to ask God…what are my gifts? Please help me use them well.
VII. I wish I had spent less time hating my body and not taking good care of it.
I am so grateful I consciously chose to love my body and invested in taking good care of it.
VIII. I wish I had pushed less people away because of my fears and past hurts and rejections.
I am glad I let people into my heart and my life even though it was hard.
IX. I wish I had spent less time living and operating out of fear.
I am glad I spent so much of my life living and operating out of faith.
X. I wish I had spent less time on social media, comparing my life to everyone else’s.
I’m so happy I got outside and lived, embracing the unique and beautiful life God gave me.
Maybe one or more of these strikes you deeply. Sit with it for a few minutes. Only you know the areas of your life where you are living in the first set of statements. Which set of statements do you struggle with the most?
If you find yourself living in any of the first set of statements, spending years and seasons with jealousy ravaging your heart, self-hatred dictating your days, fear of rejection enslaving you – you will look back on your life and it will surely break your heart. At 28 years old, I have already spent years pushing people away because of past hurts, and it has already broken my heart. The good news that hope brings is that I can allow my broken heart to cause me to change now. I can choose to battle against my tendency to live in the first part of VIII rather than the second part of VIII.
It is the good news that will stand until the day we die and the good news that I am awakening to remember every single day...we can always choose to change.
We can always decide to work on one or more of these areas of our lives…you can decide that the moment you begin to feel jealousy creeping in about another woman’s gifts, you will stop immediately and ask God to show you what your gifts are and ask Him to help you to use them in the way He has designed you to. You can decide today that you don’t want to look back and feel sorrow that you spent your whole life hating your body…you can decide today that you want to begin to consciously learn to love it and care for it and take the first step necessary to make that happen.
What is holding you back from living as the woman God created you to be? What is keeping you from radiating the unique love, beauty, and joy God gave you to share with the world? Your life is happening right now. The next moment or season of your life is not more important than this one. Today my challenge for myself, and for you, is this…
Don’t let the way you lived break your heart. Let the way you lived bring you joy.
(Thank you to all my sisters who joined me on Instagram Live last night to unpack these statements and how we can live more boldly, brilliantly, and beautifully. I am grateful for your love.)