This is a post about a book. This is not a book review. This is also not not a book review. This is like a book review but more specifically, it’s a mood review, a life review, and a reminder that God is telling me “Hey you…I see you. *wink*” only…inspired by a book. A really good book.
A few months ago, I was introduced to a book called Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis. I had seen it pop up a couple times in various places and my Libby App kept showing it to me so when a fellow Stylist friend posted about it, I thought I’d see what the fuss was all about. So, I clicked the cover on Libby and hit ‘hold’. There I was, number 127 in line to read this book. It said It would take 16 weeks to get to me. SIXTEEN WEEKS! I thought ‘Oh my goodness I have bought into some fad self-help book.’ But, for the same reason I read the entire Twilight Series and all four Fifty Shades books, I was resigned to jump on the literary bandwagon once again.
Fast forward a few weeks, I just came off reading the adorable Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan and was craving something moving. A friend recommended that I check out the Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot so when it was available, I began to listen to the audiobook. It’s an incredibly interesting story about the birth of HeLa cells and how the Lacks family has dealt with decades of injustice and frustration. I would highly recommend checking it out.
But, that’s not what I want to talk about. First, let me tell you about where I am in life currently. I’m stagnant. I am overwhelmed. I am tired. I don’t think that I’m depressed however, in the past, that might be a different conversation, but I am restless and unsatisfied and sometimes even sad. There’s no one reason for it but I am just…unhappy. There, that one word is so hard to say. It’s hard to say because I am so blessed. I look around at my life and I feel so selfish for feeling blue. No it’s not even the blues, it’s the mean reds.
The blues are because you’re getting fat and maybe it’s been raining too long, you’re just sad that’s all. The mean reds are horrible. Suddenly you’re afraid and you don’t know what you’re afraid of.
-Holly Golightly) Breakfast at Tiffany’s
That’s exactly what it’s like. Here I am with a beautiful family, supportive friends, constantly provided for and loved with a strong faith in Jesus. Yet those mean reds are relentless.
That’s the mindset I was in the other morning when I get a notification that the book I’m reading is due in an hour and I can’t renew it because someone else had it on hold. I had two loads of laundry to fold on my bed in front of me and about 7 loads left to do for the day. Did I mention it was laundry day and we’d been in and out all week so it was a doozy. Naturally, I was feeling a little overwhelmed and now I was annoyed because I’d have no book to listen to today. And I was really into this book and only on chapter 15. I was in a crap mood for 100 reasons that don’t matter so at that moment, I sprawled out on the bed and prayed. I do this when I feel overwhelmed and just say a prayer to ease my mind, a habit I got into when I stopped smoking. Instead of a smoke break I just take a God break. When I was done, I checked my email and there was a auto digital hold message informing me that this new book is available. So, I began my journey with Rachel Hollis.
Now, let me begin by saying that I didn’t learn any thing new from this book. Don’t look at me like that! What I mean is that every truth, every hard fact, every lie that she debunks and every word of encouragement are things that I know. Deep down I know the Truth but for some reason don’t always access that part of me…like ever. But Mrs. Hollis lays it out there and reminded me that holding myself accountable for these truths is imperative to happiness. Together we stepped through each lie we tell ourselves while she obliterated any excuses or self doubt I use to keep myself from being…me. I won’t go through the book piece by piece because her story is inspiring and her writing is beautifully convicting of herself and the reader so I highly recommend you check it out for yourself. But, it inspired me to address some things about myself and my future and like most of my posts, I hope that my sharing with you will be beneficial to someone else in some way. So, in keeping with the theme of lies we tell ourselves, welcome to the lies my brain likes to throw at me:
- I am klutzy and a mess and nothing I do will change that.
- I don’t deserve/need close friends
- Being angry will always be a part of me
- I will never make an impact on this world
- My writing is sub-par and no one will ever want to read what I have to say
- I am under-educated, awkward and frivolous and that’s how everyone sees me.
- I am a terrible mother and wife and sometimes, I wonder if my family would be better off without me.
Phew! That felt good. And by good I mean awful! I don’t share those lightly either. They are terrible, fear driven and depressing. I am both embarrassed and ashamed that these, despite my knowing better, are in my head on a daily basis. But, we’re supposed to name our demons, right? Well, there you have all my dirty, icky demons. The lies I tell myself and the lies that I really need to STOP telling myself.
Another piece of advice she gives is to list your goals. Really, physically list them. I’ll let her explain why when you read the book. However, what better way to work out my goals than to share them with the internets. So, here they are in no particular order:
- To live by my pen
- Loose a large amount of weight and be healthy again.
- Travel both the US and the world.
- Live 100% debt free.
- Have a fourth child
- Have an organized homelife
- Give abundantly to those in need.
- Live happily!
So, there you have it, my life goals. I know that the only way to do them is to just do them. Do the damn thing! Work relentlessly to ‘make it so’. It’s all about praying, and dreamboards and The Secret! Right? When I finished the book, I was inspired and was so ready to start a new life and stop believing the lies. I was ready! Except, I’m not. I’m not actually ready for all those things. If I were ready, God would have already provided those things and I would be living with a different set of goals. So, I realized that to stay inspired and keep that fire burning, I need to take some babysteps to achieve those goals and as Mrs. Hollis points out, I need to STOP breaking promises to myself. So here is my revised list with ‘baby step one to achieve my goals’ list.
- Finish a manuscript and attempt to publish by making sure I complete at least one page of writing a day and one blog post a week.
- Drink 100 ounces of water each day and take a long walk at least once a week.
- Start an RV Fund and plan our first big road trip for next spring/summer
- Work a better budget to pay off debt quicker little by little
- Have a forth child…that one’s self explanatory. 😉
- Declutter room by room until everything has a place and unneeded things are given to someone who can use them
- Give as God calls us and set up a blessing fund for such things.
- I vow to my kids and my hubby to work on managing my hot temper. This is the most important baby step of all of them.
So, there you have it folks…my demons, my goals and my promises to myself that I will not break. In her book, Mrs. Hollis refers to a story that I often think about and reference to people in similar situations of discontentment. This is probably why I felt connected to her story from the start. It’s the story of the man on the roof who God tries to help but because of his expectations, he misses all of God’s plans to rescue him. I probably try not to be that man too much but I think it’s important to see where God is leading you and how he’s doing so. I have been stuck in this place of overwhelming unsettledness in my settled life for a while but have been praying hard for help to get out of it. This book, which I listened to in it’s entirety in a single day (On super speed), taking both mental and physical notes, may have just been on of those boats God is sending along to rescue me. Ready for the goosebumps? After finishing the book and sorting through a barrage of emotions and inspirational thoughts, I did my thing. I sprawled out on my bed, said a long prayer and then checked my email. There, at the top was a new Digital Hold Message. My book on Henrietta Lacks was back on my virtual shelf after being unavailable for the exact amount of time it took me to get through Girl, Wash your Face. I’m not going to waste a lifeboat like that. Babysteps HO! (Like ‘land ho’…like I’m a pirate…oh forget it!) 😉