No one really hates change. We may say we do, but the truth is, change is humanity’s hope for survival. If it wasn’t for our willingness to submit to evolution, the human race would face extinction. It’s because of change that we find happiness, life, and the things we desire deep inside of us. Our problem isn’t change. We crave change. We need change.

It’s the messy, awkward middle that we hate.

When You're Caught in the Middle

You see, we don’t have a problem with a girl turning into a woman. It’s the fluffy thirteen year old body with overactive pores and the emotional Turrets that we wish we could forget about.

Or when it comes to getting my dream hair color, it’s not the change of going from black to blonde that I despise. It’s the tangerine hair I get in the middle that sends me into panic mode and causes me to question my sanity.

Ask anyone, and you won’t find a soul who hates getting their body healthy and fit. It’s the weeks of eating right and working out only to have your muffin top smile up at you.

It’s not the change we hate, it’s the middle we want to avoid. So, how do we relate to this androgynous middle that’s neither black nor blonde? How do we keep ourselves from pulling the escape hatch too soon, and losing the thrill of transformation? How do we navigate through this unknown territory to make it to the other side?

I’ll tell you what I, sitting here with my tangerine hair, have been repeating to myself the past few days, and what every caterpillar whispers to herself, while wrapped in solitary confinement,

“Trust the process.”

Change is slow, growth is almost undetectable, but it’s in those moments of sameness that change happens. It’s in those in between places that prepare us for the end result, but if we can’t trust the awkward pace of the process, we miss out on happiness that can be found there. We miss out on life, and most often true change. That’s the paradox of change.

Three times now, I’ve tried a go at blonde hair. Just once in my life I want to experience the buttery brightness, but every time I see the flaming orange, I panic and go straight back to black — safe and easy, but this time I’m calming myself down, embracing the flame, and trusting in the process. I’ll get the hair color I want, but until then, I’ll wear lots of blues to compliment my hair. If I just enjoy the journey, I’ll be glad I took the time to get there.

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You know, I wish I’d figured out how to trust the process sooner, because I would’ve enjoyed growing as a photographer so much more or found more joy as a new mother, but I’m not looking backward, just to the changes to come.

So, the next time you find yourself wanting to throw in the towel and punch change in the face, remind yourself to trust the process, trust the moment that you’re in, believe that you’re right where you need to be to get where you want to go.

Trust the process, because one day, when you spread your butterfly wings, you’ll be glad you did.

After a summer of dry writing bones, I decided a day late to participate in the October #write31days challenge. I came in with no expectations, no plan, and no need for approval of others. I know I’m not the only one who’s heart waits for likes, followers, and who lives with a secret fantasy of a standing ovation. I know this, because having this kind of approval is a deep longing of the human heart. As Christians, we shame ourselves for selfish and prideful desires and we keep them hidden under a prayer of repentance, but the truth is, we were created with such yearnings. We were made to be beautiful, to be great, to be significant.

Finding Myself on the Approval Train @charitylcraig #write31days

It’s not the longings that are the problem. The problem is where I look to find their fulfillment. For most of my life, I sought for my approval outside of myself, in others. I needed others to tell me I was good enough, beautiful enough, talented enough. It started with my parents, then friends, then society. I was always seeking the nod of everyone outside of myself, and seeking approval of others is a fast and furious train to the outer limits, it’s an the never ending story that never seems to get to it’s destination. It’s super easy to find myself on the train, racing to get to some magical successful station, it’s a sexy promise of significance, of greatness.

The easy counter offer to this miserable ride, is God. I must find my fulfillment in God, and even though I agree with this statement, there’s been an error in this process, because I still have sought for acceptance from out there somewhere. I was still seeking to win the approval of the cosmic God outside of myself. If only I can be good enough, holy enough, pious enough to win the nod of the unseen holy force. If only he will accept me, and if only I can keep his approval, but deep down I believed God was just as fickle as Bieber fans.

It’s not until I turned from outward to inward, did I discover the fountain of fulfillment. The Infinite within me became the source of my approval and my significance, for my very existence reflects my greatness. I don’t need to find fulfillment, but rather I am fulfilled needing to see it. My time on earth is not meant to win God’s approval, I was approved the second my heart beat deep inside my mother. I’m not winning the gaze of God, by pounding my unworthy chest, because I became worthy the second Love exhaled his breath in me, and we became one. I never again have to thank God for letting me off the hook, because I now know I was never on the hook.

I still find myself getting on the approval train often, you know, when I stop believing I’m accepted, and began to look for the nod of others. Now that I’m aware of this, I know it’s nothing to be ashamed of, because it’s a quiet train, one of the modern ultra quiet electric one. It slips into the station, it’s glossy shine lures me in. All I want to do is touch the golden leather seats, and before I know it, the whizzing tracks are lulling me to sleep.

I know when I’m on the wrong train heading in the wrong direction, because I find myself lamenting on my bed, as one who’s lover has left. Depressed, sick, and lonely, I can’t find the fascination I once had. My eyes are no longer awestruck. I’m waiting for more likes, and I keep asking, how does she have so many followers? I know I’m on the wrong train when I began to feel sorry for myself.

October 2, I got off the train again. I showed up to my life and my writing, just for me. I reminded myself that I’m already approved, and I was created to create. For the  month of October, I practiced creating just for the sake of creating. I answered the call of Love to leap over the mountain tops, just because that’s what I needed to do to feel my significance, to feel my greatness.

It was an imperfect month (I mean, I’m even writing this post two days late), but I showed up, and that’s all that matters.

I feel the thrill once again.

… … …

This post is part of the #write31days challenge (that I started a day late), and since I struggled to come up with one topic to write about, I decided to just show up here everyday for me and write. Something. Anything. You can find the entire series here. Also, you can find me on Facebook and Instagram.

30 Days of Showing Up

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I don’t feel like being a grown-up today. I’m done waking kids up for school or fixing breakfast, lunch, and dinner every single day. I don’t feel like fighting with nurturing my children. I don’t want to fold one more pair of underwear or sweep one more pile of crumbs.

I’m don’t feel like being a grown-up today.

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If only there were a ship sailing to Pleasure Island on the days I don’t want to be responsible or stick to a schedule. Isn’t there a support group that meets in a church basement to discuss favorite Netflix shows and eat candy corn? We could call it Anti-grown-ups Anonymous.

I know there’s a life lesson in here somewhere. Probably about discipline or doing the right thing even when you don’t feel like it, but instead I’m just gonna lay here and eat potato chips, and I’m not even going to exercise afterwards, because that’s what grown-ups do, and I don’t feel like being a grown-up today.

I don’t care if the electric bill gets paid or if there’s gas in the car. I don’t want to be bothered with elections, taxes, or grocery shopping. Oh wait. Grocery shopping. I just had to bring that one up, didn’t I? I guess I’ll have to go grocery shopping now, since there’s not much I can make for dinner with a bottle of ketchup, greek yogurt, and last week’s fuzzy leftovers. Oh yeah, and that little thing called child neglect.

I Don't Feel Like Being a Grown-up Today @charitylcraig #write31days

I sit down to scribble down a list, and pretend to care about meal planning, nutrition, and a budget. On my way out the door, my eyes lock on the pile of dishes. The dishes and I stare each other down, in a battle of dominance, but I quickly look away, because we both know who’s gonna win that showdown. I don’t know where they get their stamina, their tenacity, their power over me. As I shut the door behind me, I’m sure I can hear them chuckle, “See you when you get back, sweetie.” 

Heading to the store, I pass Starbucks.

Wow. A Salted Cameral Macchiato sounds ah-mazing right about now. Wish I could have one. Wait one cotton pickin’ second! Who’s gonna stop me? I flip a u-turn and pull up to the drive-thru.

That’s the beauty of being a grown-up.

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This post is part of the #write31days challenge (that I started a day late), and since I struggled to come up with one topic to write about, I decided to just show up here everyday for me and write. Something. Anything. You can find the entire series here. Also, you can find me on Facebook and Instagram.

30 Days of Showing Up

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I love you. Three little words I’ve promised my children every day. There’s not a day that will pass that they won’t hear me utter those words. There’s nothing more important than my kids knowing how deeply loved they are. They must know how valuable they are. There are so many things I proclaim over them, because I don’t ever want them to feel unloved, unworthy, or hated. They must know, so I tell them.

How I Taught My Children to Hate @charitylcraig #write31days

You’re so beautiful. While they watch me hide my imperfect body in shame, and snarl at the reflection I see.

You can do anything you put your mind to. While they watch me bury my dreams, and refuse to take risks.

You’re worthy of love. While they watch me keep myself hidden, guarded, and protected from rejection.

You deserve the best. While they watch me settle for mediocre.

Be brave. While they watch me live in fear.

Take care of yourself. While they watch me give myself away, until I’m depleted, and just a shell of who I am.

I love you. While I say, I hate me.

My children will always know how much I love them, because I never failed to tell them. I never told them that I hated them. I didn’t have to, because I taught them how to say it to themselves.

My love is important, vital, even, to their health and growth, but my love is only half of the coin, because there will come a day when they will no longer sit in the shadow of my wing, there will be a day when I will no longer be the one they seek. There will come a day when my love will not enough, and they will look for love and worth in others — friends, lovers, and their own children.

All these places are wonderful places to seek for love, but the source of this love comes from outside of them, it comes from others, and we know how others can fail. If our children only learn to look to others to define their love, their beauty, their value, then they will be disappointed, because the greatest of people fail.

Instead, if I can teach my children, if I can demonstrate that love, beauty, and value isn’t in the confirmation outside of them, but true love lies in the depths inside each of us. It’s in the well-spring of the human heart that one can find her own beauty, just how loved she is, and it’s within her soul that she can find true beauty.

If I can love myself, find beauty within me, if I drink from the wellspring of life inside of my own heart, then I have taught my children how to look within themselves to find their own value, love, and worth, because when it comes from within, then it can never be taken away from them, and they will never need to wait from someone else to say, “You are loved.”

… … …

This post is part of the #write31days challenge (that I started a day late), and since I struggled to come up with one topic to write about, I decided to just show up here everyday for me and write. Something. Anything. You can find the entire series here. Also, you can find me on Facebook and Instagram.

30 Days of Showing Up

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There’s not one of us who doesn’t understand Fear, who hasn’t embraced him. He’s a tyrannical master who is relentless in his pursuit of us. He keeps us locked in the prison of our own minds, and refuses to loosen his icy grip from our throats. We slip into the darkness of depression, and do our best to claw our way out of quicksand, but our feet are locked in the hands of our inner demon.

Is It Really Fear Who Controls Me? @charitylcraig #write31days

 

We are incapable of pursuing our dreams, because Fear whispers, You’re a failure.

We cling to our loved ones, because Fear reminds us, You’re going to lose them forever.

We protect our heart from love and vulnerability, because Fear asks, And get rejected again?!

We know fear, and we believe him.

Then he whispers, What ifWhat if I get cancer and die? What if I burn in hell forever? What if I never find true love? What if I’m not a good enough wife, mother, Christian, employee, student?

We live our lives ruled by this dark underworld. We cannot see fear, but we can feel him watching us, haunting us. Whispering in our ears, “You’ll never be good enough.” Fear is nothing new to us. This just describes another Tuesday.

Anti-depressants are subscribed at an all time high. Anxiety and Panic attacks are household members, and Insomnia is our bedtime companion. In a desperate moment, we cry out for Jesus to save us. We beg God to come take away our torment. We plead that he will show us a way out. We cope with our darkness with food, alcohol, or pills. We read self-help. We attend the next conference, and line up for prayer. It’s a constant chase, a desperate search for a way to overcome Fear.

Except, true fear is our natural response to a life or death situation. Fear is a life-saving gift, because when I meet a bear in the woods or I meet a thief on the street, fear floods my body, releasing high levels of adrenaline, and in a split second I can decided whether I need to stay and fight or get the heck out of there. Fight or flight — it’s my beautiful response to preserving myself. Fear is not some evil dark force that keeps me locked in an inner prison, fear is the reason why I’m still alive today.

Last time I checked, there aren’t any bears chasing me through my house, and I don’t have a masked man pointing a gun to my face, but I am binge watching Netflix on my couch. So, if Fear is not the one who’s been whispering in my ear, if Fear is not the one who’s kept me locked in my inner darkness, then who have I been living with? Who have I been cuddling with on my couch?

I pause the fourth season of The Walking Dead and heave myself to sitting position. It takes me a second to adjust my eyes to the creature at my feet. After several minutes, with trembling hands, I reach and pull off the mask of my life-long companion.

I stare into the eyes of Self-hate.

… … …

This post is part of the #write31days challenge (that I started a day late), and since I struggled to come up with one topic to write about, I decided to just show up here everyday for me and write. Something. Anything. You can find the entire series here. Also, you can find me on Facebook and Instagram.

30 Days of Showing Up

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