I’ve Grown Five Ways

This is Brittany. She's my neighbor and friend. I'm lucky enough to live by people who I like. Here's the short version of Brittany's bio- she a driven Ironman (yep- she actually did two Ironman races!), an armature French bakery chef (if you meet her- try the chocolate souffle), and an honest grower (she's doing the hard work of letting God shape her).  I asked her to reflect on 5 ways she's grown this year (you can read my intentions here).  Below is her response.  How have you grown this year?  Happy growing!

The past 12 months have been a roller coaster. I have experienced more emotional highs and lows than in any other season of my life. There were many great moments of achievement, celebration, and success, but also so many tough moments of truth telling, conflict, and hard decisions. I think that I have changed a lot over the past year and some of it is the result of a lot of work on my part and some of the changes have shown me that even small victories matter.

1 I have started to like myself...with all my quirks. This change has started with a commitment to stop comparing myself to others. Someone else will always be prettier, thinner, kinder, funnier, or more successful than me. I have to stop comparing what I have, my job, my life, and even my marriage against what others have. Most of what we see is just surface anyway and we do not know the story behind their lives. I have started to walk into a room and just be myself. It is actually really fun. No more looking over my shoulder to check who is watching or who else is in the room. I am going to just showing up as myself because that is the best that I can bring.

2 I have started to say No when asked to do something that I really do not want to do. This has freed me up to do more of the things I want. A wise person told me that “No” is a complete sentence. Can you help do this? "No." Can you volunteer at this? "No." Can you just do one more thing? "No." There are so many good things that I could spend my time doing, but they do not bring me joy. When I go for a run or a long bike ride on a beautiful sunny day, that makes me feel alive. When I have coffee with a trusted friend or cook dinner with the people I love most, then I feel happy and relaxed. When I show up to lead my small group of high school girls and see how they are growing and learning to trust God just a little more, then I know I am right where I should be.

3 I have slowly been letting people in and showing them the real me. This means sharing the parts of my story that I usually kept to myself. Letting them in to the details of my story that I was too scared to share before or that just felt too difficult or too vulnerable. In sharing the difficult things, these friends have loved me well. I have even asked them questions and gained perspective from listening to their stories. I have spent decades running from my story. Not anymore. This quote from Dr. Brene Brown is so true, "Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it". I am starting to own my story. It is mine. It has shaped me, but it does not define my future.

4 I am working on being brave. Doing hard things. Speaking up for myself. Call it what you want, but I am starting to take control of my life and do those things that I have been too scared to do before. Example, write a blog post. I read a lot. I love to read books, magazines, blogs, online articles, and the more I read, the more I want to write, but the thought of writing almost paralyzes me. FEAR. There it goes again holding me back. I do not have this figured out, but I know the feeling of doing that which used to scare me and now I feel empowered, capable, and strong.

5 I have grown in compassion and empathy because of experiencing my own hard things. I have experienced significant loss over the past year. Now, when other people share about their losses, whether it is a pet, a significant person in their life or a tough situation, I can listen well and look at them with a deep understanding in my eyes. It is tough. They will be missed. You will be sad. But tomorrow the sun will still come up and God will give you breath to experience both the sorrows and the joys of another day.


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