I started to write this blog post about my travels to Rome, but I only got one paragraph into it. I thought that I needed change the direction of it. Since I’ve been traveling solo, I’ve had a lot of time to think and reflect on my life and I kind of think I need to share some important stuff.
So, first of all, I recently reconnected with an old friend from high school. I had never told her how much she has inspired me and how much she meant to me. But I never told or showed her that properly until recently. And as I was typing out this message to her, some messages from 2009 came up on our chat. I reread them and I was horrified at the person I was back then. But it also scared me, because I could still see glimmers of this person in myself today.
Another thing that got me thinking was when I uploaded some new photos to my Facebook page today. After uploading them, I decided to shuffle through my old photos, so I started from the beginning of my photos and flipped through. As I looked at them, I could remember the memories, but mostly, I remembered the feelings. I remembered how unhappy I was. I remember how ugly I always felt. Most of you probably know that I struggled with a serious bout of anorexia toward the end of middle school and beginning of high school. As I relived these images and all of the photos on my Facebook profile, I could remember the exact amount that I weighed in each of photo, because it has always been such an ingrained part of my life.
So you’re probably wondering…so what? What does this have to do with your solo travel time thoughts? What does it have to do with the person you are today? Well, here’s the thing. I think that my battle has always been this deep and innate fear that people don’t love me, they won’t accept me and I have this power to change that. If I’m skinny enough, pretty enough, talented enough, I can change how people view me. I don’t think I’m alone in this struggle, but let me just tell you. I could never make people love me enough. Nothing is ever enough to get the approval and acceptance that I crave, because people are human. And we weren’t made to be fulfilled by humans.
See, I can preach this to myself all day long. And some days I do get it right. I know what the right answer is. I know the answer is that we’re created to be fulfilled by God. But for so long, I still struggled with this concept, even though I knew God and I knew the right answers for how to make myself feel better. So I guess this time has given me so time to reflect. I’ve still messed this up so much while over here, if not more. Being displaced has cause me to feel more insecure than I ever have in my life and I definitely searched for this fulfillment through humans again, to only be let down again.
Yet, this time has also made me feel more confident in myself than I ever have before. This time has truly taught me to rely on God at times, when I literally have no one around to help me out or listen to me. I have spent the past three weeks with no other humans that I know, but I’ve hardly felt lonely. I think this is because I know that I always have a Provider and Friend by my side. And I’m not saying this to be flowery or to say the right thing. Because I can’t do that anymore. I’m saying it because it is very, very real to me.
Growing up, being a Christian was the easy thing to do. That’s what everyone else in my small town did. So, like I said before, I’ve always known the right things to say and do to get people to like me. Going through high school, being a Christian was the way to do that. Yeah, I have always believed in God and trusted in Him with my life, and that is enough. But, now I’m at this place in my life where being a Christian is not the easy thing to do. It’s actually the hardest thing. And, I’m actually really, really terrible at doing hard things. I don’t like to make people not like me. We’ve established this.
This craving to please people and answer my question of “Am I good enough?” has caused me to not always hold true to my footing, to say and do things that I don’t necessarily want to do or believe in, in order to please people and be accepted. But these past three weeks have been an incredible time for me. I know that if people reject me, that’s stupid. Because I’m an awesome person. Spending this much time with myself has caused me to fall in love with myself. And I don’t mean that in an egotistical way. I mean, I like my humor. I like wandering off the beaten path. I really love sunshine and flowy skirts. I love to smile and make people smile back. I would rather be in a garden than in a museum. I like the English language and I really love free walking tours. Yes. These are silly things, but the point of this is that I’m not afraid of rejection (right now, at least). I don’t feel like I need to put my energy into people that aren’t going to put energy into me, because I have myself. And I have a God who loves me.
So I publish this now, fully aware that this is largely based on feelings. I feel confident right now, that I can stand my ground and stick to my beliefs. Yet, I know I’ll mess it up again. Because I’m human. I’ll be attacked with my own thoughts and self-doubt again, because that is a lifelong struggle. But, I feel really great right now and the best part of this all is that the God we serve, our Creator, is a God of Grace. He wants to extend a FREE gift to us, one where we don’t have to be perfect. Because then we just need Him more. He knows that I’m a hot mess, but He smiles on me, because it makes me rely on Him more.
So, thanks for listening to my rant. I promise, I will write about Rome too. I just wanted to give you a glimpse into some of the things I’ve been pondering and learning over the past couple of weeks.