Each year I like to reflect on what has changed. It gives me an opportunity to give the glory to God, to celebrate, and see how much things have changed. And each time I am left in awe. This year is no different. The year before, 2014, was all about finding my voice. learning that it was okay to share, to open up and that it could make a difference. This last year has been about growing in consistency, confidence and learning what it means to be more than a conqueror.
Growing in consistency. This is what I prayed to God about wanting to change. That I didn’t want everything to be a roller coaster, I wanted to reach a point where I could go from victory from victory. And while there are still lows and bumps in the road, it has changed. The biggest factor was consistency on my part in being in the Word, being vulnerable, and seeking God first. It has been learning to run to him, curl up in his arms and be held. That sometimes my job and role isn’t to control the storm, but to allow Him to provide shelter as it passes. I had many times of low, but I have had some amazing stretches, August-September, and the middle of November to mid December. Both times at least a full month of great sleep. I look back and this I know is evident of progress, because I wasn’t able to sleep 3 years ago, 2 years ago I wouldn’t have thought I would make it more than a night or two of good sleep, a year ago it was still more nights of nightmares. This year I can say that I expect more good nights of sleep than bad. And that is a victory.
Learning to be more than a conqueror is not just hoping that it is going to be okay but knowing that it will be. It’s learning that I don’t have to stay stuck, I may not have had a choice in what happened that night, but I have choices now. And I don’t have to turn to the old coping skills, to the destructive ones. I can turn to God, I can write, reach out to friends, listen to music, put oils on, watch a movie, and a number of other options. Being a conqueror is never giving up and trying even when the odds aren’t in my favor.
My most recent challenge has been walking in the snow to and from my car at work. I have to walk about 6 blocks. The last couple of years there was minimal snow and so it wasn’t as much of an issue. But this year it has been snowing and accumulating. The weather this month has been a trigger. It triggers a racing heart, a lump on my throat, knot in my stomach, a headache, tight muscles and exhaustion afterwords. The part that is crazy is I know that I am safe, I know that I have made the walk many times without incident. The problem is that isn’t what my body thinks the two are disconnected. The best way it has been described to me is that my alert system is broken, that all the elements, the cold, the dark, the snow, the colors in the sky, the cars driving by all triggers that alert system and it doesn’t trust that I am safe. This would be useful if there was actual danger but since there is not it is confusing, tiring, unnerving and is anxiety going through the roof. So, while this is something I hate and dread, I know I am okay, I am going to make it through. I also know that eventually this will not be a problem but I have to keep pressing through. I also know that on the days that I can’t handle it, or it seems too much God will show up in one way or another, whether it’s a day of rest, someone being there, unexpected peace, or Him simply holding me through it weeping and feeling all that I am and He says I already defeated this. That is how I know I’m a conqueror, I know the end, and spoiler alert it’s that I am going to overcome.
This next year is going to be a year of change. It’s going to be a year of starting to really stand on my own, with job applications going out, looking towards getting out on my own, and learning to speak without my voice shaking. This is going to be a year where my voice goes from a whisper, or a quiet voice that quakes to a voice that is strong, one that has confidence, a voice that stands up and says I am here and this is what I have to say. That is what this next year is going to be and I am ready for the adventure and for the changes. I know that with God going ahead of me, I get to run behind him just like a little girl chasing her father full of excitement just trying to keep up in awe and wonder, but walking with confidence because my Father is in the lead. And I wouldn’t want it any other way.