Life can be crazy and exhausting. For MANY years I was depressed and hated literally everything about myself and my life. I felt helpless and trapped. I wasn’t though. I wished, longed even — for death. Then I was faced with the possibility of cancer destroying my body and claiming my life. Strangely (considering I wanted to die) I did not rejoice.
I ended up dodging the bullet of cancer as the mass was benign. It was removed and I was declared cancer free. Thank the Lord. You would think that would be the worst thing and there is nothing good about it, however something like that is a great lens. Like the lens of a telescope it brings things into sharp focus. I began to realize some things. For one I did not in fact actually want to cease living. It became clear I just hated many aspects of my life and felt as though they would never change. Being faced with the possibility of death caused me to see that none of that was real.
The second thing I realized was that I wanted to live. That may sound like the first thing but it is not. Not wanting to die and wanting to live are different. I wanted to live. I wanted to go places and do things. I wanted to have friends. I wanted to leave my house and have adventures. I wanted to explore. I had lived in the same town my whole life and hadn’t even set foot in most of the parks. I had never explored Portland (the big city) at all. I had never driven myself to the beach even though it was only two hours away. I hadn’t been camping as an adult. I wanted to fly in an air plane. I wanted to go to Disneyland. I wanted watch the sun rise and set in the same day. I wanted to taste things that I wouldn’t normally taste. I wanted to live, to laugh, to love, to taste, to see, to breathe deep. I wanted to live.
The next thing that became clear was that I wanted to become a wife and a mother. I wanted to fall in love, to have someone fall in love with me and for us to be in love with each other at the same time together. I wanted to create a home for the man I loved. I wanted to craft a sanctuary filled with warmth and peace. I wanted deeply in my heart to raise children with my love that would always know the love of Jesus and how much they matter.
I wanted to change.
I have been working on that change for about eight years and I have to say I am pretty darn happy now. My life is by no means perfect. There are still things I am working on improving. There are still areas that I wish were farther along and “better”, but I kinda like my life and myself.
I have friends and have done a lot of the things I wanted to do that I thought were impossible. I lost over 200 pounds. I gained some back and then lost it… and then gained some back but hey two steps forward and one step back is still one step forward! 🎉 I went to Hawaii and zip lined across a valley 100 feet high! I have become quite familiar with all the parks around my residence. I even gave internet dating a try and acquired a crazy ex! (If aforementioned ex is reading this please don’t comment. I will delete it without reading it. No one knows who you are, and this is not about you.) I also went to Disneyland and many other amazing things I wanted to do. God is so good. He has blessed me with the best tribe of friends on the planet. NONE of the best things I have experienced since that life changing scare would have happened without the people who are in my life: I am not worthy. 😭 ❤️🙏🏼
As for the rest of it the real game changer was learning to do something even when I didn’t want to. NIKE was on to something all those years ago. The house is a mess and I feel like dodo and I don’t want to clean it. Do it anyway. I was a jerk and I don’t want to admit it and apologize. Do it anyway. I don’t want to go to work. Do it anyway. I don’t want to go for a walk. Do it anyway. I don’t want to eat salad again. DO IT ANYWAY! I don’t want to finish my laundry. Do it anyway. I don’t want to get out of bed. Do it anyway. I don’t want to read my bible. DO IT ANYWAY! I don’t want to turn off Netflix and go outside. Do it anyway.
No matter what it is if I need to do it, if it is good for me, if it is important – wanting is irrelevant. I must choose to just do it. Get up and do it anyway. Even if I am tired, even if I am sore, even if I don’t want to, even when I would rather not, I do it anyway.
Am I perfect in this? Heck to the no. Did I just consume and entire day’s worth of calories in one meal? Yes. Yes I did. I am not perfect. I am still figuring it out and fighting against the lazy parts of my personality. I am a work in progress. I still have weight to loose, adventures to have and a whole lot of other things. I still have a life to live.
I will be really honest. Sometimes I get stuck. I think about the things I have yet to do , and things that seem not to be, and I feel like giving up. If I let it, that ocean of depression I once called home will crash over me. Before I realize where my mind is headed I find myself entertaining those thoughts form the dark days when I just wanted to close my eyes and have it all be over. It is annoying how fast I can be there again. After all the things I have done to move past it — 💥bam.
The thing is I can’t dwell on it. Dwelling on it makes it worse. I cannot beat myself up. I have to just change my focus to all the things I have to be grateful for. I have to let go of those thoughts. I have to stand in the sun, breathe deep and choose gratitude. I have to pick up the phone and call my momma and tell her she is important to me. I have to get up and tell one of my friends how much they matter.
I may never have children. I may never be able to build a life with someone, and that home I dream of creating may never exist. I may always be over weight and have pain in my knees. I may always be living on a shoestring and never be able to go running again. If I don’t want to be filled with despair and hate my existence I have to learn to be content. The way to do that is to be grateful. Things aren’t the way the ‘should’ be, and I don’t see how I can be grateful. Do it anyway.
Life is fragile and short. I may not be here tomorrow so I am going to make sure that everyone knows that they matter to me and I am grateful for them. I don’t want to leave any doubt. Also I am going to choose to be grateful everyday. No matter how bad it is there is always something. Most of the time I could trip over the heap of things to be be grateful for. All I have to do is to have eyes to see the blessings in my life. One of them just interrupted me as I was writing this just to call and see how my week was. 😭❤️ I am so blessed.
I could have never imagined the life I have now eight years ago when I was pushing 500lbs basically had no friends and discovered a tumor in my right breast. I faced that trail (save for my momma and the Lord) alone. I have faced trails since and had support all the way through. It is much better that way. I have a completely different life now.
I just want to say to my tribe (you know who you are): you are everything. I am nothing with the Lord and you. All of you. I love you. Thank you for lighting up my life. You mean the world to me. ❤️
So if you are reading this and you want to change but you don’t think you can, do it anyway.
Remember you cal do ALL things through Christ.
©️Rachel Anne Redfield 2018