Here goes… I rather be by myself than with people. Can you relate?
I am not the most social butterfly in a group. But, if you throw me in one of those teams your professor assigns you to in college to work collaboratively on a project… I will, without a doubt, end up being the person the team assigns as the leader. I’ve learned to be confident about leading. Nevertheless, those of you that are inevitably like me know that leadership is sometimes lonely.
From the time I was a teenager and into my early twenties, I use to be very active in my local church’s youth group. When I look back into my facebook albums, (which, FYI, was a thing before instagram) I find pictures that remind me of beautiful times.
With those crazy young kids we laughed, we cried, we were bold about our faith and lived experiences that I honestly believe have shaped us into the adults we are now. The majority of the people in those memories are now simply friends and followers… but there are some that… became family.
I went through a very dark season in my life. I didn’t like myself at all. For years, I couldn’t figure out the difference between who I was and who I was “suppose” to be. I constantly compared myself with others and always felt like people compared me as well. So, while others worked on building friendships, I sat at home, by myself, working on the next excel sheet for our upcoming youth event.
I was a leader but I lacked relationship. That led me to feeling unworthy and incapable… and so I quit. I quit at everything. I quit at volunteering, I quit at friends, I quit at believing I had a purpose in life. All I did was the bare minimum; the bare minimum plus being a mom and, at the time, a wife.
I tried to do life alone thinking, if I’m not around people and they have no expectations of me, then I won’t fail. Here’s the bottom line though, the most important thing in life is people.
Not an event. Not a report. Not the gym. Not Netflix. Not food. Not rocky road ice cream… ha! Shall I go on? I was missing out because I was focusing on me instead of on the people I was gifted to have beside me. If I had a chance to live that season of my life again, I’d do it differently but it’s not something I wish for.
See, if I hadn’t lived it that way back then… well, I wouldn’t be speaking from experience now. Looking back at my old train-of-thought reminds me of some simple truths. Here they are:
Invest in the people you love.
I have to admit, I launched this blog because a friend invested in me. I’m one of those crazy people that order stuff online all the time. One afternoon though, I got a package in the mail that I wasn’t expecting. It had my name on it and I immediately scanned my mind and my orders in the Amazon app to see if I had bought something and forgot about it. Nope. I hadn’t ordered anything. I opened my mystery package to find a book by Rachel Hollis called “Girl, Stop Apologizing”. Here’s the note that came with it:
Dianis, this author reminds me of you, your drive, dreams and potential. God put it in my heart to gift you this book and remind you that He made you exactly as you need to be – able and strong. So stop apologizing and conquer! Love you! Lauris
My heart. It took me a while but I’ve finished the book. So I want to dedicate this, my very first blog post, to my friend Laura.
Lauris: you are gold. You’ve changed my life by being in it. Thank you for believing in me and for taking the time to invest in me. I love you.
You know that trend where you go to the Starbucks drive-thru and you pay for the order of the car behind you? Well it only seemed appropriate in this story. I literally just went on Amazon and bought “Girl, Stop Apologizing” and am having it mailed to another one of my closest friends. Invest in your circle loves!
Stop comparing yourself.
Clearly, it’s easier said than done. You know what? I probably still battle with this from time to time… it’s so exhausting.
I have this friend that use to be my nemesis. She really wasn’t… but in my mind she was and that’s what counts. Every time that she accomplished something, I immediately judged myself for not being able to do the same.
The thing though, is that she always, always, always offered me her friendship. She’s always made it to my birthday, she’s present in every major event since I was 15 years old and in some of the hardest transitions in life, she was there for me. Instead of allowing her to be an encouragement in my life, I allowed my discontentment to smudge our friendship.
One day I said enough is enough. I will never have her accomplishments, I will never have her calling, I will never have her purpose because: I. Have. My. Own! (add clap emojis in between those words! hehe)
I decided to stop comparing myself and embrace my own gifts, talents and purpose. Since then, I’ve been able to enjoy our friendship like I never could before. The problem wasn’t her… it was me!
Maybe you don’t have a nemesis but you do have a girl online that you wish you could own her life. Let me be your friend and tell you… stop it! You are enough. You are capable. You are talented. You have your own purpose and your own life. Refuse to compare and watch your perspective of life shift like never before.
Alright, I can’t believe I actually got teary-eyed a couple of times while writing this. So believe me when I say it came from my heart.
All I have left to say is a reminder: Create a life you love… a life by YOU!