Lessons Learned

I haven’t blogged in a over a month.

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Not because I don’t have anything to write about but because today is the first day that I have had both the time and the energy to sit down at the computer and share my journey.

This last month has brought a smile to my face and helped to strengthen my resolve.

I have reconnected with people from my childhood who have blessed me tremendously, I have learned new skills at work that I am proud of, I recognized some of my weaknesses and am taking steps to strengthen them.

I have gained a fresh perspective on life and it has brought me hope.

In essence I have been learning – I have been growing – and I have been expanding.

Steve Jobs said,

“You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will some how connect in your future. You have to trust in something – your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever.

Well I have taken a moment to reflect back and I have been connecting the dots and I want to tell you that while I don’t have a clear picture I am thankful for each dot.

Yes even the ones that I thought were ugly, too painful, unnecessary and the ones that I spent far more time with then I care to admit.

I thank God for the dots.

This time last year I felt like giving up.

To be honest I think I did give up, but thankfully life didn’t give up on me.

It wasn’t really that I didn’t think that things would get better, it was that I didn’t feel like learning the lessons.

I didn’t want to suffer, I didn’t want to be challenged or to face adversity and I had hoped that maybe I could take a short cut.

I was certain I would make it through to the other side I just didn’t want to do the work.

In the same way that we know that if we exercise and eat right that a healthier body will meet us on the other side, I knew that if I went through the lessons life had to offer that a healthier me was waiting to be unearthed.

I simply didn’t feel like putting in the work of learning the lessons.

I didn’t want to cry, I didn’t want to feel pain, I just wanted the benefits of a healthier me.

But a healthier me required for me to lose some things.

I had to let go of that guy who didn’t mean me well.

I had to let go of those negative thought patterns and limiting beliefs.

I had to find a healthier way to deal with my emotions and stop with the emotional eating (by the way I lost 6 pounds since my last blog post).

Have I gotten to where I want to be in life?

Nope.

But I have gotten to where I am supposed to be.

I still have so much work to do but I am in a better place… a healthier place.

I am happy and at peace in a way I never saw coming.

My laugh is richer than it was before (which is no small feat because I laugh a lot!)

But I have to be honest while I knew things in my life would get better I never thought that this would be my better.

We are told to not grow weary in our well doing.

We are told to exercise our faith.

We are told to believe in ourselves and our ability to achieve greatness.

But this time last year it felt like me walking out on faith landed me right into a sink hole.

It seemed to me that I was doing right and I was treating people right and for my effort I received a box full of wrong.

I was facing challenge after challenge and setback after setback and it seemed like anytime someone would say “well, at least it can’t get any worse” – it did.

I started to believe that I was some type of a martyr. I had convinced myself that I was going through unnecessarily and that I was being unfairly punished. It didn’t occur to me that what I saw as my “failures” were actually setting me up for my greatest successes. At the time I didn’t realize that I was learning things that would help me to become my best self. It wasn’t until recently that I began to see that happen over the past two years that I thought were meant to destroy me have been my greatest blessings.

Those obstacles taught me more about faith.

I may not have the greatest faith, but my faith has increased greatly.

I have grown to respect the fact that my faith could only improve by exercising it.

Because of the adversity I have faced I have also learned not to worry as much as I used to.

And when I find myself worrying I can rest on the truth that I have a 100 percent success rate in God coming through for me.

You know…. it is easy to keep the faith when things are going well and you can see evidence that things are going to get better.

But keeping the faith when people are laughing at you and when you have no inkling of how you are going to make it through the next 24 hours takes a level of perseverance that I don’t believe most of us tap into.

Personally I felt like throwing in the towel.

I wanted to close my eyes, fall asleep and not get back up.

Not so much because I didn’t think things wouldn’t get any better.

I knew God would see me through.

No, I wanted to give up because I didn’t want to endure the pain that comes with growth.

But that pain was indeed necessary.

In two years time my pain included becoming familiar with life as a divorced mother of three teenagers, I quit my career and relocated from Alaska to the southeast part of the United States. I started a business only to have it fall through. I endured the pain of a broken heart from yet another failed relationship. I saw my finances turned upside down and faced my childhood demons along with some other gut wrenching moments.

Forget mountain high I was definitely in the world of valley low.

For a while I thought maybe life was simply trying to humble me.

Perhaps I was too prideful and too ungrateful.

In my naivete I  thought I could circumvent the lessons life was trying to teach me by showing life that I was okay with the humility.

If life was offering me blows then I would show life that I was okay with the pain in the hopes it would let up.

But despite my false humility the blows just kept on coming.

I reached a point where I had to believe God with how I was going to make it from day to day.

I am glad God did that.

It increased my faith tremendously.

It’s easy to believe things will work out when we think we know how we are going to make it.

But what about when you wake up at 8 am and don’t know how you are going to finance yourself for the next 24 hours.

I lived through that and while it wasn’t easy I believe it was necessary to help me to learn that I never have to worry about things like how I will eat for God will most certainly take care of that.

I learned that I may not always have what I want but I will always have what I need.

I also learned to trust myself and I gained a greater spirit of discernment.

Furthermore, I reached a point where I decided I don’t want to settle for poor treatment in romantic relationships and that I am not willing to settle for a relationship that lacks love, kindness, compassion, respect, appreciation and care. I hold myself to a much higher regard now.

While sadly it took me having someone treat me poorly for me to realize that emotional abuse isn’t an option for me any more it isn’t about the process it is about the outcome.

So while the encounter was painful I thank God for that relationship.

I am certain that while I probably did need a fresh dose of humility that my time in the valley was about far more than a lesson in humility. The woman I am today I didn’t know I could become.

I achieved things I didn’t think were achievable.

There are people who would look where I am at and see me as a failure but I know that the level of understanding that I possess about who I am and the love that God has for me makes me great.

I went from believing that I had to settle and not having confidence in myself to growing more secure in myself and increasing my self-worth.

I have started falling in love with me.

And as I began this love affair with myself and to increase my self-worth life started to feel smoother.

I am thankful that when I gave up on life that life didn’t give up on me.

At my lowest point I wanted to just say “that’s it, I gotta split” but life said “yes I knocked you down but it wasn’t for you to quit”.

Life wouldn’t let me give up on me!

I haven’t bounced back and I am not sure that I want to.

What I mean is I don’t think I ever want to go back to who I was.

I was a woman who didn’t believe in herself and who lacked self-confidence.

I was a people-pleaser who didn’t have any boundaries and who had a weak no.

I didn’t really love myself and settled for lower level love because I had lied to myself and convinced a larger part of myself that substandard love was the best I could achieve.

I was a mess on the inside and my life was a mess on the outside.

My health, my finances and my relationships were all suffering because I was suffering.

So no I don’t want to bounce back, I want to change course.

I have been breaking patterns of behavior that has caused me not to live life to the fullest, I have started dealing with my emotions instead of eating my pain and I began to recognize my worth and to set boundaries.

I stumble and I fall but I am getting stronger.

I see some of my flaws but I also know and am exercising strategies on how to improve them.

I am learning to be secure in my insecurities and I am at a beautiful place.

Thankfully while I went through adversity God allowed me to be surrounded by amazing friends and family.

I recognize that many of people don’t have that and that I should be extremely thankful that I was blessed with great friendships so I don’t take the blessing of those relationships lightly.

I think that life gave me those positive relationships because they were a necessary ingredient in me becoming my best self. I firmly believe that whatever it is that a person needs to fulfill their unique life purpose they have been granted.

I know that life gets hard and that there are times when it doesn’t seem to make sense but please know that it will work out for your good.

I have been told that life doesn’t happen to us but it happens for us.

That is hard to believe when a loved one dies, you lose your job and/or receive a bad medical report. But I can tell you that I have seen first hand how things come around full circle.

Sometimes we wonder why we have to go through adversity.

But I have come to learn the mountains aren’t placed in front of us to stop us in our tracks, rather they are placed there for us to strengthen our muscles while we climb them. And as we climb them we release the unnecessary baggage that is holding us back.

I am on my way to a better place and I am thankful for that.

It hurt, I cried and I felt like giving up and yet I am still standing.

It was hard and I didn’t like it but I couldn’t have gotten where I am without it.

Thank God for the trials and the tribulations.

I am still a work in progress and will be until I breathe my last breath but the Renata I am today is in a place that the Renata I was yesteryear was not prepared to step into.

If I don’t lose any weight, if I don’t get my finances back on track or find a romantic partner I have learned that those things don’t define me as a person.

I am not my position, my weight, income or marital status.

I have so much greatness that I am just realizing that I need to tap into and I am so glad that I have come to a place where I am ready to step into the fullness of who I am.

As my schedule eases up it is my intention to start back posting more regularly.

But in the meantime I hope you are able to see that life is not trying to break you, it is trying to make you. Please don’t give up on life because life hasn’t given up on you.

Stay blessed and even though they aren’t always easy learn those lessons that life is diligently trying to teach you.

Renata Nicole

© Renata Pittman Smith, Renata Nicole and RenataNicole, 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Renata Pittman Smith and RenataNicole with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

 

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