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Have you ever had one of those moments where you connect several coincidental events and feel like you are getting a message? I haven’t really had one that I can remember. But recently I heard the phrase “I am set free” in different ways throughout my morning. At 6 am I was singing a song stuck in my head, trying to see if my husband knew what song I was talking about but all I could remember was “I am set free ooooooo”. He had no idea. Haha…… At church during worship they were singing a song I don’t know what it was called but the chorus is “I broke the chains now I am free”. When I actually started to think about this idea of being free in that moment I started sobbing. I thought, “I am truly free”… I don’t need to listen to the negativity in my head or the” I can’t do this” or “I’m depressed”. I don’t need to listen to the guilt and shame that rise up inside of me. “I’m a bad parent”, “I’m not good enough” I don’t need to be afraid. I am set free. It was only when our pastor was talking about worship music and how powerful it can be, that it clicked for me that that phrase was on my heart that day. Then I cried even more. I don’t know if they were tears of joy or sadness. I think part of me felt grateful to realize I am free. And another part of me was sad I never knew it before.

I have always had issues with feelings. Most of the time I don’t know how to express how I’m feeling or why. Sometimes I cry and I don’t know why or I laugh at something that’s not really funny. Don’t even get me started on anger, I don’t even know how to be angry. I have been through some tragedies and I always find ways to numb my pain. It’s very difficult to feel when you have always been told not to cry. Not to experience or express your feelings.

I disconnect from people and isolate myself. Sometimes I’ll have a drink to take the edge off. I love TV and could watch it for days to hide from reality. I’ll stay busy and keep my schedule full to avoid thinking or feeling. The more busy I am the less time I have to talk to that person I’m avoiding or share some of the pain I am going through with a friend. I like to keep all of that inside to avoid any conflict or questions and to keep telling myself they don’t care or want to know. The more I do this the further away from the truth I get. The further down that dark hole I fall until it seems nearly impossible to get out and all the hope is gone. It’s pretty scary being in that place, alone. Your mind tells you no one will understand, no one cares so keep quiet. Or don’t burden people with your problems, or stop complaining to people.

If you let your mind run with these thoughts you are starting to box yourself in until everything is black and you can’t find the light. If you are feeling this way I want you to know that you are LOVED…. You are LOVED just the way you are. For all your flaws, strengths and eccentricities. Your people (those that care deeply about you and love you for you) want to hear your pain and want to help you break free. They want you to know that you are free.

I want you to know you are not alone. This is one of the hardest posts for me to write because it is so near and dear to my heart. I’ve been there, I’ve given up, I’ve been lost, I’ve lived in darkness. It is so scary to even think about that place and going back there. But I have faith that I will continue to gather my weapons and have them when I need to fight again. I pray I can find the light and be the light for others in darkness.

I dare you to stop for a minute and examine your life. Is there anything you are doing to numb your feelings or avoid a situation? If you do realize you are just going through the motions of life and not fighting or confronting or living, tell someone that loves you for who you are and cares deeply for you. Don’t listen to all the fear running through you. Be vulnerable, break down those walls. If you do, I believe you will take a step towards daring greatly.

Today I would like to talk about food photos. Man, I love them. Often they are pretty incredible and make the food just look mouthwatering. My only problem is I forget to take them. Or when I remember the food is all gone. I am always to eager to eat and rushing. So I decided half eaten food photos are awesome.

Half Eaten Food 1

My half eaten lunch. Salad with Quinoa crusted chicken and Bolthouse Farms Ranch dressing

Half Eaten Food 2

The remnants of quinoa crusted chicken parmesan

If you are constantly seeking perfection you will always lose. I only recently realized how much of a perfectionist I truly am and how important it was to me in my life. Or I guess I never noticed how my actions and thoughts were always geared toward perfection. If I took some photos and they weren't what I had envisioned and technically had issues, then the whole shoot was a waste in my mind. I constantly degrade my photography because I tell myself my clients don't like my photos and they aren't good enough. I say no to new adventures, ideas, or dreams in fear because I can't control the outcome. I have been rude and ungrateful when someone has done something nice for me but not in the way I wanted it done, such as the laundry. I am often critical without even thinking..... like when my husband does an errand for me and forgets something. Somewhere in my life I lost who I am and started being what everyone wanted me to be, constantly focusing on what everyone will think if I wear this or do that. I couldn't make decisions in fear of others approval, because my own ideas weren't good enough.

These are all traits of a perfectionist and it can tear you apart. It can rip those joyful moments from you and blur your vision to see only the negatives. The attempt to obtain perfection can hold you back from living life and cause you to be unseen. And there is so much shaming done in the process. I should have done this, I can't do that, I'm dumb and I'll always be dumb. The reality of the darkness I have been in, almost brings me to tears. But the most wonderful thing is God is showing me I am enough. My thoughts are enough. My body is enough. My work is enough. I am beginning to embrace the cracks in my life. All the things I always saw negatively, I am accepting. I will always be tall, have no boobs, birthing hips, endless stretch marks and zits on my face and I don't always do a good job taking care of my kids and we don't always eat well or organic, I am a space cadet and totally unorganized but all of that is reality and I am embracing it. That is me, the wonderful way I was made and I am so grateful to God. I will never be perfect and realizing that is awesome. I feel a weight lifted from my soul, but still need reminding daily to break free from these habits.

So join me in sharing your half eaten food photos.. Join me on my journey of learning to live wholeheartedly. Join me in being REAL.

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