This blog started for two purposes. The first to document our process as we moved toward a more minimalistic lifestyle and ultimately (hopefully) into a tiny home. The second was to figure myself out…again. When you look at downsizing you have to assess what is most important to you. The process forces you to begin prioritizing what really is necessary in your life in a material capacity.
What I have discovered so far is that the physical act of downsizing has a causal effect of self discovery which forces the other aspect of my blog, rediscovering who I am or more importantly…who do I want to be.
I stayed in a very bad marriage for 7.5 years, because I believe people can change. I worked as a probation parole officer for several years, because I believe people could change. Change is not easy but it is possible even for someone with a terrible history. I also know the change has to be a choice, not something ordered by a court or demanded by a loved one. People achieving great change in their lives often need something greater than themselves for support, not to make the decision, to help with the change process. Most find this in some form of faith.
Some of us are more malleable to our environments. We allow circumstances to harden us. I never lost my desire to want to help people, but caution turned to skepticism and skepticism eventually turned to bitter doubt. I stopped seeing positive potential in anyone, including myself. I would say the words but the emotion and belief were absent. I cannot begin to tell you how poisonous this was to my struggling teenage son. My intentions were always good, but when your heart is not in something you cannot be effective. (I cannot express the degree of pain there is in admitting such a failure, even to strangers. Perhaps it will help one of you reading this. In the meantime, I must trust God to forgive me and help me be better for my children from this point forward.)
Speaking of God. I’ve touched on my struggle with faith a few times. I have not blogged in the last week or so because I have been deeply engaged in reading and writing, mostly reading Christian devotionals and my bible. I keep having these ideas. Ideas for study groups with our church. Ideas for skits and plays for the youth group. (I used to write plays and skits for church years ago.) My mind is turning with all sorts of ideas. I do not know if it is divine inspiration or if it is my busy mind cranking ideas because I am stimulated by new material in a new environment. The more I pray, I keep having these thoughts of situations, grim situations that would throw my family into complete chaos. Again, I don’t know if it is God preparing me, or my mind creating obstacles and problems out of the concerns I am praying over. I have not grown enough in my reconnection with my faith and my walk with God to know the difference. So I pray more. I read my Bible more. I feel guilty if I miss my devotional in the morning before I leave for work. It is becoming a habit…a good habit.
I mention this struggle with my faith because at 18 I had plans to attend a Bible College and go into the ministry. Within just a few months, I was in community college planning to pursue a career as anything that would make a big paycheck in the field of law or business. I went from altruistic intentions to materialistic goals in record time. I should clarify that I graduated high school, married 3 weeks later and was moved out of my parents home, then started college two months later. I went from the comfort and security of my parents into a rocky marriage complete with an unreliable car and an apartment with rats in the basement. My environment and circumstances diverted my goals.
I am reassessing myself. It feels like a daily process now. Frankly, it is exhausting. It is necessary for my happiness and the happiness of my marriage, family and every facet of my life. This self assessment has made me focus much more on what I have to be thankful for in my life. Trust me, the Gallien house is no pleasure cruise, we are sailing on some seriously choppy seas, but we have each other.
So, I suppose the big question is what have I learned so far in the rediscovery of me? (1)The girl I used to be still exists, she is older, wiser, a little less naïve. Once the wall comes down I am still as tender hearted as I ever was. I hate that I cry over everything, I can’t hide my emotions. (I’m trying to make peace with this aspect of my personality. My Granny whom I hope to be more like in the future wore her heart on her sleeve and cried every time she told someone thank you. She cried because it was heart felt. I have to get passed feeling like it is a sign of being weak. It is a sign of sincerity.) (2) I find great peace in my faith. Not my church or denomination…in my faith in God. When I pray or listen/sing Christian music it gives me peace and guidance I cannot put into words. I cannot begin to tell you how many times in the last few weeks my daily devotion has lined up with exactly what I was struggling with on that day, in that moment. I believe God lead us to the Church we are attending, especially since we were headed somewhere completely different that morning. I KNOW he is guiding me, I just have to get tuned in better so I can pick up on it better. (3) This is a big one. I have to forgive. I have to forgive myself for not measuring up. I have to forgive people that have wronged me. How? I’m still working on that, but it starts with prayer. I don’t say the name everyday, but my ex-husband is in my prayer journal, so are others that have injured me. (4) Trusting in God is tough. I like to have a plan and God kinda likes to look at our plans and laugh. Granny used to say that was because our plans were too small. It’s hard seeing how obstacles will give God glory and make us better, but hind sight that is how it always works out.
This was lengthy and not as tongue in cheek as I normally am, but some things require tears instead of laughs. Examine yourself, your direction. Are you the person you want to be? When you examine yourself honestly (not your appearance, bank account or other material or surface facets) do you like what you see? If not, start making a change. We can all do it.