Chris Carter, my guest today, blogs at The Momcafe. She didn’t know that by writing these thoughts she would also be helping me sort out some serious issues.
Over this past weekend I had a moment, a few hours actually, where I was letting the past trigger extreme anxiety. The anxiety was fueling anger and feelings of betrayal while also destroying my natural happy-go-lucky spirit. Eventually, I found myself sitting in a miserable puddle of feelings that I despised – and the truth of the matter is – I created them!
It wasn’t my friend’s fault I felt pain and anxiety over my past decisions and it wasn’t my other friend’s fault for not understanding the extreme nature of my emotions. I sat at a table among friends, watching them laugh, enjoying each others company and it dawned on me… the only reason I couldn’t join in was because I was shining a light on all the wrong emotions.
I pictured myself a mess of jumbled up puzzle pieces which if taken piece by piece has some undesirable, embarrassing, and truly unflattering bits; but as Chris beautifully describes below they are important to the overall picture of me. I realized I could create a better masterpiece by visualizing what I wanted these pieces to look like to the future me.
We are actively creating the pieces of us… create good.
Thank you Chris!
I can define myself in so many ways. So can you. I like to think of our identity as a miraculous puzzle, as we add piece by piece of who we are as time goes on and life is lived. Much like a puzzle, we slowly form a picture of who we are through the various ways we experience life, and the countless turns that add new descriptive pieces to claim as our own. So many significant pieces fit into our presentation… So many parts we possess. As we grow older, these pieces shift to different places, leaving more room to add another piece we discover about ourselves. We continue to create more sections to add to this masterpiece that is entirely ours to own. Our workmanship is made through each circumstance we encounter and how we allow it to penetrate our lives, our hearts, our perspective.
I have the power to shine my spotlight on any piece of my puzzle I so desire. There are pieces of my life, my heart, and my history that are dark and weak and scary. There are pieces that rise in light, in victory, in love. This magnificent puzzle is the compilation of years gone by, experiences lived, and circumstances beyond my control. There are pieces I formed through shame and anger, pieces created by others who forced their way through- either to hammer down painful lows or gently lift healing highs. Traces of past mistakes or purposeful plans weave pieces that fit into each other, threading the timeline of my life into this masterpiece of me.
I step back to view the entirety of who I am, and I realize that each of these pieces define my unique existence. Some small fragile pieces keep quietly in their corners, rounding out some jagged pieces that are frayed with raw and ragged edges. Some have lighter hues illuminating beauty and substance and depth that is full of life and living victoriously, while other pieces fit harshly empty of color and hope. Some pieces display a haunting past, full of poisonous toxicity and suffocating moments of despair. They exist, and I have the power to shine my spotlight on them at any given time… or not.
The beauty of our masterpiece is having the will to maneuver and manipulate these pieces as we please. Although there are times when we feel vulnerable and victim to those cruel and corroded pieces that sometimes stick out like sharp knives severing the very essence of our work… we can ultimately rise to see the entire masterpiece of who we are and cling to the pieces that give us strength. We can choose to define ourselves with any piece of our puzzle. We can illuminate those pieces that are of value, of worth, of purpose.
Our masterpiece is flawed, but full. Broken, but whole. And when we sit back and marvel at all the pieces we have sewn together over the course of our lives…
We can celebrate each piece that gave birth to the next. Each part that battled it’s way into our existence, or appeared as a gift. It is an ongoing work of our art, like no other. Put the spotlight on any piece you choose, it’s yours to display. It’s yours to build as you go forward in this life, adding piece by piece. You can’t take any away, for each part is precious and purposeful, even the painful pieces are worthy of your art. Sometimes, those are the most powerful ones that inspire more vibrant colors and unique shapes to add.
If you step back long enough to take in the full spectrum of it all…
You just might find that in it’s entirety – the picture you are making is a true treasure, worthy of living.
Worthy of giving.
One piece does not define you. Don’t let it. One piece cannot conquer and dominate the other pieces, unless you give it power. You can share each piece as you wish, and allow them to shine as you please. This is your gift. Celebrate and rejoice in your proclamation, for it is yours and only yours to offer to the world.
Chris Carter is a SAHM of two pretty amazing kids. She has been writing at TheMomCafe.com for four years, where she hopes to encourage mothers everywhere through humor, inspiration and faith.
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