I’ve struggled with writing this post for some time. For several reasons, I think. The largest one being pride. The second largest one being vulnerability.
2014 was unabashedly one of the hardest years I’ve encountered. Never before did I think I could encounter so much failure and heartbreak in less than 9-10 months – all being emotionally and physically draining. In the spirit of moving forward and letting go of a lot – specifically 2014 – the next few paragraphs may be overshare… but whatever, it’s my blog and I’ll cry if I want to.
I can’t remember a time when my heart was truly broken as an adult – until this year. Sure – I’ve been in other relationships that were special and are a part of my memories and experiences. But this year, I experienced the kind of heartbreak that sneaks in and pulls at every corner of your thoughts and emotions. I found myself desperately wanting to erase the time that caused it and being easily angered. Not to mention, there were several moments of deep sadness. For someone who rarely allows the emotional thing to creep in and do what it can do, my world was slightly turned on its head. It was a valley I didn’t expect to be in; but a dear friend reminded me that every valley has a mountaintop. Heartbreak sucks… but, I can honestly say I learned so much from the situation. I learned more about myself… what I’m capable of… and most importantly, what I want. Cue Noah from The Notebook screaming “What do you want?”
Last week, I came across this article: Seven Things I Learned from Staying Single. As I read it, I found myself nodding vigorously. I learned every single lesson on that list (specifically No. 6, but that one is another blog post entirely). Not only did I have personal experience with them all – but I’m here, better because of it. And not only am I better because of it – I’m simply happy with how God has brought me out of that valley.
This year was also the year I experienced what it means to fail – miserably. If you search this blog back to early 2013, you will see that I talk about my APR designation several times. I was floored by how encouraging and nurturing the readiness review process was, and it went down as one of the most exciting moments in my career (see… I can pick out the high points). When I was advanced to the exam stage, I smothered myself in the study guide, flash cards and extra reading and case scenarios. I studied like I’ve never studied before… and then I took the test. And I failed.
I failed a test – by three points.
Sometimes I still have to say it out loud. It’s a gut check and a big dose of humble pie.
I spent several hours snot crying. You know… the kind of crying that’s just really embarrassing? That was me. And even though I decided to retake the test, I spent the last several months avoiding the topic. I underestimated everything and I worked myself up to a place where I couldn’t think straight or clearly for that matter. I also believe that I needed to go through the last half of the year to really understand and grasp several concepts. Last week, I re-registered to take the exam again and by March… I’ll not only face the test – I’ll pass (I hope).
And because all things come in sets of three – dislocating my shoulder had every opportunity to break me. I wish I could really explain how GOOD I felt on September 1. I mean, really good. I was in great shape. I was riding my bike 3-5 times a week. I had finally moved up to a larger KB weight in outdoor and I had just started my indoor Versus journey. I tried to have a good spirit about it – but I was devastated. There were several mornings where I watched peers do the things I wanted to do. I have never wanted to do a burpee so bad (you know it’s bad if that’s the go-to for desire).
A single second destroyed nine months of solid, consistent work. I am lucky. I know it really could have been worse. I could have broken something… or it could have been my head that hit the rock, but it wasn’t. Coming out of it, I find myself most thankful to be a part of an amazing community that continued to encourage me. I was reminded often that I wouldn’t conquer Rome in a day, but I would with time.
Today marks 16 weeks since that day – and this morning, I completed the 12 Days of Versus workout without any modifications. I still have so much work to do, but today was a small victory in the battle.
Three big months in the world of me learning my strengths, weaknesses and ability to persevere.
At Ekklesia Sunday night, Mike spoke about the unexpected moments in life. He touched on several points – all poignantly made – but mostly for how we tend to be picky about the interruptions in our lives. I was not ready for any of my grand plans to be interrupted. I, very simply, was not ready to have my plan take a detour or even a different path all together – but it did… and I survived.
I am okay with seeing 2014 go, but I’m learning to not look at it with such disdain. I’m learning to appreciate what it did for me. In the last quarter of 2014, I’ve experienced more excitement and change than I ever imagined… and the outlook for 2015 seems to be amazing. I, for one, am excited to see how it goes. And if it happens to look like 2014 (and let’s all hope it does not), I’ll be better prepared to deal with it.
What doesn’t kill you – will always make you stronger.
Getting gutsy is all about stepping outside your comfort zone to reach your goals and live a life that makes you truly happy. This post is my entry for Jessica Lawlor’s Get Gutsy Essay Contest. To get involved and share your own gutsy story, check out this post for contest details and download a free copy of the inspiring Get Gutsy ebook.