I had a fire lit under my butt this past weekend.
As I was driving back from my hometown for the holidays, the long car ride and the absence of my son, gave me time alone. Usually I do my best thinking when I’m cleaning, but as I was listening to the Mama Mia! Here We Go Again soundtrack in the car (don’t judge) I started to wonder why I wasn’t the care-free, strong, and confident woman I wanted to be like the main character, Donna. Granted she’s a fictional character, but even the fictional greats like Elizabeth Bennet, Hermione Granger, and Aelin Galathynius have given me something to aspire to. A version of someone I saw as smarter, more courageous, or more confident than myself. And in that moment, I admired them.
As I drove back home, I started to imagine the woman I wanted to be. Confident, happy, ambitious. A woman so focused and happy just being herself, that nothing else mattered. Not the bad marriage, or the failed relationships, or the struggling finances. But a woman so focused on helping others, on sharing her story, and connecting with other people, that all of the other crap just melted away. Because when I close my eyes, that’s the woman I want to be.
But then I open them.
And almost immediately I’m overwhelmed and disappointed because I don’t think I’m that person, yet. I’m discontented with my reality and discouraged thinking it’ll never change. I’ll always be less-than what I want. Always grasping.
To be fair, I don’t think I’m done baking yet. I’m still cookie dough waiting to be cookies and the in-between phase can be frustrating.
But here’s the slap in the face, “Aha” moment.
I am in complete control of who I become.
If I want to be the confident, strong woman who is so happy just doing ME, that’s up to ME. I once heard my Pastor say God builds the car and puts you on the road, but you’re behind the wheel. I can’t just sit in the car wishing I was farther down the road or at my destination without ever taking the journey. I’m responsible for my own happiness. I’m responsible for what I do with the gifts, talents, and blessings God has given me. And in this season of singleness, I have the opportunity to figure it out.
In the Bible, Christ tells the parable of the three servants who were given varying amounts of silver. The servant who invested the money was praised by the master, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.” (Matthew 25: 21). But the servant who was too afraid to invest in what God had given was scolded, ” ‘You wicked and lazy servant!” (Matthew 25:26). The master then demanded the money be given to the servant who invested in what God had provided saying, “To those who use well what they are given, even more will be given, and they will have an abundance. But from those who do nothing, even what little they have will be taken away.” (Matthew 25:29)
It is our responsibility to invest in the blessings of God. If I have goals I still want to achieve, or ways I still want to serve God, it’s up to me to get over my own inhibitions, fears, and complacency to fulfill those goals. If I want to be happy and fulfilled, it’s up to me to identify my weaknesses, grow my character, and be at peace with the past. We are in charge of our own happiness. We decide if we let the actions of others steal our joy. We decide if you we let our scars define us.
And I get it, as a single mother with a more than full-time job, my list of to-dos tends to grows faster than I can check them off. And sometimes I want to give up before I even start because most of the time I’m exhausted. I inadvertently let the enemy convince me I can’t do it because it’s easier than overcoming my discomfort. Sometimes, it’s easier listening to his lies, instead of God’s truth. Because the truth is if I have enough time to binge watch “The Great British Baking Show” I for sure have enough time to use this one life God has given me to grow my character, strengthen my faith, and live every bit of life to the fullest. If I want to be the person I see when I close my eyes, that’s up to me.