Trauma is No Joke #Confessions #NotAnAprilFoolsJoke #FaithThroughDarkness

This past week has been one where I’ve really had to fight the demons of doubt and fear. It been difficult and I’ve felt myself retreating. It’s not like this hasn’t happened before. It’s just been a while since I’ve been on a cycle this rough. (Thank God for that!) Once I realized what I was doing I became frustrated. I don’t want to pull inward and away from everyone. My goal has been to find ways to be more vulnerable and honest. I don’t like to go in the opposite direction of my goals. It irritates me.

Regardless, I spent Thursday this week wanting to do nothing but lie on my couch and do nothing. (Which is NOT me at all.) And then the tears started. I cried Thursday morning went out and forced myself to get some work done and then returned home to find myself crying again. *insert eye roll*

Yesterday I woke up in a much better place and had a good day until I didn’t. Sometimes unexpected things happen (or don’t happen) and it tips the scale you’ve been working so hard to keep balanced.

Trauma. Sometimes things get thrown into your path and that trauma trigger flips your switch. It flipped mine, and in the moment it completely shut me down. From the outside, it’s not too noticeable but on the inside nothing but empty. It’s like someone hit the pause button on me. No thoughts. No feelings. Nothing. While a part of me knew this was happening, that voice of reason wasn’t strong enough to formulate a reaction. It shut down my ability to cope in that moment. Shock had wrapped me up again in its tight grip.

As my world slowly rebooted hours later, I started to realize what was happening to me. As understanding unraveled, those old feelings of dread, those fears, the realities I’ve experienced settled in. The tears came once again. And I was frustrated because again I was wounded. When you’re in pain, it’s difficult to be reasonable. It’s hard to see the light. It’s even harder to have faith. And then come the wicked thoughts. In the midst of loneliness, dread, and fear, I tried to pray again.

When shock had set in earlier, I couldn’t pray. That scared me. Thankfully, later on I was able to pray again but it felt flat and whiny but I tried to talk to God anyway. I resorted to praying for those I love instead of for myself because I had no idea what to ask for or what I needed to help myself but praying for others was much easier.

After a phone call with a good friend and a few more prayers I went to sleep. I woke up at 4:00 am in tears. Once they’d ran their course and sleep wasn’t returning, I picked up my notebook hoping writing words on the page would settle myself enough to sleep again.

I wrote, “I try my best not to dwell in the past. Obviously, I know what I’ve lived—the hardships and the victories. Sometimes it’s hard to swallow the trauma…waking up at 4:00 am in the same dark room I’ve faced many demons in, the same dark room my heart bled night after night in, it’s hard to ignore that ‘muscle memory.’”

There’s this part of me that was disappointed in myself for my reaction. Because I had it in my head that after writing Shine, I’d found a place to capture those demons. I didn’t need to relive their darkness anymore. I thought I’d successfully put that part of me up on the shelf. It’s true that book has allowed me to heal and move forward beyond my expectations. It just sucks when the trauma resurfaces. That loss of self-control and the shock in that moment yesterday, it wounded me again. By hurting me again, it was as if a voice shouted, “You’re not as free as you think you are. I still have power over you.”

In the darkness of night and early morning, I felt disappointed in myself. Irritated that I was human. But this morning, writing this post it reminds me of how wrong that wicked voice is. Because if my trauma still had power over me, I wouldn’t be able to get up and write a blog post for the world to read. I wouldn’t be able to click share and let you see all my vulnerable pieces.

People often wonder how I can be so happy especially when I don’t have “everything I want.” Believe me, sometimes I question my peace and joy. How can I be so happy when there are still so many things I want for my life? I’ve got a two part answer for you—it’s God and it’s faith. God grants me this peace and the more I seek Him the greater it becomes. And faith is all about hoping and believing for what is unseen. It’s not just sitting in “happy imagination land” but about putting into action the good things you are believing for. Faith without works is dead. This blog post is my work, because I know God is making a way where were I don’t see one. He’s growing me and cleaning up the rough edges so I can be ready for the next level.

Last night in my tearful darkness I said, “I know this isn’t going to last forever. I know there’s a purpose. It just doesn’t feel so great right now but I know you are taking care of this.” Years ago I wouldn’t never been able to utter those words. So that experience tells me that years from now I’ll be even better at coping with these rough patches, because He’s strengthened and equipped me to do so.

Have a good weekend, my friends! And remember it’s not failure unless you decide to settle. It really is darkest before the dawn. Don’t give up. And NEVER give up on your always and forever, no matter what that might be. <3

It All Balances Out #MyConfession #EverythingReconciles

Confession. I’m a Virgo. I like structure, plans, rules, and balance. I guess that’s why accounting was an obvious choice for me early on. I like organization and being able to put things in order and in nice neat little colored coded, alphabetical boxes. While I love happy surprises I struggle with the unexpected. I despise not knowing and spend too much time trying to figure out the present, the past, and wishing I could see the future. I’d dare to say there are a lot of you in the same boat I’m in.

Let me tell you a secret in case you haven’t figured it out yet. Life does not work like this 99% of the time. Annoying, right? *insert eye roll* I’m constantly fighting my nature to put my life in these little boxes which is completely ridiculous especially when I know that I myself don’t fit into a box. When someone asks me what I do for a living it’s a whole ten minute explanation. I’m a CPA, an accounting professor, oh yeah and I write books that have nothing to do with accounting. Then the weird looks and questions ensue. LOL! Sometimes I get so stuck on who I should be versus who I really am, which is ridiculous when my career doesn’t even fit into a neat little package. That’s why I often say “I’m just Michelle.” I don’t know how else to put it.

Then there’s this whole thing of balance. I get a dorky thrill when a reconciliation works and I can get numbers to balance. I’m constantly searching for that cut and dry, double underline (where the numbers equal) kind of balance in my life. I want things to equal out. Sadly life isn’t a ten minute bank reconciliation or a nice short and sweet balance sheet. (Bear with my accounting lingo for a moment. It holds a purpose.)

Life is messy. It’s a pile of papers, photos, and random sticky notes all over the place. As soon as we get everything organized and in a manageable mess someone opens the window and the papers go flying everywhere. (Sometimes we want to punch said person in the face, but that’s not nice so don’t. 😉 ) Then we race back to put things in order only to find some things have flown out the window and maybe a few new papers have flown in. We return to the mess and attempt to organize it, figure out where people fit in our lives, cry over our missing pages that we thought held all the answers, and sometimes we quit doing anything and lie on top of the mess of papers to keep from losing or gaining anything when the winds start to blow again.

Lying on your papers is a temporary fix. Just sitting there and letting life happen around you isn’t going to help you. I tried that before and the only result is that you’re miserable because you are too afraid to move for fear of losing those few pieces of valuable information. Sometimes we get too comfortable in our messes. (Again, been there done that.) And you can’t stay there forever. What are you going to do when the wind isn’t your issue anymore and instead a flood fills your house with water? Are you going to keep lying on the floor and drown as the waters rise or are you going to swim? (Please swim.)

The most difficult lesson I’ve learned in life is I’m not in control. And sorry to burst your bubble but neither are you. We can make good, well thought out decisions, sort our papers, double and even triple check our calculations but that doesn’t stop outside forces from making a mess of our work aka our life. I have to keep coming back to this lack of control over and over again, because there are days when I really feel like I’ve got it all together. My balance sheet is about to balance and make my accountant heart happy. Then BAM! Everything gets jacked up. Ugh.

Life is about the constant art of balance—in all things! It’s about learning how to organize your papers but not getting frustrated when the wind shuffles them. It’s about learning when to work and when to play. Remembering that we have no control over whether our heart stops beating today or fifty years from now. I’m not saying we shouldn’t make good choices to help ourselves out, but I am saying every day we have to do our best and remember there’s a greater force in power. Sometimes that’s hard to swallow, but at the same time do you really want the stress of being in control of everything in your life? That’s a big responsibility too.

I say open your windows, let in the sunshine, and if the wind blows your papers around don’t fret. Sometimes the things we see as tragedies set us up for our greatest triumphs. They’ll be days when you sit and stare at your perfectly placed papers in satisfaction, and they’ll be days when you want to pull your hair out from the chaos. But remember when we come to the end of our life, it all works out. If we keep moving and keep doing our best, we’ll get handed a pretty little balance sheet where everything balances out. In the end, it all gets reconciled by the Big Guy in charge. Oh and don’t forget in the meantime He’s always available for consultations. 😉

#AccountantAnalogies #LoveHugsAndSunshine #DontGiveUp #KeepMovingForward #GiveUpOnControl #ArtOfBalance #EverythingReconciles