You Are A Piece Of Work.

While at home for Christmas my husband dug around in old photo albums, finding a picture of me, threeish years old in a pageant dress.

Many little girls raised in the South find themselves on a pageant stage at least once. And usually, these little girls learn early on if the stage is for them. It always felt like home to me.

A few years ago my comfort for the stage and love for performing lost itself and became a characteristic I despised, and so, set out to change. I had somehow misshaped my thinking to believe that being loud, dramatic and comfortable in front of an audience was not a characteristic that a life belonging to Jesus would display.

So I adjusted my thinking. “It isn’t always about you Courtney, you shouldn’t like the limelight Courtney, you need to humble yourself Courtney.” On and on that story-line went. On and on I drifted away from the one who created me in an attempt to be found favorable before him.

But you know what? I was wrong.

When God created this girl He gave me a knack for communicating, a confidence to speak in front of crowds, an ability to make people comfortable, and an A+ goofball personality. He also layered in a curious heart, and mind, and a wanderlust for adventure and newness. As the cherry on top, he gave me rhythm, so I could wear out any dance floor.

He created a special, and unique, piece of work, and because of this, I will no longer apologize for HIS work. And I sure won’t try to change it. Because that other girl-that’s not me. That wasn’t me. That was a gross misrepresentation of the character of God, which is truth. Besides, being ME is way more fun. And easier.

These first days of the New Year no more apologizing for your personality-for your uniqueness! You are a wonder to behold, but first to yourself! Knowing God freely requires us to honestly and vulnerably follow Him as His original design, not as someone we are pretending He designed. Or, wished He would have designed differently. YOU ARE A PIECE OF WORK. It is okay to be excited about that.

And let’s set 2018 as the year that being ourselves is ENOUGH. Without self-loathing and doubt. While we are being ourselves, we will open up a buddy bench for people to breathe and stretch in their own personalities. It gets stuffy playing pretend. Let’s open some windows!!

Welcome 2018! I love that little girl in the pageant dress. I love even more the woman she was, and the woman she is becoming. A woman whose heart is full of hope, thankfulness, and an unapologetic love for who she is.

Prelude.

Before we go an further, I have to say good-bye to the lies and belief systems that were created in my two worlds, that held this narrative captive in my mind instead of letting it settle on written page for fear of what others would think. I have hand-written this letter, but it is import to add these words to the chronicles given this letter was my own permission slip to write, to speak, to open myself, love myself, and to allow you to peak in.

Dear Old Thought Patterns, Lies, and Systems,

I have to say good-bye to you. Today is the day I regain my identity, uniqueness in character, and drop the lies of my past. Goodbye to the feelings of inadequacy and hello to knowing I am ENOUGH. Goodbye to performing, to earning the love of those around me, to the fear that I would never FIT IN. I, today, say hello to rest, to loving myself, to understanding that people love me just because they do, not because I made them. Goodbye to caring about what other’s think, goodbye TO EXPLAINING MYSELF and APOLOGIZING FOR WHO I AM. Hello to knowing God intended for me to be exactly as I am. No. More. Apologizing. No. More. Explaining. Goodbye to believing I am not enough and sometimes too much. Goodbye to the lie that I don’t or never will “FIT” into Christianity. I do FIT. Perfectly, in the skin God gave me, in my skin. I do fit. Hello to actually believing that. Goodbye to the sadness and guilt over strained and tough moments with my parents. Hello to loving and honest relationships with them that continue to grow. Goodbye to the untrue messages I picked up about God, and I welcome a new relationship with Him, one that I feel safe and loved in. Goodbye to negative self-talk, to shame responses, to holding my head low, to my racism, to earning admiration through deed and accomplishment, to the never-ending chase of the next high. Hello to the high coming from within.

Goodbye to being afraid to speak, of being quiet, of cowering and hiding. HELLO TO FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION. HELLO TO WRITING UNHINGED AND ROWDY. Hello to knowing the message inside of me is GOOD. Hello to writing for myself. Goodbye to believing I am programmed from creation damned, rotten, wretched, and a screw-up. Hello to believing, and knowing, I am created in the image of a good, good father, which means there is good inside of me, from creation. I am not wired to mess-up. I am wired for love, joy, peace, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control. Goodbye to teaching my children out of fear. Hello to teaching out of love.

Goodbye to thinking Josh will fill my void of happiness. Goodbye to the marriage I dream about. Goodbye to expectation and bitterness. Hello to letting him be exactly who he is. Goodbye to thinking Josh deserves a better, more spiritual, quieter wife. Goodbye to believing I broke our marriage. Hello to forgiveness, to healing and to HOPE. Hello to our marriage being a healthy version of what it is. Hello to knowing I am exactly who he needs.  Goodbye to blocking love. Goodbye to being closed off to other people, and new relationships. Hello to letting people know me.

Goodbye to you, Captain Morgan. Goodbye to being afraid to feel the low hum of anxiety, to ignoring sadness, of pretending pain doesn’t exist. Goodbye my old friend, goodbye to you helping me numb and not feel. Hello to feeling IT ALL. Hello to feeling all there is to feel and understanding it is a gift to be aware of what is going on inside. Hello to understanding that my emotions are invitations from myself to take care of myself, especially on the low days. Hello to knowing my tears are information watchtowers and messengers.

Goodbye to the thinking I suck as a mother and hello to creating a different and healthy way to be a mother. Hello to believing I am a WONDERFUL mother. Hello to three boys being raised by a mother who is giving them her very best shot. Hello to knowing they love me.

Goodbye, to all of it. Goodbye. I am laying you down. Hello to inhaling and exhaling, to filling my lungs full with air, and to knowing that I AM OKAY. Hello to breathing. Hello to being alive.

-Chele

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Hello! Have you ever wanted to write yourself a goodbye letter? This letter came at the end of an intense, 12 week course called the Ultimate Journey. I would recommend this class to EVERYONE. All people. If you are interested check out the link below to fill out a registration form. I will contact you when our next session starts!

http://www.houseofhopecr.org/classes/

Registration form under the tab labeled Ultimate Journey Phase 1-Ongoing.

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