December 2: The Challenge to Be Better

December 2: It Happened For a Reason


Different things happen for different reasons. Some of them happen to make us stronger, and some happen to make us better people. Describe one thing that happened this year that challenged you to be a better, stronger person, against all odds.  How did this affect you emotionally?

I don’t know that I can put down just one thing that challenged me to be a stronger, better person. It has been a culmination of things, really. And I don’t know that it has made me a better person or even stronger but rather it has made me more at peace with who I am. Perhaps.

I’m trying to be better. And by trying to be a better person, we become stronger.

I’ve been angry and disillusioned much of this year and even a bit last year. An internal rage that made me want to take every dish in our house and smash them to the floor. Never directed at people – just objects and only in my imagination. Lingering frustration that rears its ugly head in the form of me biting my fingers – the skin around the nails until they bleed and hurt like hell. Sometimes I think it is my way of subconsciously punishing myself. I don’t think about it until its too late and my fingers are ripped open and ugly. It’s a nasty habit I’ve had for years. I’ve always been very good at self-flagellation and guilt.

The anger I feel is from the inability to change things – make things better for my husband who has been under a lot of stress for the last year and a half – especially. There’s this frustration I feel about not being able to slow down the clock as I watch my mom, my uncles, my “aunts” and friends age. It’s my temper rearing its ugly head when people go after my mom – protective daughter that I am.

It’s fear that I’m not a good enough mommy to our five-year-old. That I’m not a good enough wife. That I’m not a good enough daughter, friend, person… Always constant fear of this. Always worry that I’m not enough.

It’s confusion and mourning over loved ones we’ve lost this year. Too many. Too too many. Doesn’t matter the age or the reason. Losing them is always a shock to the system. I think about them by name and the tears flow. My heart – my soul trembles and I am furious with myself for not doing more – not visiting more – not being there more – not facing it more.

That’s the problem – right there. I didn’t face it. I didn’t want to. By keeping a distance, I could at least pretend that all was well – that they were fine and that nothing wrong could happen, that they wouldn’t be taken from us.

It’s what I do. I build up walls. I protect myself by piling on the insulation. It’s selfish. It’s wrong. And I am guilty.

And it is words and my ego getting out of hand during this election cycle. I let my anger get the best of me one too many times and it could have cost me so many of my beautiful friendships. Thankfully  it did not. But, it could have. And when I looked in the mirror and gazed upon myself, I was ashamed at my reflection. Who am I? Who ARE you? Why are you being this way? I felt dirty and I knew it had to stop.

I call myself a Christian. But does a christian act like this? Does a christian provoke anger and hurt?

No. I shouldn’t.  And then I stopped and asked myself this simple question, “Would Jesus act like this?” And of course, the answer is no, He would not.

So I did some soul searching. This year has been that for me – one big treasure hunt for my soul. And I decided that if I am to truly be a better person – a person I want to be – a person who loves, is loved, builds others up rather than tear them down, I need to act in Christ-like manner. No, I am not comparing myself to Christ. I am nowhere near nor will I ever be that good. But I am trying to remember to respond as Christ would. No malice. No judgement. Only love. Only kindness. Only care for others. I need to stop trying to control things and instead, let it all go.

The beautiful thing about it is that I found such peace. The veil of anger and frustration has been lifted.

Please do not think I’m proselytizing here. I’m not. I am not perfect. I am so far from it, it’s not even funny. It’s a struggle some days. A struggle to bite my tongue when I hear or see something I disagree with. But I’m trying – as with everything else. I’m working on it. I’m simply saying that this is what works for me. I needed to change my focus – my attitude. This is how I am trying to do it.

I’m thankful for my friends and family who put up with me – who stick with me despite all my flaws. I don’t know that I would like me if I were someone else. That’s the side of me that never thinks I’m good enough. I’m still really working on that. But the anger is gone. And that makes me happy. I think (THINK) it is making me a better person – stronger – more at peace and content. At least, I hope it is. 🙂


*I’m participating in this year’s December prompts series that began as Reverb and has branched out into several other incarnations of the project. It is a way to close out the year by reflecting on that which we are leaving behind and looking ahead to the possibilities in front of us. I hope you’ll join us as we strengthen old friendships and make brand spanking new ones. :)

Cultivate 2012



0 thoughts on “December 2: The Challenge to Be Better

  1. I know what rough year this has been. Grief can be like a deep, dark forest that you get lost in. I’m hoping that the new year brings good things for you and your family. It’s time!

  2. Oh, wow. There is so much richness here. I chose my theme for 2013 to be GROWTH because I figured it would cover whatever the hell (or several hells) show up, I’ve got it covered. You are remarkably strong and able. I know you know that – and your love is deep and wide. Grateful, as always, for your authenticity and so true writing voice. Happy Reverbing!

    • Dear Julie. Thank you. Growth is a GREAT theme. One we could all use and focus on. It does cover everything indeed. I’m grateful for your words and looking forward to reverb and shared growth. 🙂

  3. It’s not always entirely bad to need walls. Sometimes they help you get through things a little less burned by the situation you know you are going through. But yes, sometimes, its far too much insulation and protection than what is needed. We do it when we forget we are loved. We do it when we forget that merely loving someone helps get them through so much. But you’re on a new path. You’ll find your way. Hugs.

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