It is now two days after Easter and I suspect most of us spent a good chunk of yesterday recovering from Easter festivities. The Easter bunny may have visited your home or left baskets for your little ones. If you were lucky, he might have even left a basket for you! You most likely attended a church service of some kind or shared a meal with family or friends. But now that Easter is over, what’s next? How do we carry that new “resurrection” life past Easter Sunday?
Leading up to a holiday, it’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and bussle. Perhaps you’re good with time management and took time to reflect on what the holiday means to you personally, or perhaps like many of us, the craziness of life didn’t allow for you to reflect the way you would’ve liked. I know for me personally, I was so caught up in launching this new non-profit to help LGBT people navigate their coming out process, that it left me little time at all to reflect on what Easter meant to me this year in light of the 5-year anniversary of my own coming out. Fundraising campaigns, 5-year “It Gets Better” videos, website updates, and sending out my manuscript for endorsements all pulled for my attention simultaneously. It was exciting, but it’s also overwhelming and exhausting.
My body reminded me of that this morning when I woke up. I spent a good part of yesterday trying to help my back recover from all I’d put it through this past week. Yet this morning it still struggled to heal. Dealing with chronic pain is far from my desired lot in life. I hate feeling restricted or weak. But after a full week of working like a mad woman, my body was not-so-gently reminding me that I needed to slow down.
“I can’t slow down!” I informed my body quite firmly. “I have endorsement requests still to submit, loads of fundraising still to do, blogs to write, and proofs to read. Don’t you understand that I’m on a deadline? I just need you to function properly.” But my body doesn’t seem to understand deadlines. It only understands stress and the toll that doing too much takes on me physically over time. Therefore I am struggling to keep up while my body screams at me to slow down.
So as I attempt to slow down and reflect today (and yes, share my thoughts with you while I do it-why not kill two birds with one stone?) I contemplate how to carry that new life that is given to me in the gift of Easter past the Sunday celebration.
These are the 3 ways I’ve come up with to keep life in my body and soul moving forward:
I Choose to Believe that it will Get Better
I’ve seen incredible things happen in my life over the last five years since I came out. Yes, I’ve experienced incredible loss, but I’ve also experienced incredible joy and freedom. I choose to believe that I will see many more great things come to pass in the next five years. While chronic pain is not something I ever would have chosen, I have learned a lot about listening to my body and treating it with respect. I choose to be optimistic that my situation will continue to gradually get better over time, while being realistic that I won’t ever be “normal” again and that there will always be things that I have to do differently than other people.
You may not have chronic pain, but whatever the mountain is in your life, a healthy balance of being positive that it will get better while being realistic in the goals you set, can be the difference for you between success and failure. Your perspective can also give you a life full of joy in the midst of the challenges you face.
I Choose to Have Faith
I’ve had many moments in the midst of fighting to make the dream behind Beyond a reality where I’ve had to remind myself that God has brought me this far for a reason. There were many times where the task of writing and reliving my story in order to share it in the form of a book seemed to be more than I could handle. But in those moments when I had to dig deep, I reminded myself that I haven’t come all this way for nothing. There’s a purpose that lies before me to help other LGBT people of faith with their own coming out process. Every roadblock I’ve reached along the way has taught me something and made me a stronger person. So I choose to have faith that “that he who began a good work in me will carry it on to completion.” (Phil. 1:6)
Whatever mountain you’re climbing, remember that you only need the faith of a mustard seed to be able to move it. (Matt. 17:20) Many times faith is the very thing that will carry you from one day to the next as you strive to accomplish your goals. Even the smallest amounts of faith cause new life to spring up in our souls and launch dreams beyond what we ever thought was possible.
I Choose to Rely on God and the Help of Others to do What I Can’t do on My Own
Living with chronic pain makes me very aware of my limits. I hate limits. Launching a non-profit on my own with virtually no financial resources yet to back it also reminds me of my limits and puts both me and my ministry at the mercy of others. If you read my blog last week announcing the launch of Beyond, then you know how much I hate campaigns and fundraising. I hate depending on others that way and I especially hate asking for money. But the one thing that causes me to press on to find the financial means to support this new baby of mine is knowing that the lives of other LGBT people are on the line if I don’t.
So I press onward, climbing a mountain that many days feels overwhelming, but doing so because I believe so strongly in what God is calling me to do with the story he’s entrusted to me. For those of you who have already believed in me and put your money behind this mission, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. We still have a very long way to go in reaching our goal, but as we work together, I chose to rely on God to open the right doors and I choose to believe that people will help in whatever way they can.
Today I may feel weak and weary, but tomorrow I will press on because we are stronger together. Whatever your mountain is, don’t carry it alone. Share your burden with others and together we will reach the top, full of joy in our spirits and fresh life in our souls.
Because Love Makes all the Difference,