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  • Writer's pictureLaura Greer

Breaking Free: Release, Embrace, Explore - A Path to Life Beyond Expectations



How will these tear stained words ever be something that could help another?


That's the question I asked myself as I gazed through misty eyes at my journal. I felt the nudge that somehow I could help someone go through less pain and struggle than I had when it came to certain experiences in life.


But in that moment, I was a depressed and anxious young mom, with unmanaged chronic pain. I was overidentifying with my roles in life, having dedicated myself to home-cooked meals, homeschooling and domesticity. There is nothing wrong with any of these pursuits, but there is something wrong when our roles are all we focus on, when we set unachievable expectations of ourselves, and we don't turn our attention toward ourselves for even the most minute measures of self-care.


My journal was my therapist. It was there I began to explore. I wrote my fears, worries, concerns and frustrations. As I pounded out the negative emotions, I found it to be a release. I began to plead for hope, clarity, courage and healing. Over time, as I continued to write and explore, courage and curiosity emerged. As courage and curiosity emerged, I began to find and embrace capacity, capability and clarity.


The more I stayed in my head, the more the fear compounded. It wasn't until I got the thoughts out of my head and onto paper that I was able to embrace a growth mindset and release the negativity and the expectations, both those imposed and those I had placed upon myself.


But how? How would these words get to anyone else? My untrained and narrow focus could only imagine writing a book, something I've yearned to do since childhood. Yet I knew enough to know that getting published is difficult to say the least. I had even tried to publish a board book when my kids were little, to no avail.


But I wasn't being called to write for kids, nor was I being called to pursue publication. There were other plans in the works. Plans to give me, and others, hope and a future.


Then someone planted a seed: Consider blogging. Oh, and here's someone who can help you.


My first thought at the time was, does the world really need another blog written by a mom? I spent some time with this blogger at a conference, and I will never forget her response to that question:


Your story will touch someone who may never be touched by the story of another.


When it was put into that framework, I suddenly understood that it didn't matter if those tear stained words were in print on a bookshelf. What mattered was that someone's heart could be changed. The possibility that it could, that there was a way to reach that person whether I ever knew it or not, ignited a passion that cannot be quenched.


We plant the seeds. That's all. The rain and sun will come to nurture. We have to release our efforts at whatever it is that we do, and leave the results to God.


Yet as I continued to write in my little teal journal, the tear stained pages spoke to the depths of the wounds I was healing from.


 

Not yet...


You need to release.


God knew I was writing from my wounds and not yet from the scars that would form as the healing continued. But, in the work of writing, in the release, I found healing. There's something about journaling our thoughts as we plead with the Lord that helps us process the mental, emotional, spiritual and even physical challenges we may face.


 

Just keep writing...


You need to embrace.


And I did. I kept writing in that journal, until I felt the tender scars emerge. Scars I learned to embrace with love for the lessons learned along the way. Scars I learned to embrace from the hope I received along the way.


 

Step out in courage.


You need to explore.


As I continued to write and embrace those scars, I explored to find people who are a part of the writing life. I went to the meetings and conferences, at first a wallflower, but then I got courageous and asked lots of questions.


 

Why do we fear reaching out for help? Why do we feel like we have to pull ourselves up by the bootstraps and have this individualistic ideal of how life should be lived?


May I encourage you today to be countercultural? To go against the grain of rugged individualism? Even those who have found the pinnacle of "success" will share that they have done so on the shoulders of giants who have mentored and coached them. There is someone just a few steps ahead of you along the way who can help you in whatever you are journeying through and toward.


We live in a time when it's easier than ever to find this kind of support and encouragement. Just like there's a YouTube video to fix pretty much anything, there are online, and often local, groups and individuals to help equip and support you in ways you can't yet imagine. We just have to get intentional to search out what we need, or find someone to help us along the path.


Be intentional. Explore. Put yourself out there. Ask the questions.


Here's another way to look at release, embrace and explore, but let's shuffle them a bit.


  1. Explore your expectations. What vision and purpose has been laid upon your heart, and how much extra stuff are you adding to it that makes it feel out of reach?

  2. Embrace curiosity. Are you white-knuckling your expectation of that vision so much that you may be trying to force a square peg in a triangle shaped hole? Get curious explore other avenues that could fuel the vision you've been given.

  3. Release unhelpful expectations. What might happen if you let go of that expectation and receptively open your heart and hands to those unexpected ways of fulfilling your purpose?


Friends, get out of your head! Whether the first step is to write it down in a journal or speak it into your notes app on your phone, start now. Start processing your thoughts and get unstuck.


When I began the journey of intentionally learning more about how God created me and what that meant in how I live my life, I never would have expected to be doing the things I'm doing today.


Hop into the comments below - what is an expectation that doesn't serve you well that you want to release?


I've had some amazing mentors and coaches along the way. You can too! Head over to IntentionalGrowthandWellness.com to book a free, no commitment 30 minute online coaching session to see what coaching can do for you. Together we can travel the path to a life beyond expectations and explore what network of support and encouragement will best serve you.


Or, comment below with the word EXPLORE, and I'll send you a first step to get you started on this journey.


See you next week!


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