Photo by Derek Lamar on Unsplash
It all started with a sticky note. There’s something about visible, simple and gentle reminders that invite me to be honest with myself. And truth be told, I needed it.
I wrote this particular sticky note the night before Jan. 1, 2021. Like you, I had a year of pandemic living under my belt (quarantining, moming, managing at work and everything in between all under the same roof). But my blood pressure, energy levels and rest were collateral damage.
I knew something had to change. I even wanted something to change. But the gap between knowing and wanting and actually taking action can feel like grabbing fists full of sand only to watch it slip between your fingers.
Where should I start? What did I want to change? How would I go about it? The internet is full of advice, but I didn’t just want a series of principles. I wanted wisdom tailored for me, wisdom that would meet me where I was and guide me to where God was taking me.
So I did what I knew to do: I listened. I felt strongly in my heart that God was showing me how to be more present in my own life, in the middle of a global pandemic. Or as Sarah Jakes Roberts said in her Woman Evolve book, how to make time for me in my own world. I wrote down these four words on the sticky note, which I still have on my bathroom mirror today: Show up for her.
As a trained athlete, I was skilled at mental toughness, pushing through and getting things done by any means necessary. But showing up for me required another muscle, a new skill set. Showing up for me required me to slow down, honor my body, fully celebrate the good that I had going on and not belittle the work in progress.
I quickly accepted the reality that showing up for me was an inside job. I sought wise counsel, but other people were not my standard. How could they be? They aren’t me. They haven’t lived my life. Most people aren’t there in my most intimate moments, and that is by design.
What that sticky note did was serve as a filter through which I made big and small decisions:
Going to bed early versus staying up late
Keeping my mornings sacred by making time to sit with God, journal and exercise
Drinking water and minding my business
Cutting out or reducing the foods that didn’t make me feel good (if you know me, then you know I don’t play about my food!)
Choosing to meditate on what’s true and good rather than negative, fleeting thoughts
Investing in my happiness and aspirations as a non-negotiable
Accepting that I wouldn't always get things right
Seeking progress, not perfection
Taking chances on myself and measured risks
Receiving the new mercies of God every morning
Embracing the power of no and establishing new boundaries
Y’all, this was more than a note on my mirror. It's a lifelong commitment to myself, my health and those I love. I had the opportunity to make a series of daily decisions that not only felt good but they were good. I thought I was kind to myself, but I became kinder to myself and quicker to extend forgiveness to myself. By making this a practice, I was better positioned to extend this same radical love and nourishment to others. I'm still learning, and I won't stop learning.
When I showed up for me I had the mental and physical energy to show up for those around me at higher heights and new levels that would not have been possible otherwise. I'm an empath, and I felt more in tune with the needs of those around me. I learned that a decluttered mind and spirit frees you up to be you — the you that we all need.
This lifelong journey would not be possible without God guiding me each step. He knows me in ways that I don’t yet know myself. And I don’t have to worry about being selfish. The desires He put in me to show up for myself are born out of love, and I check my intentions regularly.
That sticky note was also the source of inspiration for my latest card design below, which is available for purchase here. Although there's a lot more to my story, I wanted to scratch the surface and get you thinking about your story. Will you show up for yourself today? You get to choose. You get to decide what that looks like. I do know that your future self will be glad that you chose to show up. In fact, we all will be.