I’m a complicated person trying to live simply. Growing up with the idea things could somehow fix my internal brokenness, I’ve chased money, objects and people my entire life.
It wasn’t until I sold my company in 2015 I fully realized the brokenness was still there, patiently waiting. I hadn’t felt it in a while. Busy with life, building a relationship with God, I thought I’d already healed. I was shocked to find I had to start over again.
Within a year of selling my business I moved from my hometown to Maryland where my husband, Mike, was stationed with the Army. I didn’t know anyone, bought a horse I couldn’t ride (that’s a story within itself), and my youngest daughter recently diagnosed with Type One diabetes. My other child moved in with her biological mother after deciding we hadn’t done a good enough job as parents. I kept moving so I didn’t have to feel the pain.
I stayed busy in Maryland. I wrote my first book in May 2015. One more thing I could check off my bucket list. Once the book hit Amazon, I crashed. I hit bottom with a SPLAT!
Grief for my past life set in. I had no more activities I could immerse myself in to fix what was a supernatural brokenness. I had to face my demons and call them out by name.
I’d just begun the process when my husband was sent to Korea for a year. His leaving was another blow none of us expected. I remember the day Mike told me he was leaving for Korea. I was devastated. He’s always been my rock. Somewhere along the line I realized I’d also made him my God.
Then during a time I thought I could take no more, in June 2016, we moved from Maryland to Fort Benning, GA, where he would be stationed after returning from Korea.
Back to those demons, I have a laundry list of character defects. Pride, sloth, gluttony…the seven deadly sins have gripped me since childhood. I spent years rooting them out with the help of some strong female mentors and therapists. I thought I had gotten them all. But while I stripped away the surface defects, their roots were still firmly imbedded in my soul.
Everything begins with fear, fear of not getting something I want and of losing what I have. Life experiences confirmed this. What I didn’t realize was the experiences were all fear-based. How could they not confirm it?
Letting go of my fear began in 2001, the process waxing and waning as my willingness to do the necessary work to relieve it evolved. In 2015, my fear peaked and dug in. Then came Mike’s deployment to Korea. I didn’t think I could do it.
The insidiousness of fear robs a person of joy, hope, promise and the ability to withstand adversity. It was in this season, a simple tool I’d learned to use long ago changed the direction of my life.
It started with a simple idea. To cope with my husband’s deployment in a positive way, 60 days before his deployment, I began a daily gratitude list, on Facebook. One reason I was grateful for my husband, each day until he left. The process transformed my marriage, my mindset and began to root out fear.
I was and am still a work in progress. The year in Korea has come and gone. Eight months after arriving at Fort Benning, Mike was deployed to Afghanistan. Afghanistan is MUCH different than Korea, in scope and danger. My husband is an Army EOD (Explosive Ordinance Disposal) tech. He’s a bomb guy.
A funny thing happened on the way to this deployment. The fear was almost gone. In it’s place was the understanding God is in control of my life; He holds my husband and all soldiers, close to Him. He holds us all if we let Him.
In this knowing, I became a stronger woman. I faced things I never thought I could. I’ve grown in ways I can’t always put into words. I am no longer defined by possessions. I became the woman God put me here to be.
Life isn’t perfect. I still struggle with day-to-day living at times. I’m human. But I’ve learned I am the sum of the people I surround myself with. That includes me. I’m with me more than anyone else in the world. The same is true for you.
We all have opportunities for growth. Most of them appear in hindsight. Many of them involve pain, much of it self-inflicted, at least in my experience.
Today, I am not broken. I deal with the occasional fracture, as we all do. But my life, your life and the lives of everyone on the planet, rest in hands much bigger than our own. Knowing this allows me to live simply, giving back as much as I’m given.
If you are willing to do the hard work, to look at the ugliness of your insides, scoop it out and turn it over, you’ll create space for the sacred, for joy, for love. The process isn’t for sissies. You must want to be better more than you want to stay stuck. It’s a simple solution for complex people.
What can you let go of to simplify your life?
Robin Aldrich is the author of Bootstrapped! Creating a Small Business on a Budget. Robin founded the Boomerang Business Project in 2015 to help other small businesses thrive through personal and professional development.
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Originally published at medium.com