I’m Fine

I saw a picture and post about a tattoo a few months ago.  Below, I’ve shared the picture. (Please note, I am not aware of the original poster, but do offer them the credit.) “I’m Fine” is a casual phrase we all use to move conversation along and often rely on those two words to reflect the attention elsewhere.  A young woman, suffering from chronic depression, inked her body with these words.  But there is a twist, to her it reads “I’m Fine”, to others it reads “Save me”.  Think on that for a minute.

Continuing the journey of letting go reminded me of that post and tattoo I saved in my phone.  It struck me simply because I believe we all suffer from a form of depression, but for some, it lingers and consumes us.  When I embarked on the journey of placing worth in people, time, and self, I had no idea that I would also be addressing deep hidden truths that led me to respond with “I’m Fine” more often, than not.

You see, getting rid of all those things that distracted me pushed me to examine the intangibles in my life.  I would love to report that, after ridding myself of electronics, negative media outlets, etc., I kept walking and never looked back.  But that wouldn’t be the truth.  The truth is that it continues to be a struggle even today.  To clear up any misconception, I am not advising you enter your home and junk everything, that is what I needed to do to start appreciating life and opportunity.

After that initial unloading in my mid-twenties, I struggled with consumption and distraction well into my thirties.  For a time, I would gain and accumulate, only to lose it due to stupidity, ignorance, life choices, or a mixture of all three plus seven more reasons.  The idea of what my priorities were became a wavering mindset and often fell to the waste side when tempted by new technology and expensive toys that I had to have.   

I taught my kids to use their money on experience, not things that don’t last.  Or purchase something that will be with you for years and will serve a valuable purpose other than a distraction from living.  If I only I led by example.  Around the age of 35 I experienced a year of profound loss and destruction.  While the details are private, what I will say is the life I knew changed in an instant.  Twelve months of death, sadness, financial loss, family struggle, and court battles led to a period that will mark the beginning of living this life.

I lost everything.  Everything that meant something and everything that simply just took up space.  In the end, everything was just another word.  Pictures, items that belonged to my late mother, electronics, files, records, furniture, collectibles, if you look around and see something, chances are it can be counted in my “everything”.  Devastation really doesn’t begin to explain the emotions that processed through my heart and mind.

As I sat wondering what I would do, I was reminded of the struggle I began a decade earlier to put worth in people and time.  So, I began to separate myself from the things I had no chance of recouping.  Instead, I focused on the people in my life.  Those that were around me, those that were far away, and those that I hadn’t even encountered yet.  For me, letting go translated into gaining everything.

Sitting here in my kitchen I look around and see stuff.  Most that know me are fully aware that I love Amazon and should probably be a key spokesperson for them.  But things have a different place in my life now.  People come first.  Experience comes first.  LIFE comes first.  Letting go carries so much more than walking to the trash with things I haven’t touched in years.  Letting go became a point in time.  Things stopped replacing my feelings and words began to reflect my true self at any given moment.

This journey hasn’t been easy and along the way I’ve learned valuable truths about myself, my past, and how I can live a transparent life.  What are my distractions?  Am I giving the people in my life the time they deserve?  Am I creating tasks to avoid a situation?  Am I “fine”? 

What is your distraction?  Are you really “fine” or do you need some saving too?

More To This Life

Letting go is a hard principle to tackle.  I grew up loving stuff and took great joy in collecting more things than I could ever need.  By the time I was 24, I had a hefty amount of debt to carry along with all the treasures, electronics, furniture, clothing, and vehicles I called my own.  Then something happened.

Rid

Working as a church assistant led me down a series of paths that required taking a serious look at my flaws, shortcomings, and misguided habits.  One morning, while doing devotions and working on a Bible study series that had continued to break me down, I was compelled to empty my life.  That can mean a lot of things to a lot of people, to me, it literally meant to EMPTY my life.

Throughout the study series I had been challenged each week to take a barebones approach to different areas of my life.  That week the challenge was to rid myself of all the things that blocked me from being transparent, authentic, and completely open to change.  I needed to take an inventory and explain why each thing was important to me and how, if it did, assist me in growth.  What I found was a house and office full of things that did nothing but build walls, prevent attentive leadership and relationships, and constantly worked to hold me back instead of pushing me forward.

That morning, before anyone came to the office, I systematically acted on the conviction of hurdles in my life.  It took 73 minutes to gather the most significant items that I knew were preventing me from living transparent.  These were items I had acquired through dishonesty, items that were purely negative, items that served as distractions from my goals, and items that I worshiped and gave more attention than my faith and responsibilities.  I put it all in the dumpster behind the office.

Later that day I was asked about a few of the items.  One was my computer, clearly an item that would be noticed in its absence.  My boss inquired about the meaning of these severe actions and why didn’t I donate the items.  My response was clear, and I still have no idea how it came out of me.  I simply stated that if they were a hindrance for me, then surely, they would be a hindrance for someone else.  There was a higher power at work that day.  When I doubted myself and this drastic change, I went to the dumpster and it had already been emptied.  It was not our usual trash pickup day.

You may not be a religious person, and that is perfectly ok.  This really isn’t about my faith.  Its about realizing what, or who, controls you.  There is more to this journey and over the next week I’ll continue to share.  But today, just think about this: what or who is blocking or preventing you from living?  This is a deep inquiry. Take time to really think about it.  For me, it was electronics, books, and music that were taking my attention in ways and places that weren’t productive.  They weren’t helping to shape the best version of me, instead, they were creating the bumps and bruises that were sustaining a stagnate me.

Letting Go

I’m having a life altering moment right now. Some of you may have read a few of my posts discussing a huge yard sale we are having this week. I only do 1 Sale a decade (😆😂😆😂🤷🏼‍♀️).

As I’ve gone through my house and purged things I haven’t touched in 2 years, I came to my beloved library. I treasure books. I long for the places and the people that are crafted within the pages. But as I stood there I realized holding onto a book, or giving it up, won’t change these memories.

So, for what will be the second time in my life, I am intentionally choosing to LET GO. Yes, I’m shedding tears, but more because I sincerely hope the person that picks each book gets the same joy I did.

I kept my favorites. The books I talk about often and books that hold my dry tears, belly laughs, and transformational moments. They are a rare find in terms of who I am today and will always remain in my library, on the highest shelf, looking down on my family and reminding us all that an escape is simply a page turn away.