Some of you may know that back in April my boss and I raised money for a local non-profit called Mercy Ministries when we ran the Country Music Marathon. To offer a very quick background, Mercy is an organization that helps young women with addictions, eating disorders, a background of abuse, and other issues that affect their self-esteem and ability to live a fulfilling life.
I certainly have never been through anything even remotely similar to what the girls who come through the program have experienced, but I do think we are all on a journey to become the best versions of ourselves that we can be. I think we live in a time where it's like second nature to be critical of ourselves and others around us. It's true that we're not perfect. It's true that we all have fears and weaknesses and insecurities. But in the end, I don't think any of us want to be defined by those things. And we shouldn't be. They're part of human nature, but they shouldn't control our lives. The program at Mercy works to help the girls alter their habits and their approach to this thing called life so that the negative things are not what's controlling them.
I think that's what any of us are ever trying to do. I know that I'm trying to live a life of beauty. I have my own doubts and fears and insecurities, but I don't want to let them hold me back from going after the things I want... from living a good and fulfilling life.... from giving of myself to the people around me. I want to be good friend, a good daughter, a good employee, and someday a good wife and maybe even mom. I think I've realized somewhere over the past couple of years that I used to be really hard on myself. And maybe I still am in some ways because I push myself to give my best to what I'm doing in my life. But I think I've also grasped the truth that I can never please everyone. I can never be perfect. And there will always be moments of fear or insecurity. But somehow I've learned how to not let those things rule my life.
I've been spending time down at Mercy weekly since learning more about them through the marathon fundraising, helping with the organization of other volunteers for various events and some other odds and ends. With the holidays coming, there are a handful of fundraisers and activities for the girls in the home on the calendar. It's exciting to give some of my time to this organization because I know that there are young women who graduate from the program with more confidence in themselves than they ever dreamed they could have. They're able to walk out and refuse to let the negative things in life control how they live. They learn how to handle both the ups and downs that life throws at all of us.
I realize this is a slightly deeper post than I usually make and maybe somewhat evasive, but I was driving home from Mercy today thinking about how much I have grown and changed in the past 10 or so years. I used to be so shy and so unsure of myself. I think we all dealt with a decent bit of insecurity when we were young and figuring out who we are... it's part of youth. And I'm still young. And I'm still trying to figure it all out. And I know there's still a lot in store for my life. But I feel like I'm living with a smile. I feel certain that lessons I'm learning are shaping me into a better woman. I know that I feel good about who I am. I'm still going to keep working on those weaknesses. I'll still admit to a few fears and insecurities. But they don't define me.
I want a life of joy. A life of compassion. A life of giving. A life of honesty. A life of fulfilling relationships. A life of embracing the good things. A life of gracefully dealing with the bad things. Like I said before, a life of beauty. Dreams. Struggles. Victories. I want to be like the beautiful butterfly.