We only get one life story. So share it.

There have been three deaths, in three different areas of my life, in the matter of three weeks.  Friend.  Family member.  Staff Member.  That’s a lot of threes.  A lot of sadness.  A lot of memories playing on rewind.  And, a lot of questions…

Kind of random, but have you ever thought about what the difference is between a journal entry and a personal blog?  Well, I just did, because I really question myself when I decide to write these blogs.  Like, why do you want to share this with the world again?  Are you sure you are the person to be talking about this topic?  Do you just want attention or validation for something?  Like really, why are you writing this?  The conclusion to these questions (through my own definition/intentions):

A journal entry is something that you are trying to get out of your system to individually process, work through, and/or reflect on.

A personal blog post is something that you have experienced, processed, or are on healing journey from and want to share with others in the hopes to help someone else discover healing while processing through similar events in their individual lives.

Ok.  Onward…  Not speaking for everyone here, but death of loved ones really make me question EVERYTHING.   It has an eloquent way of putting life into rigid focus.  Who?  What?  When?  Where?  WHY?  On repeat.  It has a lot to do with the people that I miss and a lot to do with why the heck I’m still here and they aren’t?  That’s a hard question to swallow.  You know why?  Simple.  I cared for those people and I loved those people and I believed without a shadow of a doubt that their lives had purpose and meaning.  (In my mind, this next phrase may be taken the wrong way, so I want to be careful how I say it.  Deep breath.  Okay…)  BUT, at the root of my most vulnerable place, I don’t believe my life has much worth at all.

Crap.  Did you feel that heart-sinking feeling?  I did.  The reason I was afraid to say that is because I don’t want to be viewed as selfish.  I have legit anxiety about being perceived that way.  I mean three people died and all I can think about is why I’m still here?  Ugh–get over yourself, right?!  To a degree, yes get over yourself Jaclyn, but on the other hand maybe death is supposed to shed light on the purpose of life and really make you question if you are making the most your own?

Peeling back another layer here.  The thing I’ve struggled with since forever is self-doubt and feeling unworthy.  When I was little, these self-tormenting feelings started off small.   As I got older though, the feelings got bigger and bigger to the point that I confused those feelings as a part of my identity.  After years of being knocked down by my own self telling me I wasn’t enough and that I wasn’t worthy of love, I eventually gave full permission for those feelings to take over my entire being.  I, at my core, truly believed that I was unlovable and undeserving of anything good.  Enter battles with depression, disordered eating, and anxiety…

Have you ever felt some way about yourself that you are afraid of sharing?  What is it?  It’s okay.  You can be real with yourself here.  I don’t judge… You know why?  Because I’m imperfect.  We all are.  I used to be afraid of sharing these things about myself with people, because I was sure that my deepest, darkest fears would come true.  That instead of just believing that I was unlovable and unworthy those thoughts would actually come true…

Guess what?  Every time I have shared these insecurities about myself the opposite has happened!  THANK YOU, JESUS!  Instead of being shut out by people, people have embraced me!  People have said, “thank you!” “Same here.”  “You are so brave!”  “I love you and am here for you!”  And, people have also come forward and shared their personal struggles with me that they haven’t told anyone else before…  That’s my favorite thing to realize.  That by sharing your struggles with others you think that you’ll become more isolated, but in fact you become united to help one another!!!!

The thing that scared me though is that a lot of people told me that they had no idea that I was struggling or would have never guessed, because I  always seemed so happy and smiling all the time.  Isn’t that crazy that sometimes the things that people love most about us can serve as a mask to hide something deep down?  That is also why I am grateful God put people in my life that know to look past my smile,  look in my eyes, observe my behavior patterns, and really ask me how I’m really feeling.

Everyone has a different way of displaying signs of depression and anxiety.  Mine was very well hidden behind a carefully placed smile, because I made it that way.  I got very good at “putting on a face” and that almost killed me quite literally.  To some people’s annoyance, that’s why I always want to REALLY get to know people, because you never know what someone is dealing with inside until they trust you and tell you.  Ask how people are.  Actually care.  Be willing to listen.  I am so thankful for the people who did that for me <3.

Yes, there too have been people out there that don’t understand and try to rationalize these struggles, but don’t worry about them.  People reject what they do not understand and that’s okay.  I’m actually glad when people don’t understand what or why I’m talking about this, because that means they did not have to go through it!!!  I wouldn’t wish depression, disordered eating, or anxiety on anyone.  It’s terrible.  We all have our own version of “terrible” though.  This just happens to be my personal battle.

So today, at 3 something in the morning (when I should definitely be sleeping)– and in the memory of the three people celebrating in Heaven, I’m telling you a part of my life story, because despite what my depression and anxiety keep trying to tell me:

I MATTER.  I HAVE PURPOSE.  I HAVE MEANING.  I AM LOVED.  I AM WORTHY.  And, you know what the most beautiful part is?  We all have purpose; including you.

I LOVE YOU.  Thank you for reading a little about my life story.  I hope you share yours, because you never know who needs your courage to share theirs too.

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