Today has been a long day. All "traveling days" are long days. So they give me lot of time to read, to think, and to sleep.
Today I did lots of reading and sleeping, but during my most recent vacation, I did a lot of thinking.
For the holidays, I decided to go visit some cousins in Mexico. I had not seen them in eight years, so of course we had a blast once I got there. My grandma and another cousin joined us for the trip, so it was a lot of fun for me to see everyone at the same time.
One of the things we did as a family was go to the Aztec pyramids in Teotihuacan. Let me tell you, those Aztecs were brilliant architects. The place is giant and beautiful. But in between all the walking, and talking, and laughing attacks (#cousins), God brought to mind a lesson that I'm learning and that is important for us all.
The picture you see is of the Sun pyramid, the tallest one. It is 216 ft high, if you don't know how high that is, just trust me: it's high! So the challenge for any tourist that goes is to get all the way to the top. Climbing all 245 steps (yes, we counted) wouldn't be so difficult if these were normal stairs, but they're not. The Aztecs were great architects, but they must have also loved their cardio because these stairs are highly known for one thing: they are STEEP. If you stand at the top of a staircase, you can usually see the bottom of it from where you are standing. Now with Aztec pyramids. If you stand at the top and you don't get all the way to the edge, your mind might think you have to somehow manage a way to jump off that thing because there are no stairs!
It helped that my cousins and I had the challenge of counting each step, it helped me stay grounded and focused. But each step only made me more and more tired. I'm short, I have tiny legs, and I have a slight sight problem but I refuse to wear my glasses, and I was wearing sandals. The odds were not good my friends. But against all odds I wanted to prove something to myself, I wanted to prove that I could do it simply by taking it one step at a time. I wanted to prove to myself that I could choose adventure over fear.
Someone told me once that there is power in making the choice. Recently I have come to realize that it is true. 245 agonizing steps later I was standing at the very top marveled by all the beauty around me, and it took 245 choices to get there. With each step I had to choose to not look up, to not see how much more I had to climb. I had to choose to not look back, because if I did fear would cripple me. I had to choose my present, not my past nor my future. I had to learn to concentrate on the immediate next thing. On step 25 my only worry was step 26, on step 26 my only worry needed to be step 27, and so on and so forth. And this is where you and I come in.
I'll confess something: I am my own worst critic. No other human being has ever been more unforgiving to me than me, no human has ever been meaner to me than me. I find it difficult to forgive myself for my mistakes, and I don't give myself grace. Somewhere in between life and choices I forgot that I am human, I forgot that mistakes are part of life. So I'm learning to give myself the gift of patience, I'm learning to give myself the kind of love God has for me. Each day is a new step and each day I have to make choices that will get me to my desired goal.
Your recovery is going to be just like that. No one can want it more for you than you. No one was going to climb those steps for me, and no one is going to live your life for you. You have to choose it, and you have to choose to give grace to yourself on the bad days. There will be good days, and there will be bad days, but in each day you will have to make choices, so choose wisely. Choose yourself. Choose recovery. You have to choose to fight for it, but you also have to choose to not condemn yourself for who you are. It might be agonizing, and it'll be up to you to choose if it's worth it. But above all things, you have to take it day by day. Forget about the next five years, or ten years, or fifteen. Choose your goal and strive for it every day as if that was the deadline. On most days, I choose to be my enemy; but on that day, I chose to be my own cheerleader.
The choice is yours.