There are few people who can make others feel as understood and cared for as Sarah Camp. She has this special way of seeing people. In a profound way, she intentionally engages others and gently moves them from contentment with the mundane to a life-giving reclaiming of truth. I can personally attest, her friendship has single-handedly made me better, and continues to sharpen me daily.
Not a big surprise, Sarah is currently in school to be a counselor. Just like in most professions, there are good counselors, then there are those counselors like Sarah – born to be a counselor.
When she knows you, she really knows you. When she sees you, she sees all of you – your junk, imperfections, and weaknesses – yet she doesn't shy away from the mess. When I struggle to believe the Truth, Sarah is the first person to meet me there, and help me claim it, even when I feel too weak to do so myself.
Leave it to Jennie Pitts to force me into deeper reflection than I really care to dig into at the moment. That girl is constantly challenging me towards a better and more authentic version of myself and I am grateful for the push. She consistently sets the example for taking risks and diving in headfirst when others won’t even get near the water.
When Jennie asked me to write for her blog, I made about six drafts before realizing I was not going to create a perfectly thought out and edited post for the “as you are” theme and be true to its purpose. So rather than defaulting to the perfectionist I am to my core, I scratched all those drafts and wrote this in one sitting with the hope that it will be an honest picture of who I am right now. Here goes nothing…
A crier. Like, a hop in the car to drive towards school, start weeping for no damn good reason, crier. It is super inconvenient, but also pretty hilarious to those around me. Lately it seems that some pipe broke inside of me and there is potentially no end to this tenderness.
But you know what? I used to be known as the intimidating, stone cold, even keel girl. And I think I like this girl better, she is more real.
Kind of a jerk. Funny transition there huh? All these emotions that course through my body on an hourly basis leave me feeling a little bit mushy and ticked-off. It is just a lot to freaking handle sometimes. All those feelings just swirling around and popping out at me with zero warning. And it makes me tired and irritable, especially when I try to go to Chick-fil-a then remember it's Sunday and it feels as if the world has ended. That being said, I can be pretty sassy to those whom I deeply love when I feel so raw all the time. And that is okay. As long as I can remember to circle back and ask for forgiveness. Sometimes it takes me longer than it should but I can trust that my people know me and they know sometimes I rage a little bit and love me anyway.
I can’t get it right every time but I will keep trying.
A learner. School has never been my thing. Lots of people say this but I genuinely mean that I have always done the bare minimum to achieve the basic requirements and I probably did it the night before (sorry Mom and Dad). All that changed when I decided to become a counselor. I have finally found a subject that deeply interests me and I constantly geek out about. In this season of grad-school, I find myself soaking up all the knowledge I can—both in school and with people. It has been a rich experience to recognize the gift of blocked off time to just learn and train. I love that when our longings collide with a real need we feel alive again. Oh and I still procrastinate, but this go around I actually enjoy when I sit down to finally write or read…that I can live with.
So messy. I am really bad at a lot of things. And my closest friends and family know this. I am like a walking teenage girl ALL the time. Late to almost everything. Sometimes flaky. Giddy excited about so much, then easily angered by things that truly are not a big deal. I struggle daily with an addiction cycle that involves food, co-dependency, and self-soothing. But I also love really hard and really deeply. It seems I was hardwired to function well in the extremes of life and I am quite comfortable sitting on the other end of ugly, painful conversations. I sincerely believe I couldn’t do this without being so messy.
I am certainly not advocating for being an emotional yoyo—I am really working on and growing in being balanced and grounded.
But I AM advocating for owning parts of you that really will not change, no matter what you do, then finding ways to use them fruitfully.
Doing my reasonable best. This phrase was introduced to me last August while I sat bright-eyed and bushy-tailed in Orientation for my master’s program in counseling. Our professor urged us to not strive for perfection, but for our reasonable best. Wait, what? Yep super “counselor-y” stuff here. If that meant showing up to class 15 minutes late in your sweats, so be it. Or taking a semester off from small group because you are neck deep in community, accountability, and “togetherness”, then go for it. Or saying "no" to a long weekend with friends, but saying "yes" to a long walk with yourself.
There is no glory in running your body into the ground while trying to be everything, all the time, to all people. It just doesn’t work.
And it doesn’t make you a sucky person. It makes you honest and real. In some seasons you can take on more than others, but know your season. Know your capacity. And BREATHE when it is not as much as you’d like it to be. I would say that I am practicing this concept about 60% of the time these days, and that really is my reasonable best.
A new creation. For much of my life I have walked with a banner of shame over my head that declared I am not lovable because of the decisions I have made and experiences I have had. Despite having been in relationship with God for many years, I carried this badge of “honor” because I thought I had to in order to be truthful about myself to others. It was such a lie that kept me in the dark and a half-hearted version of myself. Stepping into a year of life in an unfamiliar city, with new friends, and a whole lot of soul-searching thanks to the above mentioned onslaught of counseling courses and therapy sessions, I have seen God making a brand new beautiful thing in me. I used to think that these kind of conversions only happened when you experienced God for the first time or had some earth-shattering tragedy that flipped your life upside down.
But in reality, God is making us new every. dang. day. And the great news is He never grows weary of that work.
He shapes a part of me each time I make a mistake, or meet a new friend, or have a really hard conversation. It h given me so much hope to know that I don’t have to to figure out how to be perfect today, but that life, each moment, is an on-going process of sanctification in which I am going to look pretty jumbled until the finish. My therapist calls this the journey under the sun (ugh) but he is right. It is just that—a JOURNEY. And journeys are filled with excitement, disappointment, adventures, failures, really pretty views and lots of growing...not perfection.
So as I lean into myself, AS I AM, I am looking to embrace my true identity.
To me that means a comfortable and willing acceptance of my whole person, without regard to future changes or alternations to be made or considered. It means soaking up the reality of both my flaws and strengths that equally make me unique. To walk in a confident awareness of who I am and realizing that if that is alright with God, then it's quite alright with me.
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