Living My Joy
We often face circumstances in life where we believe that if we can direct, or gain control of, the situation, things will get better. Sometimes, this is, indeed, the case. But I have learned that many of my challenges are best resolved when after doing all I can do, I throw up my hands--not to give up--but in surrender to what is beyond my control, having faith that it's fully in God's control.
It's difficult not to be discouraged when we're striving for something and it doesn't work out. Maybe it's a job, goal, contract, business, promotion, some type of competition, etc. When I find myself in such situations, I usually do the following: 1) allow myself 15 minutes (if that) to feel sorry for myself, 2) get some distance from the situation (as much as necessary/possible), 3) assess (with feedback, if possible) what I could have done better, 4) make any necessary improvements, and 5) move on. It may not be easy, but I've learned not to focus on losing what is someone else's blessing. There's nothing in that for me, other than frustration, resentment, envy, jealousy, or some other type of pain. Instead, I work on bettering myself because there will be a payoff. My blessing is on the way. It may not come in the way or time I expect it to come, but I keep the faith that in due time things will turn in my favor. Because when it's my time it's my time, and what's for me is for me!
According to the dictionary, "masquerade" means "an action or appearance that is mere disguise or show", or "to assume the appearance of something one is not". Masquerading is nothing new. Older folks say it's been happening "since the beginning of time." You know, folks putting on airs; fronting, if you will.
Why do some folks masquerade, so much so that their lives often appear to be a masquerade ball? Who knows, maybe they're trying to keep up with the Joneses. And just who are the Joneses, and don't they know the Joneses have problems, too?! Some may masquerade because they envy their peers. Some may masquerade because they want their peers to envy them. But some may masquerade to hide pain--for example, the pain of brokenness, shame--broken lives, broken hearts, broken finances, loneliness (even those in a relationship), abusive relationships, depression, etc. For those of us who aren't masqueraders--at least not now--it's often easy to judge the "facades". But would we do so if we could see the pain and tears behind the masks?
One of the inherent dangers of masquerading is that we get so good at wearing our mask(s) that no one--not even those we want to know us--can see what we want them to see, including that we may need help. Masks can create distance and prevent us from truly connecting with others. So, before we ask others to see us, it's important that we see ourselves. Some of us are wearing so many masks that we don't even know ourselves. And sometimes we get our masks confused--wearing the wrong mask for the wrong occasion.
How exhausting, masking ourselves from ourselves and everyone else. But we can only hide out for so long. Because life has a way of making us drop our masks--at least temporarily. I don't know why this image came to mind, but have you ever seen someone snatch off their wig because it was too hot under there? Sometimes, life brings the kind of heat that causes us to snatch off our masks, or they inadvertently slip. In those instances, it's important that we've taken care to ensure that what's underneath the mask--our true identity--is a work in progress, no less worthy of being seen. And don't worry so much about what others may think . . . they have their issues, too.
What a moment in time for Diana Nyad. Yesterday, the 64 year old realized her lifelong dream--initiated 35 years ago--of swimming from Cuba to Florida without a protective shark cage. After swimming approximately 110 miles for nearly 53 hours, she did it! It wasn't her first attempt, though. Actually, it was her fifth.* Clearly, she believes in the adage, "[i]f at first you don't succeed, try, try again." Some may take exception to the extreme nature of Ms. Nyad's pursuit, and/or her reason for pressing on, but she was determined to follow her dream. She handled her naysayers by accomplishing her goal.
Ms. Nyad offered three messages once she arrived on shore: 1) never give up; 2) you're never too old to follow your dream(s); and 3) while it may look like a solitary effort, she had a team.
So, if you're wavering, feeling discouraged, or just getting started on following your dream(s), take heart. It's worth the effort, no matter how long it takes. You can go the distance. And, if at first you don't succeed, . . . .
*You can read about her journey here.