My friend of almost 20 years, Cheryl, told me to read The Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand in the Sun and Be Your Own Person by Shonda Rhimes, and I am so grateful.
I absolutely love to read, but I find it difficult these days to relax enough to actually focus on a book. So I am trying to force myself back into the habit. This book not only made that easy, but it changed my life, literally, by giving me a voice and giving me hope. Rhimes, the rock star of ABC’s Thursday night television, describes how, while on the outside she was successful, she grappled with fear, anxiety and an inferiority complex so great that it was destroying her life. That is, until her sister challenged her to say “yes” to every opportunity that came up within a year that she would normally shrink away from and say “no” to.
This idea intrigued me. In my own season of restoration, I realize that a lot of my own dissatisfaction with life is caused by a sense of being trapped in the role of single mom, one that I never in a million years dreamed I would become. It is like I do not recognize myself anymore. Ironically, I was stunned that Rhimes had almost identical issues. She is funny and brutally honest and has had a completely different, way more glamorous path than I, but, most of the time, I felt like I could be reading my own diary, her stories fit so closely in with mine.
Turns out, saying “yes” transformed her from the inside out, made her a stronger person, and I have decided to challenge myself to my own year of “yes.” From here on out, I will not shy away from or decline any opportunity that comes my way. If my first inclination is “no” for any reason, I am going to say “yes” and see where it goes. In that risk, I already feel more free.
Starting with saying “yes” to realizing that I matter.
My entire life, I have been in a relationship. I am the classic serial monogamist, and I have dated some amazing men, most of whom I am still in contact with in one form or another. But I have realized over the past six months that I was never completely myself in any of those partnerships. I just conformed to make them happy, often ignoring or minimizing my own needs. No more.
My grandma instilled in me the creed, “You don’t need a man.” If she said that to me a million times, I would not be surprised. It always seemed so humorous to me, because she was so conservative and old-fashioned. But it has stuck, and she was right.
I don’t need a man. I need God.
While it would have been financially more sound and, frankly, easier to have stayed in my recent engagement, the reality hit me that it was not working for either of us or any of us, for that matter. And, while I have struggled to adjust to being on a single income budget with no help, for the first time in almost 15 years, it has made me realize how strong and capable I am. Growing up poor has its advantages– I can stretch a bag of pinto beans and a cheap box of corn bread mix like nobody’s business. There is a reason that sweet tea is the table wine of the South. It’s cheap, y’all!
I do not need rescuing. I do not need to settle. I simply need to trust God to provide for our needs and to provide a mate when He deems the time right. If that happens to be Tim Tebow, then my garnet and gold blood will have to bleed blue and orange, and vice versa, because he is pretty dang amazing and at the top of my prayer requests.
The truth is, I actually do want a man. I want to be married again, I want a home bursting with love, laughter and masculine smells, and I want to experience a healthy, whole love that can only come from a heart that is now healed. I realize now that I am my own sun.
Cheers to my very own Year of Yes!