a story to tell

I’m making myself write this.

I’m making myself sit in front of this screen, candle lit and Johnnyswim singing about heaven and second chances and Annie, and I’m making myself type some words and not stop until they say something, even if it’s just a lot of rambling. like a sprint, I’m just gonna keep typing.

I have felt for some days now that somewhere inside me, words were there. there were there and waiting on me to call upon them.

I think that people flippantly talk about graduating and moving and being a “grown up”, but over and over again, I feel the incredible weight of “adult”. there is nothing flippant here. this is work. this is holy ground. this is something magical and aching and sometimes I wanna dance while I cry.

in the last year, I have moved into a full time job, moved away from another job, gotten a dog, moved to a new house, started a new school year, and done everything in between. the change has got my head spinning a bit. all good things, for sure, but nevertheless, things.

recently, I took the Enneagram. as I clicked through the true and false questions, amazed that a simply “true” could ever pinpoint me to a certain type, I finished the 54 questions. and found that I’m a 1 – lovingly known as the Reformer, not so happily also known as the Perfectionist.

at first, I thought that the test has pinned me wrong. I mean, I care for order and for consistency, but I’m not a perfectionist.

and yet, as I’ve lived and existed since that test, it has check check checked every box. it is so true.

it’s the reason that the words of those closest to me – my interns, my best friends, my family, and even myself – can cut deeper than I care for them to. it’s the reason that I cannot get over that one time when I was 12 and I lost my cellphone. it’s the reason that I’m always right, even when I’m not right. it is me thinking about the broken swing in my backyard and how I really need to sweep off my deck

it’s the reason that I can notice something off as I lay in my bed and feel that “off” thing in the back of my head when I get up hours later. it is like an ever-present whisper of needing to fix things. and while a lot of the time, perfectionist is a burden to me, I’ve found that it is also restoration and reconciliation and never being able to let go the things not right. it is still feeling burdened over telling that friend’s mom her secret back in 7th grade. it is the laundry list of to-dos, yes, but it is also running, sprinting, in the direction of Heaven as I hear the Lord calling me to freedom. it is deep in me. and while it is insatiable, it is also something magical.

I’ve done a lot of soul searching over the last year. I’ve come face to face with some truths, but I’ve also come face to face with some beauty. I think I found a different girl than I thought I would and I’m continually surprised by this new girl. she is far more intellectual than I ever thought she’d be. she listens to her emotions a lot more than I would have guessed she should. she cares deeply about things like building rather than buying and personality tests and television shows like Parenthood that make her weep, because God, I’d rather feel something than nothing at all.

she believes in hospitality and cries almost daily. she yearns for white and bright and candles burning. she thinks in spaces and separation and hard conversations. she stepped out of her shell a bit, said yes to some things that her former self never would have, and she’s lived these days like they really matter.

I think I found me. I think maybe that’s what living on your own, creating your own home and friendships and job and meals and life, can do to you. I cannot believe that I pay someone to cut my grass, or more, that it is my responsibility to do that. oftentimes, I am tempted to leave my living room untidy, and then I remember that oh yeah, this is my mess to clean and literally no one else is here to do it. right.

I think I found me. I found me in all my striving and reaching and trying to control the world around me and continually coming up short. I think I found me when the Lord whispered grace something deep to my heart. I think I found me while I sometimes longed for a spouse and yet, on the other hand, praised God that I got this season to find that girl.

I think I found me in the decorating of a mantle, in the designing of a built-in. in Pinterest-ing recipes when even I got tired of eating out. in the preparing of my home for my friends to come over and fill my living room floor. in the buying of fall decorations. I found me in saving for and then buying euro pillows. I found me in styling a corner that pleases me soul.

I think I found me. in tears and in frustration. in patience and in grace. in hospitality. in practicing grace for myself. in being invited to speak on a panel about beauty and letting my eyes fill with tears as I speak that beauty is in being exactly who God has called me to be. in the places that I thought were just there to pass the time, just a means to an end, I found myself. in typing words that I didn’t even know were true, I realized I found me.

I feel a bit like I’ve come home. like maybe I was jumping for something that was never in my reach, but something in me decided to sigh and be okay with where we’re at. while my soul still feels the heights and lows of all things life, I found some contentment and some peace. I think I found God there – in the silence and the stillness and the dust settled. I think I’ve found more than I bargained for, but praise that with her, we found life.

as I look back on a life of lots of hard things, I settle in deep with my story and how it beautifully and magically brought me to this moment. candle still burning, Johnnyswim now sings about living while we’re young, oh how accurate, some moments later, she brought me here. the old she found God and the new she gets to dance in that. this story is one I’ll keep telling, more boldly each new time than the time before. this story of striving and then believing and then resting while I fight and dreaming while I think and being while I become, deeper into my couch and closer to my Father.

I guess those are the words I needed to say.


One thought on “a story to tell

  1. Sarah Elisabeth says:

    Sweet Brenna. Yes, yes, yes! I love everything about this. It’s true. It’s hard, it’s work. It’s worth the hard work. It’s both magical and heartbreaking. It’s an adventure full of beauty that always contains a slice of scary. I love the way you wrote about changing and yet not necessarily changing. Life is tricky that way. As we change we’re actually walking closer to our truest selves. Reading your words ALWAYS blesses my soul. Thank you for letting me in on your journey. 🙂


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