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Let Go

“One of the hardest decisions you’ll ever face in life is choosing whether to walk away or try harder.”

I read this once and thought, “such crap!” You always try harder – there is no giving up. Giving up is what losers do, not those who are in control of their life.  You never walk away, and you never give in. Period….and yes… that mentality has come back to bite me in the hind end more than once.  One divorce. A couple of career changes. Friends. My weight. My health. It wasn’t until I really understood faith and acceptance that I understood that “letting go” and “walking away” can be act of courage and is not always “the easy way” out.

For the past year, I have served as a leader for the sisters in my church. The position is one that takes a lot of time, requires you to do many things on your own, and also humbles you to your core.  It is emotionally one of the most difficult church assignments I have ever experienced. In my church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the Relief Society (or women’s organization) President is relied upon by the entire congregation, or “ward”, as they are known. The mantle you carry is heavy and the cumbersome. I carried this mantle while working 40 hours a week and attending university ¾ time. I am also a wife and mother, daughter and sister.

During this time, I was diagnosed with advanced Hashimoto’s Disease. Basically, my body has killed my thyroid – to the point where there is little to no live tissue that shows up on an ultrasound. This has, at times, rendered me incapacitated and unable to fully function after my full week of work and school.  I have felt out of control of my body and powerless to make any strides to heal. And then one day, I watched a video about the Widow’s Mites and realized, we are only asked to give what we can. I had given all I had to give… and it was enough.

“Of a truth I say unto you, that this poor widow hath cast in more than they all: for all these have of their abundance cast in unto the offerings of God: but she of her penury hath cast in all the living that she had.”

Although poultry, what I had to give was all that I had. I did not have the luxury of being home during the day to accomplish tasks needed with my calling. Those tasks happened in the evening, after an 8-hour day and in between homework and making dinner. Coupling these long days with reoccurring flair-ups, I was often unable to speak well due to inflammation in my throat or stand for long periods of time.  I had severe brain fog, and severe pain in my joints and muscles. As difficult as these things were for me, my illness seemed to really bother others.  They didn’t understand that I was chronically ill because I “looked just fine”. They didn’t understand (or possibly care) when I was unable to simply sit during church for any length of time because my heart would skip and pound if I did anything other than lay down. Isn’t it funny how we are so quick to judge?  I know I am and I judged myself harshly.  I must not have strong enough faith. I must need to learn a lesson. I must …blah blah blah. This is a place where sickness grows and joy does not dwell. It is dark and lonely.

I found joy when I came to the realization that I had given all that I had to give. Was it perfectly given, absolutely not. Was it equal to what others have given or could give? Not at all. I chose to let go of trying to meet other’s expectations of me. I chose to focus on my health and put myself first so I could heal and then be available to help others. I chose joy over some strange human need to feel accomplished and included.  I chose joy when I decided to turn the page and start on the next chapter. I chose joy by actively putting my wellness in a place of priority.

…and I would choose joy again.

“One of the hardest decisions you’ll ever face in life is choosing whether to walk away or try harder.”

Beautifully said.

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