As I sat across from her I was bursting with love and gratitude. The weekend was winding down as she leaned in, looked me in the eyes and proceeded to share, “I see a change in you. You no longer need to control the narrative. You are just letting things flow and being easy…”

Tears welled in my throat and rose to my eyeballs. She has known me for 15 years. We have walked through so many seasons of life together. Three years ago this same amazing friend had the love and courage to tell me the truth: I had to know what was happening at every step, I asked a lot of questions not to seek to understand but because I wanted to know what was happening. I would thrive when there was a plan in place and would feel more laid back but when people or circumstances around me were uncertain it would make me uncomfortable, I’d feel unsafe and I would reach for control. As I flipped through the pages of the old journal I had written these things in I read her final words, “Figure out when organized Kasia needs to sit back or come out, throw things to the wind, it will be ok.”

It’s there, in faded blue ink but if I am completely honest with you, I had no idea how to do this. For years I was growing in awareness but my knowledge was not translating into action. Over the last few months, everything changed as I began to learn what to dowith it, and peace finally came, to stay.

When we feel whole inside, when we are full, we become much more willing to make empowered and loving choices in our lives. This was what I was missing, true surrender to God, trusting in His love. There had been seasons throughout the years but when hard or painful circumstances hit, my trust would dissipate. I had spent so much time pursuing knowing, and wanting to follow rules. I had placed my focus on how to please others to receive love, theirs and God’s. Yet, I was still motivated by fear. Over the years I’ve slowly gone deeper into past wounds that needed healing and finally gave the remainder over to God.

Prv 4:23 “Above all, be careful what you think because your thoughts control your life.”

In past months I’ve learned how to identify my emotions (name my feelings); how to track those emotions to the thoughts that triggered them and then really look at what beliefs birthed those thoughts. I found that many of my beliefs about myself didn’t align with what God believes about me. I’ve also found that my power doesn’t come from trying to control outcomes but rather from taking responsibility for myself. When my power comes from God I don’t need to rescue, save or control. I have nothing to prove. I just show up every day as my best self, loving God and loving life.

Lam3:22-24 “Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning, great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion, therefore I will trust in him.”

His compassions are new every morning. This is why we are not consumed. Through all of life’s ups and downs we can look at this and see His compassion never fails. When I added the “why” something in me shifted and came into perspective.

Every morning we get a fresh start at life. God says so. Knowing this helps me to not be consumed by my past mistakes, whether from the day before, or a year ago or many years ago. I can put down the shame I carry. I can claim this compassion.

Self-trust requires self-compassion. That’s what this passage points me to, to embrace God’s compassion. When I am not kind to myself, I have lost sight of and stopped believing in my intrinsic value to God, my goodness, my worthiness. When I accept it for myself first I also begin to trust others and extend them compassion. Therefore, even if I don’t know ‘the plan’ I can just kick back and enjoy the ride and just be easy. Ha! I can’t tell you what an amazing ride that has been.

If my fears are leading me, I create that which I’m afraid of. When God’s love is leading me, I can claim the peace He’s offering.

My focus this year and theme has been love, God’s love for me. Initially I kind of felt guilty for choosing that theme. “Isn’t it selfish?” I thought to myself, “to focus on me?” but this was where it all needed to shift. My change didn’t need to start with outward behavior, it needed to begin within me and what I believe about me and how God sees me. My freedom came not just through the knowledge of the truth, but through obedience, meaning choosing to believe His truth and act accordingly.

The challenge came: Pray for yourself that which you have been praying for those you love, to see yourself the way God sees you, as you prayed for them to see themselves as God sees them. The more I have accepted love the more I extend compassion to myself, the more I take responsibility for myself, the more healing just flows in, even in the hard and most excruciating moments. The more I accepted His love for me the more whole I became and love came to overflowing, even in unpleasant circumstances. I was now equipped to handle them differently. I could feel all the feelings and didn’t necessarily need to do anything about them.

I still have moments where my emotions flood me but now I am equipped to process them instead of letting them rule me and dictate my actions. Faith is actually an active participatory process, and I am participating. I am not perfect and I really don’t have the desire to be anymore. Now I’m learning how to seek interdependence with others. I show up, all of me, I allow my needs to be known. Heck, I know what my needs are and how to meet them myself, that’s been huge. I’m learning the dance and balance of giving and receiving as God intends it, and most days, I can’t stop smiling. Not because I have everything I want, or life is always great, but because I am learning to live in love, not for love. I am learning to distinguish what is true through the lens of loving compassion.

John 10:10 “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”

I don’t really know what’s next for me or those I love. I don’t know what God’s plan is, but I trust that it is good and I don’t need to know it, to know it is good.