Reflection of a Photograph
I look at the photo above from a year ago and reflect on what that girl knew then versus what this girl knows now.
I was in Arizona, accompanying a friend on her business trip so I could help with her baby. I had no idea how much that trip would affect me.
The girl that decided to be brave and walk downtown in a city she had never been to before had no idea how big of a step that would be in becoming more independent and less afraid. I enjoyed the sunshine and the beautiful little store fronts as I walked alone. I sat in a corner diner at a small table and enjoyed an ice cream cone alone. I was alone, but I didn’t feel lonely. I was alone, but I didn’t feel anxious about it. I was alone, and I was actually enjoying it.
Now, some might think this is not that big of a deal, but it is for me. I used to be afraid of being alone. I used to have anxiety. In college, I could give a speech in front of the classroom and be okay, but I hated walking into a new classroom for the first time. I didn’t like driving somewhere I had never been before. I didn’t like being in crowds. I didn’t like things to change. All these things caused me anxiety.
So saying yes to traveling by plane with my friend and her two month old really wasn’t the type of situation I thought I would find myself in, but I did. I prayed about it. I asked God to help me be helpful to her. Doing something like this for myself would’ve been a nightmare to me. This was for her though. I was there to help her. Being able to focus on helping her actually ended up helping me.
It was helping me stay calm when I normally would have been stressed out.
This trip was preparing me for things I didn’t know about yet. Venturing out alone downtown was preparing me to be less dependent on man, to trust God more, and to be less afraid. I didn’t know the challenges I was about to face. I didn’t know that the rest of that year would be about letting go of the fears I held so tightly and trusting God. I didn’t know the things I thought were important would no longer be important. I didn’t know how much my life could change in a year.
I know now that I don’t have to be so afraid of change. I know now that I don’t have to depend on others for my happiness. I know now that I can face the unknown. I know now that I can do more alone.
A few weeks ago, I went back to our local home improvement store because they were having another garden sale. I went without my husband this time. If you read my post about our experience going together then you know that these sales can get pretty crowded and chaotic. I decided I could handle it alone. My husband usually drives us, but I had to drive myself this time. When I got there, the parking lot was so full that cars were beginning to back up on the road. It wasn’t that busy last time. So I was a bit surprised at this. I stayed calm though, managed to find a parking space, and braved the crowded garden center on my own. I found a few of the items I wanted, made it through the checkout line with both hands full, and made it out of the crowded parking lot.
I was so happy to be able to make it through that experience alone and not have anxiety. I was so excited to tell my husband about it when I got home, and he was proud of me. It made me feel good for him to understand how much of an accomplishment that was for me after being a first-hand witness to the anxiety I had before.
Sometimes though, you are the only one who knows how far you have come, and that is okay.
If you are not where you want to be yet, hang in there. You don’t know what is ahead. Also, don’t worry about what is ahead. Focus on what you are doing now. For what you are doing now may actually be preparing you for something that’s coming.
When you have moments when you are at peace, or extremely happy with yourself, savor those times. I savored that alone time in Arizona. I locked that memory in because even though I didn’t know what was ahead, I knew it was worth holding onto.
I pray that you will be able to look back at your own moment captured in a photograph, or a sparked memory, and be grateful for what it has taught you.