I never set out to write a book. I started my blog SarahJakes.com as a way to release the pain that I was feeling internally. I was fighting for my marriage and still trying to present something “beautiful” to God. I started the blog as a place I could tell my truth and the more I blogged, the more people responded. I then realized that by being transparent and sharing my struggles, I was able to inspire other people and together, we all started to dream again. I hope these 8 tips will inspire you to release the pain and choose to love YOU first.
1) Both people have to want to communicate to create their conversation.
When you first hold an infant in your arms, even the most eloquent conversationalists resort to oohs and ahhs. You recognize that the baby isn’t developed enough to understand language on your level. Still, the desire doesn’t prohibit you from trying to communicate. When I wrote that line in Lost & Found I was expressing how intent I was on speaking on my level and how intent my ex was on his. We were communicating, but we weren’t having a true conversation because neither of us understood the other.
2) Love isn’t enough if it makes you worse. Love is far too sweet to have left you so bitter.
Love in its purest form is an incredible gift from God meant to better us. When something is created to grow us, each day won’t be comfortable, but in the end we’ll be better because we were willing to be stretched. If love left you bitter it wasn’t love itself. For me, it was the lethal combination of love, shame and insecurities that left me bitter. I believe love ultimately saved me, so I can’t allow bad experiences to taint it completely.
3) The more you can be distracted by things and people, the less time you have to search and find what God has placed inside of you.
Every person and situation in our life carries a lesson about who we are. We spend so much time focusing on how we affect them that we don’t learn how they’ve changed us. We must be diligent in our quest for seeing God in every area of our life. More than emotion or joy, do you see God’s handprint on the things and people in your lives?
4) What we create is what we’re responsible for, not what we wanted.
In Lost & Found, I talk about how I wanted my children to view a healthy marital relationship like I did. As much as I wanted that though, I did not create that. Wanting something and creating it are two completely different things. In the end, I had to face that I, too, was responsible for failing to create a healthy marriage for them to witness.
5) You can’t ask for directions from people who are lost themselves.
I thought that I would find myself in my ex-husband, but ultimately he was still searching himself. I pulled one way, he pulled another. We made our journey much more difficult than it had to be because we trusted one another more than we trusted God.
6) Choosing to be bitter doesn’t hurt the other person. It only hurts those who come around you.
I thought that I could hide my heartbreak; let enough of my heart show that those around me couldn’t see I was suffering. The truth is that bitterness affects every part of you. You can’t isolate its effect to one area. Those who truly know you will always be able to tell when you’re smiling to keep from crying.
7) The more my transparency helped others see themselves in a better light, the more I vowed to tell my truth.
My process of embracing myself helped so many people that it encouraged me to see how much more of God’s love I could allow to overflow in my life. I began to focus on areas where I knew I needed growth and then shared it with others. Together we committed to encouraging one another to grow.
8) I gave the last ounce of my pain a voice and talked about how shame had been handcuffing my ability to dream.
I thought that embracing the challenges of being a teen mom on the inside was enough. It wasn’t until I shared my process at one of our conferences that I learned the beauty in sharing your testimony. The more I released the shame the more room I had to dream.
Sarah Jakes book Lost and Found: Finding Hope in the Detours of Life releases on April 1, 2014 and is available for pre-order at Amazon.com.