Confession: I’m not good at vacationing.

You may read that and chuckle, or think that I’m being dramatic, but it’s true. I’m terrible at stepping away, powering down & taking a break. When it comes time for vacation, my perfectionist nature starts to freak out underneath the surface.

“I can’t step away until everything is tied up perfectly.”

“Who will do this or that, and do it as well as I can?”

“I don’t know how to rest well, and if I can’t do it well, why do it at all?”

I escalate to a Level 10 real quick when it’s time to for vacation.

Over the last year and a half, I’ve done the really hard, deep work of getting to know myself. Going to counseling, meeting regularly with our pastor + Nathan, discovering the Enneagram and reading, researching & studying the wisdom that it has for myself and others, hours of journaling… When I take a step back and see where I started and where I am now, I’m insanely proud of the hard work I’ve done. And while I’ve made some big steps forward, I’m constantly humbled by the reminders that there is a lifetime of learning ahead of me.

This afternoon while on the beach, a storm rolled in quickly & unexpectedly, causing us to pack up all the things and head out. Out of nowhere, I felt my anxiety, need for control & snappiness fire up. And then I loathed myself for it. All in a matter of 5 seconds, tops. These are not my finest qualities as an Enneagram 1. Once we got back to the condo, I felt a wave of emotions, most of which I usually would push down and power through. Instead, I took a deep breath, mixed up a drink, and headed to the back porch by myself. I didn’t reprimand myself for losing my cool, didn’t chide myself for not going with the flow, didn’t force myself to jump in on the unpacking or preparing to go out for dinner. And I’m not holding back from including the detail of making myself a drink at four in the afternoon out of fear of the audiences I once worked with, who may read this and think less of the girl who once agreed to not drink while employed with them. I gave myself grace and alone time. Because I know myself well enough, now, to know that this is what I needed and that it is okay, allowed, and glorious in the Lord’s eyes. Sitting here now, a few tears choose to roll down my cheeks from time to time as I breathe deep and let myself be still. If only you could hear the thunder & rain rolling in.

In this season I’m learning both the value of hard work and the value of rest. The give and the take, the hustle and the slow. Rest for me means listening to my emotions and obeying my deepest needs, even when they feel less than put together or unacceptable on the surface. It means allowing myself to feel the feelings and ask for what I need, unapologetically. I love the people I’m on vacation with, but I needed alone time. So when my husband came to join me on the porch and asked if I wanted to shower next, I said no thank you and asked to sit out here alone. When my body and emotions wanted to release tears, I let them roll. Because somewhere deep down inside of me must need that emotional release so I will let it have it.

These days don’t get easier and the self-acceptance doesn’t necessarily become smoother to swallow. But the Lord’s tender grace and goodness does become sweeter. And realizing that I was crafted and created in His image with a glorious purpose in mind helps me to learn to love the parts of me that feel unlovable and celebrate the parts of me that I still don’t fully understand. Doing the hard work to know yourself is a tough, but worth it, journey friends. Grit your teeth and dive in. There is so much grace and beauty and rest on the other side.

I’ll close with the words of my favorite poem, which have given so much freedom and life to this Enneagram 1’s heart…

You do not have to be good. You do not have to walk on your knees for a hundred miles through the desert repenting. You only have to let the soft animal of your body

love what it loves. Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.

Meanwhile the world goes on. Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain

are moving across the landscapes, over the prairies and the deep trees, the mountains and the rivers. Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air, are heading home again. Whoever you are, no matter how lonely, the world offers itself to your imagination, calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting – over and over announcing your place in the family of things.

“Wild Geese,” by Mary Oliver

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