I was a guest on a blog radio show on Thursday, to share my story and a little about how I overcame it. We scheduled the interview several weeks in advance and of course I tried to be prepared – what the host expected, time frame, topic, and some questions she would ask me to answer.
It’s been a year since I published my book, Ria’s Story From Ashes To Beauty, and I’ve been speaking on stage about it more than two years. Talking about my story isn’t new to me, but I always pray for strength to share and the right words to help someone else. The show host, Pam Butler, was extremely gracious, sensitive and everything you could want in someone who is interviewing you about your life. One thing she really focused on was “How did you do it? How did you overcome? How did you move from the ashes?” She felt like that was the most important point of my sharing and I agree. My story isn’t about what happened to me as much as it’s about how I responded.
I went to counseling for a short little while after leaving home. Everyone else who knew the details thought I should go see a counselor, so I did, but not for long. I simply wasn’t in a place and time in my life where counseling benefited me, so I didn’t see much point in going. Especially after I got the bill. You become very attached to those dollar bills you earn for waiting on customers, cleaning the tables, and picking up half-eaten pizza crusts, sometimes off the floor.
I am not suggesting in ANY WAY that counseling is a bad thing – there is a place and time for it and please seek it if you need to. I simply felt like it was all talk and no action. And, healing for me is about moving forward, which requires action. Every week we would talk about the mess in my life and how I FELT about it. But, we never got around to what I was going to DO about it.
Anytime we want life to be different, we have to do, think, and be something different.
If I hadn’t done anything different, I might have stayed living at home in that situation. If I hadn’t started to think differently, I might have never considered that the evil from my past could bring good through God’s grace. If I hadn’t become someone different, I might have never found the courage to be vulnerable, write a book and speak about my story.
I knew I needed to turn from the ashes I held inside. Deep in my heart was a wasteland of pain, despair, grief, shame, and even anger. I had to turn from those emotions and feelings and start to live. Not just survive. Life is far too short to simply go through the motions. Life is meant to be lived and that means thriving. Just like Pam, you might ask how? How did I turn away from ashes?
Look for the beauty. Today, and every day, look for the beauty in life.
Have you ever given someone a gift but felt like the receiver was disappointed? Maybe they expected something else, something store-bought, or something more and you felt like they weren’t grateful for the gift. Maybe you’ve been on the other end – you received a gift but felt let down because you expected something nicer or a name brand. For whatever reason, sometimes we can’t see the true value in receiving a gift.
It’s not about the gift itself – it’s how we perceive it. Cliche, I know but, it’s the thought that counts. Are we focused on the item or the love, care and respect that it demonstrates? Life is often the same way. We get so focused on the “item” itself or the situation we are in, and we fail to look beyond the surface for all the good things. They are there, even if we can’t see them. It might take years before you are able to look back and see all the good from your situation or you may never see it all, but it’s there.
Look for the beauty. Today, and every day, look for the beauty in life. God gave us life, and wants us to have abundant life. (John 10:10) Each day is a new day with hope and possibility if we are only open to receiving it. Stop looking for the ashes. Start looking for the beauty.
Ria is a motivational speaker and certified executive coach with a passion for asking questions to empower others to make the right choices today to reach their goals tomorrow. Contact Ria for more information on her coaching programs. To sign up for Ria’s mailing list and receive her complimentary leadership series CLICK HERE.