I use to be an extremely stressed person. My mind is constantly organizing, problem solving, twirling, spinning, and hyper extending itself into a frenzy. That combined with some major trials in my life left me with “stress” being my first, middle, and last name. Along with stress came negativity. I was constantly worrying about something, angry/sad about something, or simply just being a mean chick. Even when I was amongst friends having a good time, sarcasm was my humor of choice and being bold and rude was my way of getting a laugh. Now don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t a monstrous tyrant, but negativity was like a cloud hanging over me during both the bad times and the good times.
In 2012 I hit the lowest point of my life thus far. That year was the dark for me. On the surface I probably seemed alright; even better than alright. CAREER wise I was flourishing. Music was finally paying the bills as I’d always wanted it to. I went on my first national tour that year. I also began to make a name for myself in my regional theater community. I was performing full time and loving every consistent, stressful, hardworking, beautifully artistic moment of it all. FINANCIALLY it was obvious I was struggling, but I didn’t let it show on the outside just how dead broke I was. I held rent parties to come up with my rental payments. Certain bills I just let fall behind. However, at the end of the day, “struggling” was an understatement. I lost my apartment, stored my things in a storage unit, and found myself homeless for the second time in my life. Luckily, sleepovers among my group of friends were common and I had people in my life willing to let me crash on their couches. When it came to LOVE, I was in your typical, All-American, yo-yo relationship. One day I was happily committed to this one person, the next day I was being dumped. The next week we’d be committed again. This cycle was never ending… On the outside it seemed like life had thrown me a few obstacles, but I was dealing with them as best I could; staying afloat. On the inside, though, I was drowning. The STRESS of all that’s involved with a career in performance and all that was happening in my life was consuming me. Month after month I was sinking lower and lower into depression. My yo-yo relationship made me feel unlovable. Not having a home stripped me of peace. Not being in control of my career and attempting to plan ahead constantly kept my mind moving. Money was nonexistent compared to the mountain of bills and payments I was responsible for. Having to take extremely large sums of money from my parents left me feeling like a burden and a complete failure at life. (I mean it was A LOT of money ya’ll!!) Nights where I had nowhere to stay left me sitting in my car waiting until sunrise. Drinking became more than just a social activity; it became my escape. Sleep became my pastime. At my lowest, I didn’t want to live. I didn’t necessarily want to off myself, but I really wished I didn’t exist anymore. I felt, financially, my family would be better off and the burdens of my hardships would be lifted off of them and my close friends. I honestly felt my lack of existence would be doing everyone a favor.
That was ROCK BOTTOM. The cool thing about rock bottom, though, is there’s nowhere to go but up. Me coming out of that dark, horrifying place took a lot of mental and emotional effort. It all started with a prayer: “Lord, make me better.” I became desperate to make a change. My life literally depended upon it. I was tired of constantly seeing the negative in every situation. I was tired of stress controlling every part of me. Hitting the lowest of the low opened my heart and forced me to be ready for a change. (Funny, the way God will use the bad for your own good.) Life had made me cynical and hard hearted and I was ready to reprogram my mental aura. I began to pray for peace. Peace in my life and peace in my mind. God led me to a reading plan in the bible app that I swear was written just for me. I began to read this plan and the verses that accompanied it everyday.
Two years later, I am still praying to God to make me better. It’s a life choice and a never ending process, but the progress I’ve made with the Lord thus far leaves me at a loss for words. All I can say is continuously “Thank You GOD!” Through a lot of prayer, meditation, and effort, I no longer have a negative cloud forever hanging over me. Actively deciding every day to choose positive thoughts over negative ones has revamped my mindset. It’s much easier to see the positive all around me. It’s so much easier to accept that all good and bad in my life is a part of God’s will for me and will work out in my favor. Peace is a part of my life. Happiness is a part of my life. True happiness was something I didn’t even know I was missing until I found it. And stress? Stress is no longer controlling my every thought and emotion. Once I decided to hand over every aspect of my being to God, stress became a thing of the past.
I’m so far from perfect, but I’m so much better than before. (All my musical theatre people, cue Elle Woods) Every day I still have to work hard at positivity, but it’s a more natural part of me now. I continue to pray that God will continue to strengthen me in my quest for positivity and peace, but also that he will continue to open my eyes to my own flaws and shortcomings. I gain so much peace and perspective by actively working on shortcomings that I previously may not have even realized I possessed! I know I will never be perfect, but trying to be more like Jesus is an everyday task that enriches me immensely.
My life is so much more fulfilling and rich ever since I began to pray for God to make me better. I am forever grateful for the work God has done with me in my life thus far, and I look forward to all the work I have ahead with God by my side.