shine like the stars bright

When I was a teenager, I had a sticker on my closet door that read I'm not opinionated; I'm just always right. And at that age, I believed that I was. I thought I knew just about everything I needed to know in order to live my life.

I'm no longer that teenager, but I do still struggle with thinking that I know best and that I have all the answers I need to have. Finally, I am beginning to learn that I have close to none of the answers and that while I might have a good idea of what is best, the decisions are so much harder to come to.

As a teenager, I focused more on myself and how each decision impacted my life. I carried that on with me into college and the beginning of our marriage. Because each decision doesn't just impact my life; each decision impacts my husband's life and our future life.

Going to him with questions and with uncertainty is difficult. Because I want to know. I want to explain my reasoning. And I want to hear that I am right. I want that instant gratification, that sigh of relief that comes once you realize everything is going to work out for the bestthe way you want it to.

We've spent quite a bit of time talking recently and dreaming. Wondering where our lives will be in a year and in five years. Trying to understand how to not repeat the same mistakes and how to move forward the way we want to. And it's becoming clear that it's so much harder than I thought it would but also so much more rewarding.

And everything is a decision we are making together. The nights I spend at the gym. The dinners I took. The things we watch on television. Some times the decision is made in his favor; other times the decision is made in my favor. Regardless we are doing our best to make it together and not without one another.

It's a hard thing to go from the mentality of always being right to the mentality of asking what someone else thinks and then actually listening and absorbing their response. And it's a hard thing to go from wanting and needing instant gratification to a place of conversing and thinking and wondering and then waiting for the gratification you hope will come.

At times, I think we actually know what we are doing. At times, I think we are finally where we've been trying to get for the past however long amount of time. At times, the cockiness of my teenage years creeps back into my mind and I think that I know best. Even better than God who so clearly planned for my husband and I to meet and marry.

I am at that point where I could easily give into the cockiness and think that I know best. I am at the point where I want to let go of the plans and give into the wants I have. In the past, I likely would have thrown caution to the wind and given in hoping that things would work themselves back out.

Except I know better. I know better than I did when I was a teenager. I know better than I did when I was newly married. And because I know better, I am making the choice to not let go, not give in, and not throw caution to the wind.
Marriage is important, and it deserves to be treated as such. It's not something to laugh at or to make jokes about. But so many have turned it into just that. I've even turned it into that in the past. There's no such thing as a perfect husband, a perfect wife, or a perfect marriage. Perfect simply does not exist in our world. We're all flawed, and I think realizing that is a step in the right direction. Knowing that you aren't perfect and that you are not always right allows you to open up to another person and have a marriage of compromise.

My husband is so supportive. More so than I probably give him credit for. But isn't that always the way? we struggle to give credit when someone is doing everything they possibly can. For me it is sometimes because I realize how much farther I have to go in order to be as supportive as he is.

The holidays always make me think about marriage and relationships. It's been several years since I celebrated Thanksgiving and Christmas with my family. And it's hard. And it has made me more of a scrooge than not. It's tempting to be that Scrooge again this year. To think about all the things I don't have and want. But what if I did the opposite? What if I focused on what I do have instead? What if I say that I have been wrong for acting the way I have? What if I admit that I'm not always right about the holidays?

I'm the only one who can dictate my own actions. I'm the one who lays my head down on my pillow every night. I can have all the support in the world, but it's still up to me.

So I'm making that decision. About the holidays and about compromise and about holding strong to the dreams my husband and I share. I'm further bidding farewell to the girl who thought she was always right and saying hello to the girl who is willing to admit she is wrong. I'm bidding farewell to the Scrooge and saying hello to the opportunities the holiday season brings.

And, finally, I'm working on saying goodbye to the girl of plans. The girl who has to know when everything is going to happen. The girl who doesn't like when things change unexpectedly. And I am saying hello to the girl who welcomes God's plan and purpose - even when it looks different than imagined.

Who are you saying hello and goodbye to?

(title from "this is not the end" by gungor)

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