“Take chances, Make mistakes. That’s how you grow. Pain nourishes your courage. You have to fail in order to practice being brave.” -Mary Tyler Moore
Our check-in routine consists of backing in, lowering the front jacks, un-hitching, leveling out and letting the kids out of the truck to play. The kids grab their scooters and begin exploring our newest campsite. It only takes about 10 minutes to hear a distant scream and see a bloody knee or a tear-stained face heading our way. When we decided to ditch the kids’ bikes, we didn’t take into account the learning curve. I thought we weren’t accident prone, but mix together new rocky surroundings with pent-up energy and I was quickly becoming a triage nurse.
Pain came in many forms those first couple of weeks on the road, but one that hit the hardest and healed the slowest was my identity. Whenever we would blow a tire, take 45 minutes to back-in (with a crowd forming to watch/help), or respond to the question, “What are you doing with your life?” my identity would begin to shred. What was I thinking, moving my family of 6 into a 350 square foot home on wheels with no plan or experience to navigate? As the weeks went on, I felt like a wound was trying to heal, process and mend, but I was in the stage where it hurts before it gets better. The only way for me to get better and find peace was to stay in the moment and be authentic with my fears, but not let myself perform any self-sabotaging moves. One thing that really helped me process was to journal my thoughts before I talked to anyone. Here’s my basic journaling outline for processing through the unknown:
- Express emotions, thought, or feeling—however frantic
- Stay in reality
- Express fears, doubt, and shame in the current situation
- Find the silver lining of hope
- Tame what I can and let go of what I can’t control
When expressing my feelings on paper, it’s important for me to get real and down to my core wounds, some of which are value, belonging and peace. To do that, I need to process all the firing thoughts sparking off in my head while staying in reality. I have to stay focused on my current pain or discomfort and not allow myself to jump into the imagination of a pile of mistakes crashing down on me. Doing this helps me clear through the weeds and identify my true doubts, fears or shame. I am often able to name the fear on the table—one time in particular, I felt that I had made all the wrong decisions and messed up my kids completely. The truth was that I didn’t make this decision on my own, but as a team with Adam; and, even if we do totally screw up our kids, hopefully they’ll still emotionally survive (just in case, we keep a full-time counselor in the wings). In this specific situation, I had to honestly ask myself what we valued for our kids to learn. Mistakes and failures are a part of life—and will hurt—but you will heal and will always belong with your family. Taking risks into the unknown will allow your roots to grow deep and your confidence to soar; then, when you choose joy and let go of what you can’t control and tame what you can, you will find peace.
For me, my attitude was the quickest way for me to get involved in the mess and still find hope. My questions and circumstances didn’t change, but once my attitude did, I was able to find security in the unknown and faith in every decision. I was able to laugh when water poured out the back of the RV and find my footing while navigating re-wiring and plumbing issues. I still had doubts and closed my eyes when we drove under unmarked bridges, but fear didn’t control my future, belonging wasn’t my motivation, and peace was my guide.
How do you navigate uncharted waters? Where do you find peace in the midst of pain?? Do you close your eyes and keep walking, or do you need someone by your side to give you courage??
I would love to hear from you!