Break the Shell and Grow

I went to a conference that was about social emotional learning. I was very excited to go because I love to learn how to better connect with my students. That begins with understanding them as the emotional little beings they are. Little did I know that I was going to learn how to connect with (get ready for this)… me. My mind was blown. Despite the number of times God brings something to me right when I need it, I am always awestruck when He sends things to me right on time.

Right before leaving for this conference, I finished the book Love Warrior by Glennon Doyle. That book was SO ridiculously raw and real and made me start to deal with my discomforts. I took from it that I had to a lot of work to do to me, and to do this I had to deal with the parts of me that make me super uncomfortable. Then, the next day I arrive at this conference, and I am literally moved to tears listening to Brene Brown. Her presentation was titled “The Connection between Courage and Compassion.” She had my attention from the start because she started with a story that I related to all too well. She told about a time her husband said something that made her so angry. She took his simple line about the fact that there was no food in the house, “I can’t even make a damn sandwich” and ran with it. She was so enraged that he didn’t recognize all the work she had done and had to do, so she filled in the lines with “conspiracies (stories with parts missing that we fill with fear and our beliefs) and confabulations (a lie told honestly because the person truly believes it). Come to find out he was just hungry. He was simply hungry. I cannot count how many times my husband has been at the receiving end of that. Anyway, she went on to talk about emotional literacy. This is being able to recognize your feelings and actually articulating them. Wait. What? You want me to actually say the things that making me angry and bitter? You want me to literally verbalize what I am really thinking?!? She also brought me back to dealing with your own discomforts. Actually sitting with the emotions that you have buried deep inside and make you super uncomfortable, so you keep pushing them down.  My best friend said that is the stupidest thing she’s ever heard. Granted it does sound crazy, but I think there is something to that. I listened to some words of wisdom from a Rabbi recently. He talked about how a lobster does not have enough room in its shell to grow. It gets very uncomfortable in the tight place, so it hides and sheds the old shell to grow a new one. It does this several times during its lifetime. The rabbi goes on to say that if a lobster had doctors to “fix” the discomfort with meds, it would never learn to get rid of the old and develop a new better fitting shell. Times of stress are actually times of growth. Wait, what? MIND. BLOWN. I have to move through the discomforts that are holding me back. I have to start to verbalize my thoughts and feelings and stop waiting for someone else to figure me out. It's time to get rid of this old shell and grow.

That makes so much sense, and I know that God has been trying to tell me this over and over, so why can’t I make it happen? This is the million dollar question.

After listening to Brene share her wisdom and experiences, it brought me back to the fact that so many of us are sharing the same battle. No matter who you are, where you are, or what you do. That brought me back to The Ladies Who. I knew when Beth called me to be a part of this podcast, that there was a purpose for me in this. I have always known that God has a bigger purpose for my life. These books, and conferences, and women that seem to keep “randomly” coming into my life are leading me to this: I have a voice that women can connect to. In order to help anyone, I have to deal with my discomfort, settle them, and grow.

And so the journey begins with four lovely women telling it like it is….Stay tuned my friends.

Christa Talbott