32 days ago, I decided that I would write the book that has been haunting me for the last two years.

I would fast draft it, writing 80k words in one month’s time.

Well, I’ve done it! I crossed the finish line today, on-time with a finished first draft, weighing in at 85,857 words. It’s not perfect, of course, and will require extensive revision, but it’s mine and I did it.

I’m proud of myself. Grateful for the God-given vision for my life as well as the fact that I could follow through on my very own dream. Sure, it took grit and determination– not to mention discipline — to see it to the end. But, what really got me here was a choice that I made seven years ago.

On the grand scale of choices, this particular one didn’t seem large at the time. It was simply a matter of speaking out instead of remaining quiet. It was following my own conscience even when it cost me friends and prestige. Even when a man yelled across the room at me “you’ll never make it with that attitude!” I still chose myself.

Looking back that small decision now seems monumental. It set off a chain reaction in my life– a reverberating shock wave that would repeat with startling frequency. But it was the first time that I chose myself.

It was the first time I chose to listen to my own whisper of a voice instead of the synchronized flood of voices threatening to drown me.

Two years ago, I embarked on a new career. A path that I chose for myself, a path that I fought to get. A path that everyone tried to convince me was wrong for me.

I chose myself.

That same year, I stopped dating men. No longer would I be the girl waiting to be chosen. No longer would I wait for some dude to see me– my beauty, my genius, my vulnerable heart. Instead, i would see me. I would give myself the attention and respect that I deserved. I shut the revolving doors, blocked the phone numbers, and ignored the meaningless texts. I would chose myself instead. I would treat myself with the love and care I craved. I would respect my courageous heart and I wouldn’t settle for being chosen by just anyone. I chose me.

Seven years down the road and my voice has gotten stronger and louder. Each year I’ve found myself trusting it– trusting myself- more and more.

Seven years later and I am standing in the middle of the Dream God dreamt for me.

Seven years later and I’ve found the strength to say “no.” To demand better.

Seven years later and I love the woman that I have become. I love her commitment to herself. I love her vulnerability and her bravery that makes her legs tremble. I’m thankful that she finally stopped settling for being chosen, and decided to become the chooser.

I choose me. Each day I make this decision afresh. It seems like it should be automatic at this point, but choosing yourself is hard. There are always competing interests. Something (or someone) will always present itself as what you should be doing. Something (or someone) will urge you that they are the priority in your life. Every day I have to remind myself of the one “wild and precious” life that is at stake, and I choose myself over and over and over again.

It’s never too late to choose yourself for the first time.

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