YEAH!! Thanks to the wonderful world of text messages, cell phones and Facebook, I am feeling overly loved (is that possible?) and extremely blessed. I have spent my morning basking in messages, phone calls, emails, Tweets and funny notes left all over my office. I started my morning (after my 5:30 AM walk with Lucy Jane) thanking God for the year He’s given me and praying about the year He’s going to give me. In my journal, I wrote, “Give me the courage to live a radical life for You – one that makes a difference. Let me have the determination to make the next year of my life count for You… regardless of how I may feel, how uncomfortable, nervous or self-conscious I may get. ”
I think that over the last several days I had started to lose sight of WHAT God may be doing and just started getting wrapped up in life of rearranging furniture, working out, beach weekends, you know, stuff. But over the past few days, a text message from Greg and a phone call from Jen slowly started bringing it all back to the surface. Then something my friend Terrie wrote to me last night reminded me how He is getting ready to do SOMETHING.
SHINE I have the attention span of a flea!
Anyhow, since it is my birthday, I’ve also spent a good portion of the morning indulging myself in one of my guilty pleasures: blog hopping. (Yeah, probably not the most productive us of my time here at work, but hey, have I mentioned it’s my birthday?!!) One of my favorite bloggers, Anne Jackson is also a guest blogger on a new website, (in)Courage (and let me thoroughly THROUGHLY encourage you to click on the link, forget my blog and go there - it is more than beyond worth it). I was reading some of the past posts and happened upon one by Melissa Michaels on finding peace with the season you’re in. I haven’t asked for permission to repost this, so please, if you’re considering turning me in, let me know so that I can drink all my Coke Lights before they haul me off to the slammer.
Highlights from Courage To Be You by Melissa Michaels
So, how do you find peace with yourself and the season you are in?
Here are some tips that have encouraged me along the way:
1. Get to know your heart.
What makes your heart beat a little faster? What are your passions in life? God gave each of us special gifts and things that He has planted in our heart to share with the world. We are all unique! We don't have to have it all together or keep up with someone else's priorities -- we can find beauty and peace living the life God intended for us. Our life might look a little messier or less "put together" than our neighbors, but we can find fulfillment in being authentic and true to who we really are. Let yourself discover and develop the passions God gave you.
2. Be purposeful.
Take pleasure in the things you decide to focus on! Whether it is keeping up with the dishes, serving the community or playing with your kids, find fulfillment in your special purpose each day. There is a time and season for everything -- some things you really love doing might have to wait for another phase of life. Be patient for God's timing! The things you choose to focus on may not look as impressive as what your friends do, but if you live purposefully you will care less and less about what other people think.
3. Embrace imperfection.
This can be a tough one for some of us! We feel God can't use us or we can't fully enjoy life or care about others until we can attain a certain level of perfection. "I will have the neighbors over WHEN we get this and that done around the house." It is hard to admit, but many of us hide behind our imperfections. Those imperfections become an excuse for our inability to live out God's purpose in our life.
We can become easily self-conscious about our homes, the way we decorate or our looks and lose sight of more important things in life. We need to give ourselves permission to be "in process" and focus our attention on finding contentment with what we have been blessed with. Once we can accept our imperfection and remove that roadblock, we can find new freedom in becoming all that God calls us to be.
4. Resist comparing yourself.
I love reading magazines, books and blogs. I love shopping and looking at beautiful things. I get a lot of encouragement and motivation this way! But I need to keep myself in check by not overwhelming my senses with too many suggestions. When I feed myself a steady diet of things that distract me, I quickly become overwhelmed and discontent.
I'm not just talking about avoiding ideas that are beyond my means! Even TOO MANY simple ideas or suggestions of things I "could be doing" can give a sense of not measuring up and being behind before I even get started! I find it really important to protect my mind from overload and distraction so I can focus on what I've determined God has called me to right now in my own life. Feeling balanced and content requires a balanced diet of input. Comparing myself to others on a regular basis is not healthy or productive for me.
5. Have Courage!
Finding contentment in who we are and purposefully living the life God planned for us takes real courage. It is oftentimes easier to drown ourselves in discontent in the life we live and pronounce ourselves failures for not being as talented or accomplishing as much as our neighbor.
Allowing God to use us right where we are, (in spite of our imperfections), having the courage to say no to input that distracts us, and the resolve to live purposefully in the season we are in will open the door for us to become all that God intends us to be.
Have a great day, my friends. Do something courageous today as a birthday gift to me. And pray for me as I find the courage to do what He is calling me to.