Know Yourself

Know who you are and don’t apologize for it. You’re a wonderful, beautiful, one of a kind human, and you have a unique purpose and path that nobody else has.

Know what works for you. Your personality, strengths, gifts, and talents make you better suited for some things than others. Get to know how you work best, live best, and function best. What makes you work, live, and function at your best?

Know what motivates you. What drives you?

Know what energizes you. What kinds of environments and situations make you thrive? How do you recharge?

Know what you’re about. Who are you at your core? What beliefs do you hold tightly to? What are your dreams and goals for the future?

Decide what your life’s purpose is and align your choices with that. What are your values? What matters the most to you? If you were to write a manifesto for your life, what would it say?

It’s difficult to feel like you’re making purposeful decisions if you don’t have a good understanding of what your overarching purpose is in life. It will look different in each stage of your life, but it becomes much easier to make choices when you know what your aim is.

We’re all different. We live different kinds of lives. We embody different aspects of God’s holiness. We work best when we work together; your art complements mine, and mine complements yours.

Sometimes we discover our art, our gifts, and our talents through trial and error.

Sometimes our purpose changes based on our circumstances and season in life.

Sometimes there is no single “right way” to do things. That’s okay. It leaves room for personal expression and gives us all the freedom to do things our own way. We’re all called to walk different paths. No two are the same. Don’t be afraid to boldly walk along yours and live the abundant life you’ve been made for.

Be different. Stand out. Be you. Because you’re pretty great.

 

P.S. If you’re interested in reading more on this topic, stay tuned for an announcement I’m going to make soon about a little passion project I’ve been cooking up! 😉

A Quiet Space and a Slower Pace

Even after writing about pausing and making time to slow down during the busyness of the Christmas season, I’m finding myself getting swept up in the mayhem.

It’s so easy, isn’t it?

Scrolling through our Facebook or Instagram feeds, losing our motivation to keep things small when we see the beauty of what others have created, longing for the same things in our homes and our lives. Seeing others’ highlight reels causes us to somehow forget the craziness and all the hard work required to do all the things and the reason why we’ve decided to pare down the planning and festivities this year in the name of creating some peace.

Even if we say we’re not going to overcommit, not going to say yes to too many things, not going to agree to things we don’t want to do or even to all the things we do want to do, we do.

How do we teach ourselves to live differently? How do we train ourselves to move more slowly, savor each step, and cherish each season while it’s here?

I think it starts with seemingly small steps. Creating new habits one choice at a time. Setting aside time today to quiet the thoughts in our heads and silencing our phones long enough to breathe deep and see the bigger picture. A moment to refocus and remember what this time of year is supposed to be about.

It’s difficult to set aside time when it seems like the whole world is hustling and bustling around you to the tune of Jingle Bells. But all it takes is a moment. A moment to breathe. A moment to pause. A moment to remember.

For the sake of your sanity and mine, I think we need to create time and space to pause and reflect on this season and the past year. Time to think about what went well, what didn’t, who we are, who we want to be, what we want to do, and the whys behind it all.

The more often we stop to remind ourselves what really matters, the easier it will become. And, I think, the better we’ll be for having done it.

This week, I’ve been forced to spend more time doing just that, as my computer and my car are out for repairs. It has been inconvenient in some ways, of course, but in others, I think it has been good. I’ve read more. I’ve rested more. I’ve been more flexible, realizing I probably won’t get everything done that I wanted, so where’s the harm in taking a little extra time here or there to do other things? Even though it wasn’t initially my choice, I’m glad I’ve made more time to just sit and stop participating in the holiday hustle.

I’ve been thinking more about what I need and what I don’t need. I’ve been doing the important things before some of the productive things. And that has been glorious.

So will you join me today in creating space and a place to pause? Time and room to think, to dream, to sit with your thoughts instead of rushing off to do the next thing on your to-do list? Time to rest in peace. Now doesn’t that sound like a good way to spend the Christmas season?

 

 

Further reading:

7 Advent Practices That Will Make Your December Better by Catherine McNeil, Relevant Magazine

You Said You Need This More Than Anything by Emily P. Freeman

Self Care During the Holidays by Rachael Hartley, Avocado a Day Nutrition

 

Leaving a Legacy

I got the chance to attend the memorial service for my friend’s mom this morning, and while it was incredibly sad to think about life without her, it was a great opportunity to hear more about her from those who were closest to her.

I couldn’t help but wonder what people might say after I’ve left this earth. It’s only natural to wonder that when listening to the legacies that will live on with the successors of those who pass on, isn’t it? The lessons our loved ones have taught us, the indelible fingerprints they have left on our hearts, will last for a long time to come.

What will people remember most about us when we’re gone? What kind of impression are we making upon those we interact with on a regular basis? Are we choosing to live our lives in a manner that will leave the world a better place?

Will those who knew us say that we were too busy, or that we never failed to make time for them? Will they remember us as generous or stingy? Will we be called compassionate, gracious, merciful, and loving? Or will we be remembered for being workaholics, spending countless hours in the office, pursuing things that we can’t take with us?

I say this not because I am confident that all of my character qualities are ones that I proudly bear, but because I needed this reminder to focus on what really matters, and I think many of you might, too.

When you look back on your own life, what sticks out to you? Do you remember days spent with family and friends, or do you have more memories of time spent climbing the corporate ladder or pursuing the fleeting and insignificant things of this world that will be quickly forgotten? What things would you change? What’s holding you back from changing those things? You have the power to shape the kind of memory you will leave behind.

What kind of a legacy do you want to leave?