So what do you do? Before my brain caught up with my smart aleck mouth I responded – everything I can to keep from getting a full-time job! The mortified look on the young woman’s face was enough to send me into fits of laughter, which I’m sure confirmed for her that I was indeed crazy.
As she searched for a way to move past the awkward moment, I took a second to savor it. Finally I felt confident in just being me.
It’s not that I had been living a less than authentic life. It was more so that I was only allowing a portion of myself to fully emerge – the part that focused on what I do rather than the whole of who I am. As a result I was successful and happy, but still a part of me felt trapped and constantly searched for something else.
That’s why when this latest transition happened in my life, I decided to take a time out. Not from working – I do still have to pay the bills– but from the frenetic pace that had become my life. You know those seasons when it seems like every second of your day is scheduled? Well, I had one of those for about 20 years.
It was time to explore something different! My goal was simple – for 12 months spend more time listening and thinking versus constantly doing. Y’all it sounded so good in theory, but the first few months nearly drove me crazy. I mean, really. When is the last time you tried to sit still and have a complete thought? It’s a little like sitting in front of a flower watching it slowly unfold. We appreciate the end beauty, but the process holds very little interest.
But what this experience taught me is that life is a journey and the journey is our life. “Destinations” are merely milestones marking our progress. The path is full of mountaintops, valleys, pit stops and plateaus, and the joy of living is in learning how to navigate our winding roads.
As my quiet season progressed, other truths emerged. I now consider these guiding principles for my life. For they remind me to never again get so frenetic that I don’t fully enjoy the experience of living.
First – I can choose my path even when I can’t change my circumstances. Every second of every day, we have the power to make choices that bring about change. Even when circumstances are not in our favor, it doesn’t eliminate our ability to choose how we will react or respond. When we truly embrace our power to choose, fields of opportunity bloom. Because we understand that our circumstances do not define or confine our possibilities.
Second – I have value outside of my comfort zone. What a relief! Because many times we reach a point when we know we’ve outgrown what we’ve been doing, but have no idea what to do next. I call those our “more” moments – as in I know there has got to be something more for me than this. And you’re right! There is more for you. I can’t tell you what your more is, but it’s there. Because everything in this life is for a season, and each one adds something unique and special to our journey. If you’re trying to figure out your “yet to be”, I encourage you to force yourself outside of your comfort zone by trying something new. It fires up parts of your brain you didn’t even know existed, and reinforces the notion that there is more in store if we have the courage to explore.
Finally, and probably most important – I am enough. Our value comes from who we are and whose we are, not what we do. As long as we’re defining ourselves by ever-changing situations, we’ll always be in search of significance. Freedom comes when we understand that God created us whole and complete. We don’t have to find ourselves or our other half. We are enough.
And that brings me back to why I was so delighted with my response to the question of what I do. You see, I could have said I’m a blogger, a marketing strategist, a board member or any number of other things that would have allowed her to determine what box to place me in based on what value she determined for my life. But I’m not having it. I’m not just living outside the box – I’m burning it! I refuse to go back inside, or to place anyone else in it. Because here’s the truth – we don’t need to be “somebody” to be who we are created to be.
We are all valuable and beloved children of God. He created us with free will, and the choice to fully embrace that power is all our own. I hope you join me in living outside the box. Because the twists and turns of your path may take you far outside the lines, but if you keep walking it will surely lead to the abundant, unimaginable life that He has promised.
Loving on Me as I Love You! ❤
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