POD: What you SHOULD do is…

What are you doing—that you don’t want to be doing—only because you think you should?
Who told you you should do it? Is that really true?
What will realistically happen if you choose love for yourself and for the precious opportunity of this life over this so-called “obligation”?
What steps would be involved in offloading this obligation? How would you feel differently if it was gone from your life?
Is offloading this obligation a fantasy, or is it a realistic possibility?

Recently I found myself asking what my motives were for certain actions.  I realized that although not a conscious motive at the time, I have been trying to earn my standing in life.  Deep down, I have done what I thought I needed to be done because it is what I believed I should do.  Yes, at times there are other motives mixed in with obligation, but I have always felt like I had to earn where I am in life.  Like I needed to earn the grace and blessing that God has bestowed upon me.  That epiphany saddened my heart, but also helped me to open up the door for change in my life.

obligationThere are many things that I continue to do, not because I really want to do them,  but because at one point I had said I would do it and letting go seems more like letting others down.  I was raised to be a person of my word.  I was never taught to speak the conditions and time length what I was giving my word to, just to let “yes” be “yes” and “no” mean “no.”

Now when it is time to move on to new things, bigger things, other things, it feels to me like I am going back on my word.  I find that although I am in control of my actions, that I am often driven by past commitments.  I feel the need to continue them long past when I feel the need to stop unless there is a natural break that I can use to my advantage.

I realize that this thought pattern is a false one.  “Yes” can change to “not any more” over time.  Just because at one time something was the right thing to do does not mean it will always be the right thing.  Just as there are seasons in the year, there are seasons in life too.  It is not okay to force seasons to stay longer than it should or shorten them as an excuse to not uphold your word.

As I make this transition in my thinking, I have to overcome the false feeling guilt when I say “not anymore.”  I have to surrender to the fact that I can not live up to other’s expectation of me and be true to who God created me to be.  The only sense of duty that I do have is to live my life to the fullest in who God created me to be.

There are several things already that I have been able to exercise my individuality over and the responsibility to be who I was created to be.  Some things, I find myself still reluctant to let go of.  I must explore why I have such strong ties to things that no long serve where God is leading me.    Areas where I am sure dying to self-will be required when I allow God’s grace to free me from obligations I once felt necessary to take.

It is a realistic possibility to be free from what I have felt like I should do.   It is one that although I deeply desire to walk in, I know will take time to find the courage to do completely.  Offloading what I have held on to long past its seasons and freeing myself to be all that God created me to be.

This post is prompted by
Tara-Nicholle Nelson’s 30 Day Writing Challenge for Conscious Leaders.

 

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POD: Your 2018 miracles

Look around you, in the physical space you are right now. Look at the walls, on the shelves, in the fridge, under the covers. Look in the drawer. Or in your closet. Look out the window if you need to. In your kid’s room. Maybe even look at your own skin, your own body. Look in the mirror. Look into your very own eyes.

What evidence do you seeright nowof a miracle? What evidence do you see of the grace that you didn’t deserve, but came your way anyway?

Write out a revelry of appreciation for (a) grace, for (b) a miracle and for (c) a blessing, little or large.

Miracles surround me.  God’s grace abounds.  I look at my life and it is a living testimony to God’s favor.  I get a front row seat not only to my own miracles, but to miracles of complete strangers whose life I am blessed to witness through work and volunteering in my community.

Four months ago, probably one of the biggest miracles of God’s grace started to unfold in my life. I reconnected and was reconciled back to my paternal grandparents.  During another writing prompt of soul-searching I felt prompted to reach out to my grandmother after twenty years of no contact.  I had not seen here since March 1997 at my father’s funeral.  I had not talked with her since April 1997 when I called to tell her of the birth of her granddaughter.  My last contact with her was a letter in late 1999 that basically say “Stop contacting me.”  I had taken her at her word, and stopped making the effort.

miraclesOther than a phone all with a cousin when his father died, a meeting with my aunt when my uncle died, my aunt and cousin reaching out when my mother died, a chance meeting at the hospital with an aunt and great-uncle, and updates from my brother and niece who tried to maintain contact with my grandmother, I had no contact with my paternal family for twenty years.

So it is nothing short of a miracle that she would respond to my letter with a please come see me.  She is ninety-two years young.  Since that time, all of my children and grandchildren have been able to meet her and my grandfather.

My children have lost both my parents who we lived with at different points in my children’s lives. My husband’s parents have never really been a close part of their lives.  His maternal grandparents were who my children considered grandparents and they have both passed also.  It is a miracle that as adults my children could reunite with great-grandparents and that their children have the opportunity to meet great-great grandparents.

To me, family is the greatest blessing that God has given me.   To see us come together after all these years in my miracle to focus on.  I have loved to sit with my grandmother and hear stories of my childhood, my father’s childhood and her childhood.  To hear about people who I never knew, and learn about events that shaped my family, that is God’s grace.  It is easy to take family for granted, but I realize that God has given me this time.  God’s grace brought us together and it is a miracle that I never thought was possible.

This post is prompted by
Tara-Nicholle Nelson’s 30 Day Writing Challenge for Conscious Leaders.

 

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POD: You, seriously.

POD: You, seriously.

Think of someone (whether you know them personally or not) whose art, work or life you respect and admire: someone you take seriously. Sit with the reverence and respect you have for them for just a moment.

Now ask yourself these questions and write your answers out:

Do you take yourself and your dreams seriously?

How do you show that you do take yourself seriously? Or, if you don’t, what does not taking your life’s work seriously look like, on a daily basis?

What might it look like if you decided, right now today, to take your biggest dream in life very, very seriously?

I take myself more seriously than I should, I find it hard to kick back and have fun.  I have learned to relax but not cut loose.  When it comes to my dreams, I don’t think I take myself serious enough.  I tend to let other things get in front of them, even thing that really have no value or meaning in my life.  I also tend to put my responsibilities to others in front of my dreams – not just my true responsibilities, but those that I have taken on in the past.

dreamIf I put my dreams first, I would find time to work towards them daily or at least schedule time to work towards them weekly.  Instead I  try to cram my dreams into small pieces of time that are not carved out, but just happen to occur.  By not taking my dreams seriously, I find myself talking about them frequently but never making movement towards them.  Or taking a few steps forward and then stalling or taking many steps back.  I find myself circling the same dream year after year with little progress in making the dream come true.  Or taking steps that look meaningful but really move me no closer to the fruition of my dreams.

Losing weight and being more physically active is something that I dream of.  For a while I turned my focus onto it, but when the focus faded it all stopped.   Writing falls into a dream I don’t take seriously.  I love to write, but allow other things to stop me from pursuing the projects that God has laid on my heart for this year.  Prayer and meditation also fall into a dream I want to pursue more deeply.  I have a carved out time, but I feel the need to give more time to prayer and meditation.  Pursuing a dream of a nonprofit that helps organize the church to be the hands and feet to meet the tangible needs of those looking for help is another dream I fail to pursue regularly. Yes, when I see an individual need I try to connect, but I want to build organization to it where it is a quick connection.  And a dream of moving someplace warm where I can continue to grow my skills and gifts is now also on that list.

This year my goal is to focus on the things that are important and move away from the things that pull me farther from my dreams.  I have already had to say no to some things that I had thought I could commit to, or things that I have been involved with for some time.  I have said yes to a few things that I previously didn’t have in my life.  And I am trying to put meaningful steps in place for me to take towards my dreams.  Maybe not gigantic leaps but purposeful steps.

I have purposed to turn off the television and disconnect from social media at specific times so that daily I can pursue more purposeful activities.  I have purposed to spend time writing and quieting myself before the Lord.  I have been writing out my prayers so that they are more tangible.  I have stepped out and offered to organize some engagements between organizations and individuals.  And am stepping up to give voice to the needs in the community where I can.

This year I will focus on taking steps towards my dreams.  I will focus on pulling back from things that distract me from my goals and dreams.  I will take daily purposeful steps towards who and where I want to be in the future.

This post is prompted by
Tara-Nicholle Nelson’s 30 Day Writing Challenge for Conscious Leaders.

 

 

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POD: What You’ll Need In Your New Story of Ease

Today’s prompt follows on yesterday’s:
Take 25 minutes to write your answer to this: What beliefs, knowledge, people, skills and tools would you need to live out your new story of creating your life’s work with ease and fun?
And take 5 more to write your answer to this: Are any or all of these available to you right now? Of those that are not, what would it take to for you to acquire or get access to them now?

The biggest belief that I need to pursue my new story of ease is that it can be accomplished.  That others have overcome the red-tape, hoops and barriers and that I can too.  I have to allow my belief that it is meant to be to override my fear of failure.  I need to research more of how to make it happen from other expats that have done it.

impossibleI need to work on gaining more knowledge of the country, policy and players so that I can know where to put my focus.  I will need to find the people who make can make it happen, who know how to cut the red-tape, jump through the hoops and overcome the barriers.  I will need to pursue every avenue, continually for doors that can be opened that currently appear closed.

I can work on that part while I continue to keep my focus on where I am now and what is before me.  I can count that when the time comes, God will open the doors or windows that are needed for my husband and I to walk through together.  I am excellent at research and I will find what it needed for us to move forward and trust God’s timing in the when.  If I do my part, He will do His.

This post is prompted by
Tara-Nicholle Nelson’s 30 Day Writing Challenge for Conscious Leaders.

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POD: A new story of ease

 

As we move into the portion of this Challenge where we start getting seriously into activation mode, write about this:
What about your future dream, destiny or the life work to which you feel called have you been telling a story of dread, difficulty, fear or doubt about? What is that story? Who have you been telling it to?
Would you like to tell a new story about this part of your future? What payoffs have you been getting out of telling the old, hard story?
If you would like to tell a new story about your future and you’re ready to let the old one go, go for it. What’s your new story of ease in how your life’s work will come to fruition and your creative dreams will come to pass? Be playful, fantastical and light in this one; tell yourself a story of fresh, new possibilities that start now. Have fun!

Two years ago, my husband made a declaration that he wants to move away from my hometown.  This is the same hometown I spent ten years trying to get back too after thinking I wanted to move away.  His dream was certainly not my dream.  I love the community that we live in, the entire region is my home.  It is where I was born, grew up, graduated, had my children.  It is where most of my family is also.

I met his request with multiple rebuttals of why we needed to stay – distance, family, language barriers, relocation expenses.  Then I moved into providing him with a list of conditions that would have to be in place for me to consider moving, not easy tasks, but doable ones. For example learning Spanish so I can work, my husband has to quit smoking for a year and use that money.  Jobs in my field require that I be fluent in written and spoken.  He bought me Rosetta Stone and I have been working with it.  I find that it is much easier for me to read  than it is or me to speak and understand.

dreamsWe also discussed letting me assimilate into the country and him supporting us.  Although that is a beautiful thought, I was still resistant.  We discussed buying a home there and using it for vacation and extra income until we are ready to retire.  Then the hurricane hit and I thought that his fascination with Puerto Rico would end.  It has slowed a bit, but it is still there.

This year we visited a few other islands and I thought they would show him what he enjoyed was a vacation.  In our travels, I fell in love with a particular location.  All of a sudden all my rebuttals disappeared, my conditions stopped, and I said “Let’s move.”  We talked about planning our next vacation there with the purpose of really looking at opportunities.

When we returned home, I started looking at jobs, housing, and churches.  Not like casual searches; seriously talking to employment recruiters, listening to online messages from pastors in the community to find one that challenged me, and looking for both rental properties and real estate to purchase.

Then I started researching what it would take to go, and the locations list of requirements make mine look like a simple grocery list.  They have restrictions to just visiting.  Permits, red tape and hoops have to be jumped through to live there.  Buying property is the easy part; getting permission to live and work there are the barriers.  I found myself letting doubt take the lead.    Despite the deep desire in my spirit, I found myself just wanting to say “Oh well, not meant to be.”  I started telling myself this and my husband.  Yet I still feel drawn, like I did when I moved away the first time.

I realize by telling my husband and myself this story of doubt, I don’t have to step out farther.  I can tell myself, “I tried.”   I can let this location be my Camelot that can never be reached.  I can share my disappointment and stay comfortable right where I am.

What if I focused on this dream and goal much like I do other things in life.  I can break down the barriers into smaller steps.  Yes, it may take longer than I want it to.  However, the reality is the timing is God’s not mine if it is to be.  What if I persistent pursue the leads and work with the proper people to make things happen.  The reality is I can have my dream, I just have to pursue it.  I can have the helping career of my dreams, in a warm location, with water all around, my husband by my side, and a community that will encourage and support me spiritually, physically, mentally and emotionally.

This post is prompted by
Tara-Nicholle Nelson’s 30 Day Writing Challenge for Conscious Leaders.

 

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POD: Freedom

POD: Freedom

What do you have the freedom, the right, to do that you rarely exercise?

How do you plan to exercise that freedom or use your rights more boldly, less apologetically, in 2018.

I have many freedoms that I take for granted and don’t exercise as often as I should.  The freedom I am most passionate about and yet rarely exercise is advocating for others.  Even from an early age, I engaged in advocating by writing letters to the President, Congressmen, and to the Editor.  I started writing letters when I was in junior high.  I wanted to raise awareness of community problems, offer solutions, and encourage those who were facing hard times.  As I got older, I began to lend my voice to causes and organizations that were in need of resources, whether financial, volunteers, or in-kind donations.  Sometimes it was just reaching out to those who were in a capacity to meet a need individually.  Other times it was sharing my personal testimony with small groups or at fundraising events.  I have been sharing my story for over two decades, and the reality is I have barely scratched the surface in causes that my life could represent.

advocateI have spent most of my time recently helping those individually that are in need.  I have given little thought to the communal need represented by the person standing in front of me.  Every now and again I will come across something that sparks a passion in my spirit. I will give immediate voice to the communal need, but it is far more rare than I once did.  It is generally in a meeting, or a conversation with someone who the match is lit that should spark the flame.  Yet without attention, the spark quickly fades and fire smolders instead of burning brightly.

I believe, as I have for some time that I have walked through so many things at such a young age because God planned to use them for His glory.  God allowed me a first hand perspective and eye-witness to tragedy that so often derails lives so that He could combine experience with training.  What Satan meant to destroy me, God has used to strengthen me to help others.  Through my experiences, I have been able to speak one on one into other’s lives as I share the incredible testimony of God’s work in my life.   God has also given me the voice and connections to share my testimony to raise awareness, bring hope and a connection for those who are able to  see people can and do change and motivate them to give to organizations that are helping meet community needs.

I know I stepped back from really sharing because I allowed my story to be exploited for a specific cause and stopped giving the glory and praise to Whom it belonged.  There were a lot of causes my life can represent, and a lot of organizations that helped get me back on the right track, but it was ultimately God who needs glory for where I am now.  He is the One who aligned me with the right people, at the right time, and the right resources.  It was my journey towards Him that ultimately brought about transformation in my life.

I think I am at a spot now, that I know that I can raise awareness of needs and community organizations without giving glory where it does not belong.  Organizations are the hands and feet that God used to turn my life around.  It was through the awesome individuals that were working and volunteering with those programs that I was pointed in the right direction.  Those organizations still need funding to run. I still have a voice.  I still have a pen and paper, or keyboard and tablet that I can used to raise awareness.  I don’t have to have the popular opinion to express where I stand.  I don’t have to tear others down to lift up the causes I am passionate about.  I can still make my voice count.  I have that freedom.

This post is prompted by
Tara-Nicholle Nelson’s 30 Day Writing Challenge for Conscious Leaders.

 

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POD: Let’s talk about Imposter Syndrome

POD: Let’s talk about Imposter Syndrome

Write about this: When in your life have you stretched yourself to the point that you felt like an imposter? When was a time you pushed yourself so far outside your comfort zone that it was painful? How long did that feeling last? In retrospect, was the pain worth it?
What are you doing right now that cracks your shell, or makes you feel like an imposter? What would it feel like if you were able to reframe that feeling of terror into appreciation for yourself for making the stretch?

I recently questioned this imposter syndrome while sitting with my grandmother at the hospital.   She only recently came back into my life after twenty years of absence.  I told a friend, I wonder if I would have felt the need had my cousin who is her usual contact was in town to be there for her.  I enjoyed being there with her, listening to stories about my extended family.  When I got home the second night, my eyes filled with tears as my heart was sad that I had been robbed of twenty years of stories.  I love to hear people’s stories and of course have a special interest in my own families because it is where I came from.

imposterI visited with her daily and even made two special trips up to see her,  despite not really having the time.  Yet I still found myself feeling like an imposter, especially as others looked for me to give information about her. I had to continue saying, “you will have to check with my cousin” unless it was a very general questions – like who she lived with.  My grandma told me several times “there is a lot you don’t know about me.” and she is right.  I know very little about my father’s family.  Of course even feeling like an imposter, it worth it.  I will never be able to regain the time that was lost, I can only take every opportunity to know her know now.

There are a lot of times I feel like an imposter.  Stepping out in corporate prayer, I generally feel like an imposter.  God and I talk more causally, short conversations throughout the day, like a child to a parent. Or I write out prayers in my prayer journal, like I used to do when I had something I really needed to get out to may parents and didn’t think I had the courage to say.  It was a way to get the conversations started.  With the prayers in my journals I will generally continue to go back to them and pray them aloud.   But to stand with a microphone and pray out what is in and on my heart, I generally feel like an imposter; like I have no right to prayer out loud before others.  Nine times out of ten, I have to fight that feeling to even get to the microphone.  Even when I fumble, it has always been worth it, as if a burden has been lifted from me when it is released.

I also feel like an imposter when I need to speak medical things.  I work in a hospital, but I am not a nurse or a doctor.  I can read words and generally know what they are talking about or will look it up.  I can take information from the chart or from others and apply it to do my job.  However, pronouncing those words aloud I want to defer to someone else.  I feel like someone is going to call me on not being able to pronounce even the simplest of medical terms or medicine names, and yell “FRAUD” at the top of their lungs.  The feeling only lasts when I am on that spot, and despite my stumbling most people are generous with their corrections of the terminology.

Even in my writing, I feel like an imposter.    Not only do I question the formation of my sentences and grammar in general, I often question if what I am saying makes sense to others or even matters.  I continue to stretch and put myself out there.  I realize if it is there for no one else besides myself, it helps me to process.  It is worth it for my own growth.  If it helps someone else, even better.

The area I struggle most feeling like an imposter is in my career.  I have a lot of skills, knowledge, gifts, and abilities.  I have been doing what I love for over sixteen years.  I love helping people.  I receive positive feedback from my supervisors, peers, and those I help.  Yet, I often feel like an imposter.  I know that it is God working through me that makes me excel at my career.  Yet I still feel like an imposter.  I hold back instead of stretching myself.  I don’t mind stepping out if it is already something that I am competent or excel at but I am not as willing to put myself out there, especially with peers.

I suppose if I really think about it, the discomfort only lasts for a little while.  I was once a novice at all of the positions I have held in my career.  There is always room for growth.  There will be times of failure, even in areas I excel generally.  The only way to retain the knowledge I have is to use it, and the only way to use it is to step out in new areas and obtain experience.  I will not always be an expert.  I can not always be an expert.  Information changes, resources change, skills change, I have to be willing to be an imposter in order to gain what I need to grow in my career.  I need to stop focusing on what I can not do right now, and focus on what I will learn in the process.

This post is prompted by
Tara-Nicholle Nelson’s 30 Day Writing Challenge for Conscious Leaders.

 

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POD: Never Make Assumptions

POD: Never Make Assumptions

Write about this: When was the last time you made assumptions about what someone else might have been thinking or feeling? How did that work out?
What are the go-to assumptions that you are prone to making? How do they play out? How do those assumptions usually work out for you?
How might your life be different if you played around with flat-out asking questions instead of making assumptions?
How might you act and feel differently? What would that take? Are you willing to do that?
Credit: The Four Agreements, by don Miguel Ruiz

I have been pondering this thought for a few days, I know it wasn’t the idea of the POD, but it’s where I was and after much pondering here is what I know.

There are times that I make assumptions.   Like once, a pastor was helping raise awareness about homelessness.  He had the youth come together for a homeless experience where they were suppose to stay outside in boxes.  As my daughter shared her excitement over this upcoming event, she knew that I would be thrilled with the awareness raising event.  Homelessness is an issue near and dear to my heart because I have been there.  My excitement quickly faded when she added “He told us to dress like homeless people.”

That got me fired up and my fire didn’t end until I addressed it with that pastor.  It was only after I had vented and fumed for the days leading up to seeing him again that I paused to think about his heart.  I knew his heart was not to offend me, nor ostracize the youth that were also considered homeless that were attending our church.  When I was able to express my concern to him, he had never even considered that line of offense.  He just wanted the youth to know the struggle was read.  He was so apologetic.

Or when others leave me out, I assume I am being rejected.  A message that my childhood self internalized from the environment around me.  Yet if I pause and think about my assumption I generally ask myself what is the person’s heart behind the action I am making assumptions about.  I try to believe that people’s intentions aren’t hurtful and malicious, but rather completely innocent.

As I continued to ponder on assumptions, I realized that one assumption I have falsely made, even recently, is that because of my past I can never do the things that God intended me to do.  I have allowed this lie to build in my life, and today it was pointed out to me that the only thing that stops God’s Word from coming true in our lives is unbelief.  And my assumption is in fact unbelief.  I am the one that is stopping God from moving and doing what He wants in and through me.

What if I stopped making the assumption that God won’t use me.  What if I realize that  his forgiveness of my sins was given long before I was even born, with complete foreknowledge of the life I would live.  The callings, talents, gifts, and abilities He has placed within and on me, were given knowing every wrong move I would make.  They were given knowing every excuse I would provide to Him.  Yet He still gave them to me and placed dreams and ambitions in my heart.

assumptionSatan is the one who came to kill my soul, to steal my dreams, and destroy my purpose.  That is not God’s heart towards me.  He would not do that to be just to condemn me to a life unfulfilled.  His heart is for me, not against me.  He loves me and wants me to have the desires of my heart.  So what if I start living like it?  What if I truly allow myself to believe it?

My pastor preached today about arising to faith.  He shared from the testing of Abraham’s faith, or as the New King James Version calls it “Abraham’s Faith Confirmed” found in Genesis 22:1-14.  He made some very good points that stand true in my own life.  The point that stood out the most, came towards the end of the message in how the ram was caught in the thicket when Abraham had confirmed his faith.  The ram had been behind him all the time.  The provision of his sacrifice was there waiting when he had completed the testing of his promise.

I have known for some time the dream within me is bigger than me.  I know that I do not have all the resources, the connections, or the knowledge to make it happen.  As a result, I have let my unbelief keep me from walking up the mountain with the sacrifice of my dream.  I have been willing to hang back and think God will bring it to pass right where I am.  I take a few steps toward it, but have been unwilling to leave the things that are holding me back to journey forward to where God is waiting with His provision.

I am willing to let go of the assumptions I have made about allowing God to use me. It is time for me to start being obedient to the things that He has told me to do and trust that as I am faithful in obedience to Him, that He will be faithful to bring provision where it is needed.

This post is prompted by
Tara-Nicholle Nelson’s 30 Day Writing Challenge for Conscious Leaders.

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POD: Unlearned

POD – Write about this: What have you successfully, intentionally unlearned? And what, if anything, do you want to unlearn now?

The first thing that come to mind that I have successfully unlearned is that receiving help from others is a sign of weakness.  I doubt that anyone ever used those words with me or anything remotely close.  However, it was modeled to me by my parents and other adults in my world.  Independence was the ultimate standard.  I also heard things like, “Anything worth doing is worth doing yourself.”  “I’ve got this.”  “No, I don’t need anything.”  I have found myself repeating those some words and exhibiting the same independent nature in adulthood.

The BING definition of independent is an adjective meaning:

  1. free from outside control; not depending on another’s authority:
  2. not depending on another for livelihood or subsistence:
  3. not connected with another or with each other; separate:

I found as I grew in my walk with God, that I was never created to be independent.   When I became a Christian, I placed myself under God’s control.  I am dependent on God for my very life, including my livelihood and subsistence.  He designed me for an intimate and personal relationship with Him and others.  Wanting to be independent is something that the world around me showcases, but God’s Word provides a different view.  It is one of interdependence.

learningBefore I learned this, I was the woman who would have every limb full and yet refuse to allow someone to open the door, let alone take something off me to help.  When help was offered I would quickly tote “I was a single parent, this is nothing.”  I would be juggling more than I needed, but refuse an offer of help. I also was certainly not interested in anyone’s ideas on how I could do something different, better, or easier.  It was my way and done by me.

I realize looking back that is a very isolated way to be.  Eventually people begin to realize your not going to accept their offers of help, and they stop offering.  Then no longer feeling like they are needed or wanted they eventually drift away to a distant acquaintance.  People like to feel helpful, wanted and needed; at least I know I do.

Someone asked me how I felt when helping others.  Helping others is something that I love to do, so it brings me great joy and satisfaction.  I find it fulfilling, and although at times challenging, it blesses me to help others.  That same person then turned my answer back on me and asked “Then why do you rob others of that same opportunity?”  I pondered it, internalized it, and now that has become my question to others who learned that same message growing up.  More often than not, it brings at least a little change in perspective about receiving help when needed.

When someone asks a specific offer of help, I am inclined to take it.  There are times that the answer is still no, especially when I am at work in the middle of a few things that would require more time to bring the person up to speed than to complete myself.  But generally speaking, if someone offers a specific way to help me, I am willing to take it.

Despite learning it is okay to receive help from others, I am still in the process of unlearning that it is okay for me to ask for that help.  It was while reading that I was able to pinpoint the true problem.  It was the Johari Window of the Unknown/Unconscience Self that leaped off the page as I read of someone else’s struggle with this same issue.  My struggle with unlearning this is a two-fold.  I need to unlearn  1) It is not okay to ask for the help 2) Your needs are not important.

If there is something that I really want, I don’t generally struggle with asking for it.  I also have no problem asking for someone else’s need.  I do struggle asking when I know people are busy or have a lot on their plate.  I don’t want to be selfish or inconvenience anyone.  I don’t want to interrupt anyone for my request either (Which on a side note is really the strangest thing because with my attention span I often interrupt for other random things without a second thought.).

These again were all message I learned growing up, either through observed behavior or comments.  My mother wouldn’t ask for help in taking care of my father when he became harder to care for in the late stages of his cancer.  I happened to come over and heard her struggle and had to intervene immediately and for a longer solution.  My then ex-husband helped with dad’s bathing and we got hospice set up to give her some rest.  She thought she had to do it all.  Another example is my mom once was having a heart attack and sat in her chair with my siblings going on around her.  One of them called me to talk to her because they were concerned and she generally listened to me, the baby.   She got an immediate ride to the hospital, and an emergency surgery for five stents.  She had an 89% heart blockage but saw that my siblings were busy and didn’t want to inconvenience me. 

The second half of what I need to unlearn is tied to growing up feeling like what I needed was unimportant.  There was a lot of dysfunction in my family when I was in my formative years.  Being a young child, I did not understand most of what was happening around me.  As such I had very distorted views and built my life upon those views because I didn’t really have anyone correcting them.  I never felt like what I needed was important, especially emotionally.

I knew how to manipulate to get what I wanted from an early age.  I was the baby in the family and with two siblings ten years older, they were pretty in tune to that.  I could turn on the charm with just about anyone and get what I wanted in some way or fashion.  When I hit my teenage years, I learned how to lie to get what I wanted.  I became an expert liar, to the point if I told the truth it sounded more like a lie than the creative story I weaved.

Yet, I never learned how to get what I really needed.  Instead I learned to minimize what I needed and settle for what I wanted.  I filled the voids in my life with people and things that numbed the emptiness I felt from feeling like my needs didn’t matter to anyone.  I have through prayer, connection with God, and a lot of discipline from God set aside most of those destructive tendencies.  Yet as a result of not expressing and minimizing them for so long, I have a hard time identifying what I really need.

I know this is an area that God continues to work in to help me unlearn.  I feel like God is showing me that I am truly known by Him.  His Word promises to supply all my needs and He is showing me what I need.  He is teaching me to express those needs to Him.  He is teaching me to share those as I learn them with others.  It is not an easy journey, but then I realize that it is in the difficult journeys that I grow the most.  For now, I will just focus on the unlearning.

This post is prompted by Tara-Nicholle Nelson’s 30 Day Writing Challenge for Conscious Leaders.

 

 

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POD: Your Positive Essential Quality

Your prompt today is to sit with this question: what is your most essential, positive quality at this point in your life? What is that thing about you that is like the candle’s flicker? What is the trait or quality that most purely makes you you? What is at your core? What is your essence?

How do you know this? What is the evidence you have, factually or just in your gut?

Is it hard for you to think up or write this wonderful thing about yourself? (If it is hard, write a little more about it, to get some practice in).

My most essential, positive quality is that I am resourceful.  I have a plethora of knowledge about random things and contacts with random abilities that can be very helpful in most situations.  It offers hope in challenging times.  It may be a simple connection from one person to another.  Or be in the form of a piece of random information that helps someone move to another level of understanding.  It may be a resource that helps someone where they didn’t even know there was a need.   Resourcefulness is my flicker in the darkness.  I love helping others in any way that I can and being able to connect someone to something or someone who can meet a need or take them to the next level in life is the core of my being.

resourcefulnessI know that being resourceful is my most essential quality as I often am introduced to new people as a person who can connect with whatever they are looking for.  Also at times I have the reputation of a know-it-all – although I can assure anyone I am not.

I think in part my resourcefulness flickers brighter because I am in a community where I grew up.   The community grew larger around me, but at its core, it is still my little hometown.  I have been blessed to work in places where I met people from all walks of life.

I was a little girl who loved people in the most influential church in our area.  I was a single-teenage mother working for a law firm.  I was homeless and helped some of the people core to building up our community.  I was the mother utilizing the resources our community had to offer to take a hand up instead of just a hand-out.

I don’t believe that any of the people I have met, the organizations that have helped, or the knowledge I have accumulated has been for the sole purpose of helping me.  It was a gift I was given to help others.

Initially it was hard for me to accept this, but my pastor has a saying that has truly resonated with me.  He says “You will never walk in a calling or anointing that you will not acknowledge.”  So one day last year, I verbally acknowledged it.  Not to toot my own horn, but to give glory to God for how He is using me.  The more people who know that I am resourceful, the more people who I can help.  It was a hard lesson, but I find myself being more open to accept the things that God is wanting to use me for lately.

This post is prompted by Tara-Nicholle Nelson’s 30 Day Writing Challenge for Conscious Leaders.

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