Creating a life rhythm you love
I started writing books when I was five or six, and I still am. Some things are constant in life, and I love all the constants. The astringent first sip of coffee in the morning. The fact that Saturday is coming. I resent most things that are in flux. Change is no place for me to make a home.
Most nights, it’s that haunting change, pacing in the foreground of my brain that won’t let go of me. I grasp at it in late hours, and just when I’ve finally conceded, the alarm clock rings. I barely have time to crack open the binding of my journal to tell God what’s different about today. I try to pray, shake loose what’s bothering me. It’s usually something. The dark circles emerge. The pen presses paper, and the clock tells me what I’ve lost.
This ritual in the morning has been precious for my mental and physical stamina. On days I don’t get it, I am noticeably scatterbrained and weak. We all hope we are living the kind of lives we want. Some of us are, other’s aren’t. And we face that sad or happy fact, each day our eyelids part from one another and we become self-aware again.
God does not create all with equal measure
We hold our composure differently. We have diverse strengths, fears, wounds, beauties. It doesn’t mean our value is any less in his eyes, but we must face it honestly to become what we were meant to be. No amount of merit will win us anything. He creates in limited supply, one-time collections. We might as well start acting like it’s true.
Each of us has purposeful, standout features. And if God is a self-described artist, like a potter with clay, then how did he shape you exactly? Half the battle is in facing the answer honestly. Most of us know what we want to be, and what we’re lacking. But how about actually knowing what we have, and how to use it? It’s true, though, that the more we try to focus on what we are, the less we can grasp it. It’s like looking at the sun. We see it best when not in our direct line of sight. The harder we try to become something, the less we are of it.
Part of understanding who we are, and what we were created to become means examining the beliefs we hold true about ourselves.
I’ve been living under the impression lately that I am a disappointment to God. That when he looks, at me, he kind of sighs and moves along. That means I’m living out the weight of an identity that is defined by “trying not to be a screw-up,” an identity of appeasement. That kind of negative motivation only holds up for so long, and one of two things happens. I rebel, or I despair. Not “being bad” does not equate to being something good, and I think this is where many of us who’ve been raised in the church feel disillusioned. We’ve “followed the rules” so to speak, and now expect some kind of identity to come from the fact that we’ve succeeded in not screwing things up too badly. Not surprisingly, this doesn’t help us much. God is not fooled by our show of appeasement, and neither are we.
Truth builds on truth, and we attach our identities to what we know.
Ever noticed how when someone praises your talent for a particular job or challenge, you are inspired to rise to the occasion the next time, and the time after that? As humans, we’re built to move toward things, a goal, a vision of what we know we should do, or seek, or become. Without this we become numb and self-destructive. Restored humanity is the destiny God created for every person on the planet. It’s ground zero of our identity, it’s what we’re seeking to recover. But as most of us realize, this isn’t exactly the Garden of Eden. Each time we chose not to push our redemption aside, or compare what we are to someone else , or to hide for fear of His disappointment, a piece of us becomes lost.
Here’s one way I’ve learned to recover who or what I am created to be:
As a woman especially, there is value in creating a life rhythm that I love.
Women are life-givers by nature, so we must in turn ask ourselves “what brings life to me?” I’m committed to always working my way through a new book, mostly to keep my mind thriving. Social media is my day job, and one I believe can wear down my creativity and resilience, if I’m not careful.
Taking Saturday mornings to rest is an essential gift I give to myself. I know that sounds pampered but it’s not. I am an introvert, and while it’s taken me time to admit it, I can only handle so many people interactions in a day. People are wonderful, but most of the time, exhausting. There are a lot of people at work. And the kind of stamina it takes to keep up with them tires me out easily. I need a break, even if just a few hours, to return to my baseline. Saturdays do this for me.
I’m also a creative, a deep thinker, sometimes too rational, and definitely lacking in the patience department. I’m an intellectual. I have a deep love of learning, an innate understanding of words, and knowing how to craft them. This speaks more to my gifts than my identity, but it all ties together somehow, of who I am and who I’m made to be.
Sometimes we don’t give ourselves enough space to be the thing we know we should be.
Or we submit to someone else’s expectation of what that looks like. Or other times, we’re just really afraid of opening a door that’s totally unknown to us, one that’s full of opportunity and risk. All of it hinges on what we believe is true of ourselves now, and in the future.
We all have those signature moments; things that others have said about our lives, or gifts, or skill sets that have helped shape the direction of our futures. Bring those back to mind. What did that trusted person say that I am good at? What did that friend encourage me to take a second look at? What do I know to be true of my predisposed skill sets and dispositions? What does my Myers Briggs test say about me? Get honest, shift things around, and get going. I know you will do beautifully.