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You are a gift to the world.

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You are a gift to the world.

It feels both ridiculous and daring to write that. Of course, you are a gift to the world. Hasn’t everyone who knows you, who really knows you, told you that every day of your life?

I hope so.

But come on, we are broken. Life is hard. We don’t always acts like we are a gift to the world. We don’t remember the most precious truths about ourselves. We fear our own pride and ambition. We know we haven’t been a gift some of the time or most of the time. Often, we don’t feel like a gift. Especially to ourselves.

With my heart racing, in the midst of the safest women on the planet, I just recently found the courage to confess out loud that I am a gift to the world. Not until the moment I was forming my words did I realize this is the most daring truth I could speak. And when I asked the other women in the group if they were willing to admit that they are a gift to the world, it seemed to be just as terrifying for some of them.

I have been wondering, can we align with this truth if we do not allow ourselves to be a gift to ourselves?

In 2014, my one thing was writing a book based on how I had personally integrated religion, therapy and reality. What I didn’t know then, but can now see clearly, is that I was writing it for me, to me. I spent over a decade wrestling with life and then writing and sharing everything I was learning.

Then I typed these words:

 This is the day that the Lord has made I will rejoice and be glad in it.

This is the day that we don’t have to be afraid of how the world responds to us, receives us or rejects us. Because we know what the world doesn’t know. This is the day we get to choose to surround ourselves with people who believe in us and the story God is telling through us. This is the day we get to hug tighter and and keep eye contact longer until another soul sees God’s unfailing love pouring right through us into them.

This is the day when we get to let go of what really doesn’t matter. This is the day when we can give our full attention to slicing vegetables, balancing our bank accounts, and reading a really good book. This is the day when we have all the confidence we need to advocate for someone else, when resources line up to support whatever we put our hands to.

This is the day when we become free to be exactly where we are: fully present with ourselves, fully known by God, and fully embracing anyone placed in our path.

I can’t imagine what your life will look like when you live fully loved. And neither can you.

You know what happened next?

As soon as I typed that period, I heard, “You have to stop talking about this. You can’t teach one more person how to live this way until you live it yourself. Stop trying to convince other people that this is true so that you can have company on this path for one. If you really believe it, and I believe you do, start unapologetically living this out.”

So I did.

From that day forward, until now, I have asked myself this question:

What would you do today if you knew you were fully loved?

Sometimes the answer is nothing. Sometimes the answer is one thing. Sometimes the answer is that I get to participate in things that exceed my wild dreams.

I wanted to be a gift to the world so badly.

I have misunderstood how I could and couldn’t be a gift to the world too many times to count.

Only through true humility and excruciating self-awareness can I actually know I am a gift to the world.

What I didn’t understand, what I am only beginning to absorb into my soul, is that I simply am a gift to the world because I exist.

And so are you.


Do you believe you are a gift to the world?

If so, what obstacles keep you from living out this truth?

If you really knew that you are a gift to the world, would you make different choices?

Do you believe everyone is a gift to the world?

What baby steps could you take today to practice being a gift to yourself? 

Restinglessons.com

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The art of dreaming: a reVision board

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“Every heroic adventure

begins with a vision,

a deep-rooted current experience

of what the future holds.”

Blood and Ethos*

You are glimpsing the beginning of my vision for last year.

In the cold and cozy days of January, I reacquainted myself with the idea of a vision board. This was a bold move on my part because I have had many visions for my life, I have pursued those visions fervently and many of those visions have come to fruition. It surprised me that many of those pursuits were not actually what I wanted, they were what I thought I was supposed to want and why I have to be so intentional about my consumption of social media. It is humbling to realize that those two things are easily confused in my heart. From years (a lifetime, actually) my pursuit of a vision for my life has mostly taught me what I did not want and even more importantly, what I did not need.

That would be a depressing collage to make.

Thanks to the world wide web, I was introduced to the lovely Rachel at Project Breathe and her post, Vision Boards: the right and wrong way to do them: http://projectbreathe.com.au/vision-boards/

In this article she shares the story of her marriage falling apart and realizing that she had nothing about her marriage on her vision board. As I look to the picture above (cut from the pages of a fantasy life) it is clear that there are some things I was wanting more of: dancing, romance, new places, water, travels, being unapologetic about my choices, realizing I had choices.

That’s some good stuff. I really did and do want that.

What this vision board did not capture is what was already in my life.

Of the many lessons on this journey, I must highlight this one: I can have almost anything I want. It sounds crazy and privileged to say it-and this girl who remembers the day my only pair of shoes broke and I had no shoes to wear to church so I stayed outside because I was so embarrassed, can hardly believe it- but it is true.

What is also true is that when I am holding one thing, I am not holding something else.

After accepting Rachel’s challenge, I began to look at what was in my life that I wanted to keep in my life and what was in my life that is only passing through for this season. Instead of looking at magazines, I looked at my real life and instead of cutting and pasting fantasy pictures on a page, I created a mural on a big blank wall in our apartment.

Included in the mural was an almost full-length mirror, a chalk board, artwork of a lamp with no shade, a winter wreath, a picture of our family dancing like freaks and our family’s motto for last year (We’re never going to survive unless we get a little crazy. -Seal). Each item was full of meaning and symbolism but the mirror was intended to reflect our reality.

The things I saw reflected in that mirror took my breath away. Watching my kids practice for speeches or assess their changing appearance, seeing the impressive number of kids that could cram into that one room and play video games into the early morning, even reflecting what we were watching on TV and the way we treated each other. It was all a powerful resource for seeing what we already have and choosing our next steps based in what is real today.

A true vision for our future is only possible when we allow our reality to teach us, humble us, give to us and guide us.

Otherwise, we simply create a fantasy life in our heads that not only makes our reality disappoint and separates us from new choices we have the power to make, but it also keeps us from the beauty, fun and richness that can only be discovered when we are deeply grounded in our reality.

 

*Blood & Ethos: I am asking every one I know to read this little e-book. My brother-in-law was kind enough to share it with me. If you would like a copy, email me at jenniferwiseblack@gmail.com and I will send it to you along with some questions that I am asking myself based on the reading.