Whenever I sit down to write, I think about all the things that have been swirling in my head. As an enneagram one, the things swirling in my head are MANY. I consider and reconsider everything I say, everything someone said to me, every action taken, every decision of inaction, and on and on. The ruminating is exhausting. However, out of the constant cycle of rehearsing, valuable lessons always emerge. When I share them out loud, I realize they are more than notes to myself; they are reminders we all need to hear.
Note Number One: Presence Over Performance
Presence is a powerful gift we give the people closest to us.
We are inclined to believe our performance is the driver of our value, but it’s time to pull the plug on that endless treadmill producing zero results and LOTS of stress.
When we bring our whole self to the table, we enhance the conversation. We were created with specific gifts that act like salt–drawing out the flavors in each other.
When I was single parenting, I felt like I needed to measure up by providing all the things two parent families were offering. It was an impossible task, and I often felt like a failure.
If you’ve ever suffered emotional abandonment, you understand the impact this has on your perceived worth and value. Adding performance standards complicates things and keeps us from remembering the value of presence.
To the mom feeling weary about serving cereal tonight–just showing up is your victory. Give the people around your table the gift of your presence. Your kids won’t recall your meal plan, but they will remember your laughter and the way you engaged them.
Your presence matters.
Note Number Two: Seasons WILL Shift
Sometimes what looks like a mess is the unfolding of a gift of hope.
If life feels messy right now…
If you are in a season of waiting…
If you feel like it will never get better…
Here’s what else I know–hope IS within reach.
Note Number Three: Trust the Process
Rarely is suffering something we welcome with open arms. Desiring difficulty is counterintuitive.
When I stood at the door and stared at the smirk plastered on the face of a perfect stranger, I did not cheer. I did not jump for joy when he thrust the divorce papers toward me.
Quite the opposite happened. I felt my breath catch in my throat and my heart drop to the floor.
My world was suddenly full of suffering and sorrow in equal measure. I felt like everything was spinning out of control all at once.
I could not make sense of the sudden shift of my normal.
–Suffering messes with our plans.
–Suffering interrupts creature comforts.
–Suffering feels unnecessary.
Our seasons of suffering are intended to point us toward a future hope. They aren’t supposed to become our identity, but if we are not careful, we allow the narrative of suffering to become the essence of who we think we are.
Scriptures says that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance produces character; and character, HOPE.
Maybe you think you’ve had enough perseverance and character lessons, and you would like to skip straight to the hope. Most of us desire the end product, but we’d prefer to skip the process. We aren’t sure we have what it takes to make it through another difficult season.
Here’s the thing, we can sit in the tension of this season AND hope for the future. The next mile marker along this journey is just around the corner.
Watch for it. Put one foot in front of the other and take another step toward the next thing.
Trust the process. Something beautiful will be born in this season, and one day it will be the story you share to encourage someone else.
If you are journeying through an inexplicable loss, I am so sorry. I offer you the hope I found in a very dark season.
Your value hasn’t changed–only your view has. Look for signs of life among the rubble. Seasons do not last forever; a shift is coming.
Note Number Four: Worth is not Found in Performance
Have you felt completely buried and burdened by your moments of personal failures?
I have an endless tape of mothering mistakes and past indiscretions that haunt me in the silent spaces of my soul.
Here’s the thing–we all do. We have all fallen short of the mark. We all need a redo. We would all be benched if we allowed our performance to determine our value to the team.
Our difficulties can define us or refine us. We get to choose. It won’t be easy, but it will be worth every step in the direction of wholeness.
Brokenness isn’t an end; it’s an opportunity to start again. If you’ve been stuck at the intersection of regret and disappointment, would you consider taking a step forward today?
Your mistakes don’t disqualify you. Don’t be the one benching yourself in this life. Move forward. There is space for you to walk in wholeness.
Here’s to hitting stop on the constant hum of unworthiness and walking forward in truth one step at a time. We were uniquely created for this time, this situation, this season.
Did any of the notes resonate with you? Is there one you need to share with a friend walking through a discouraging season?
What “note to self” would you add to this series? What is the reminder you issue yourself on a regular basis?
I look forward to hearing from you!