As part of my New Year’s intention setting process this year, I was determined to settle in on a word that encapsulated my aspirations for 2019.
It started out as an effort to mindfully reflect on the events that had transpired and lessons learned in 2018, envision my intentions for the future through the lens of my passions and God’s calling on my heart, and intentionally seek to receive God’s direction as I planned out my goals for the year ahead. However, my planner mindset soon caused me to put an extreme emphasis on this “very important endeavor,” and the exercise transformed into one of stress and obsession.
I had to get it right. No…I had to get it perfect.
My desire to make sure I had the “perfect” word only mirrored the familiar struggle I’ve battled with in years past, and still continue to fight against to this day: my desire to control my future, plan for desired outcomes, and avoid making mistakes at all costs. This mindset not only dangerously makes me think I know what’s best for my own life (putting myself in the driver’s seat, instead of God); but it also gives me the false sense of security that I control future outcomes (which hello, time has clearly proven: I don’t). This mindset also causes me to lose sight of that which I am intent upon seeking in 2019: more peace, more trust, more surrender.
I will be delving into the details of the events that transpired and what I learned through the word-selection and intention-setting process for this New Year. And of course, will share with you the word I ultimately selected for 2019. But that’s for another post. 🙂
For now, I wanted to share with you something that helped me refocus my mindset as I felt my perfectionism click in to high-gear as I started to plan away for 2019.
As I brought awareness to the fact that my wheels were spinning and anxiety was knocking at the door, I took a moment to pause, a moment to breathe. I took a moment to welcome back in some peace and surrender my thoughts and fears to God. In that moment, I was encouraged to put aside my planning, put aside my search for the “perfect word of the year,” put aside my mind’s angst. And instead: focus on the person I wanted to be in 2019. I was prompted to picture myself: the person I wanted to be…my True Self…the woman God created me to be.
Who was she? What was important to her? Where was her focus? What were her priorities? What was her demeanor? With whom did she surround herself? How did she spend her time? How did it feel to be in her presence – what energy did she exude?
I closed my eyes and tried to picture my True Self and went on a journey in my mind with God, allowing my imagination to roam as it pleased and as directed by the Holy Spirit.
And from that came a list.
A list of attributes of my True Self that spilled out freely as I began to see myself the way God sees me. Some of the things that came from this contemplative time with God are encapsulated below. I wanted to share some of these items with you so you can see what God showed me in that quiet time with Him, and also to encourage you to so this same exercise for yourself.
The things listed below are pieces of me, parts of the woman God showed me He created me to be. Some of these are characteristics that are easy for me to claim as my own in my present life; some are aspects that require personal growth and God’s help in order for me to fully unearth and embrace as my own.
My True Self…the person I want to embody more and more in 2019 and in the days to come…is a person who:
- Diligently and intentionally pursues her God-given purpose; strategically and intentionally seeking direction from God in planning her days and setting intentions and goals for the future with open hands, open ears, an open heart, and a willingness to change course, as directed by God
- Has eyes that are always searching to find the gifts awaiting her from God throughout the day
- Does not give up, no matter how hard the circumstances she faces
- Lives each day as though it were her last and believes each moment is precious and purposed
- Is encouraged by the fact that though others may not: God knows, God sees, God cares, God understands
- Sees others as souls with unsurpassable worth, including those whose earthly shells look defiled, broken, and hopeless…and reminds herself that NO ONE is beyond repair, NOTHING is impossible for God, and EVERYONE is worthy of love and compassion
- Is driven by the things that are everlasting, not those that are fleeting and pass away
- Prioritizes the betterment of her soul, not external factors of life
- Is filled by God, lives for God, is confident in Christ, and radiates His love by serving others
- Puts others first and thinks highly of others, without detracting from her own self-worth and self-care
- Is willing to admit when things are NOT fine and own up to personal struggles in order to gain encouragement and support from others
- Seeks community during difficult times instead of having an “I can do it myself, I don’t need anyone” mindset
- Supports and brings encouragement to a community of others as they bravely face strongholds and challenges in their lives together
- Chooses which thoughts on which she wants to dwell, and consciously determines not be swayed by limiting beliefs and thoughts that do not line up with God’s word and who He says she is
- Creates space and seeks silence and solitude to connect with and hear from God
- Maintains a positive mindset: meditating on what is true, noble, just, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy
- Sees opportunities for growth when faced with trials
- Openly shares her story and reveals things that would be easier to keep in the shadows, knowing it may touch or encourage another person
- Is willing to be inconvenienced to help others or respond to a calling God placed on her heart
- Is a good hostess, opening up her home and heart to others
- Works hard and diligently and serves in the manner by which she has been called by God, even when she does not know what the future holds, even when others do not understand or support her actions
- Does not lose hope and trusts God’s plans for her life, even when she does not receive recognition and her remarkable efforts and endurance is discounted or overlooked by others
- Will not be swayed by others opinions, as God’s opinion is truly what matters
- Seeks God first and foremost when faced by anxiety, fear, depression, or other emotions that are hard to sit with or understand
- Does not grumble or complain when faced with difficult circumstances or when things do not go according to her own plans; but rather proclaims, “ok, God, I trust you and know you know what’s best for me: what are you trying to teach me through this?”
- Does not seek comfort, convenience, or other forms of self-preservation
- Is generous with her time, money, and other resources: remembering she is a steward of what is given to her so that others may be cared for and also see how loved and valued they are in His eyes
- Values and prioritizes community and connection: silence and solitude is extremely important, but no one is meant to live life in isolation
- Helps others, even when it means a sacrifice of self
- Is not overcome and discouraged by difficult circumstances, for she knows God uses all things for good
- Doesn’t need to know the “why” because she knows the “Who” who holds her future and determines her steps: she trusts God even when the reasons behind certain aspects of life do not make sense or in seasons of life that are extremely difficult…for she knows He is all-knowing, all-loving, His ways are always perfect, and He uses all things for good
- Isn’t a victim to the demands of life; but rather, mindfully dictates and prioritizes her schedule and the use of time in line with God’s direction, her core values, and her God-given purpose
- Seeks silence and solitude regularly to receive direction, encouragement, and correction by God
- Knows she is always surrounded by God, even when He feels distant and/or it looks like she is surrounded by circumstances that threaten to consume her
- Listens to and learns from opposing viewpoints, intent on gaining an understanding of the reasons behind others’ opinions, rather than lashing back with her own thoughts and callously trying to “win others over” so they can see things “clearly” (HA!) through her perspective
- Is willing to be corrected and challenged by those in her close circles and/or those who want the best for her
- Is okay with being wrong
- Isn’t afraid of failure and is willing to try things that scare or challenge her
- Does not feel the need to control or know future outcomes and entrusts her life to the hands of God
- Is not afraid to feel ALL of her feelings: instead of running from them, she weathers through and examines them, knowing feelings are tools to help bring clarity to internal matters that need to be processed and worked through
- Maintains a heart of gratitude and lives out of an abundance (vs. scarcity) mindset
- Sees each day as a opportunity, knowing everything that happens (including hard things) are for her, not against her
- Lives in the present moment and is not caught up in the past or anxiously awaiting the future
- Seeks justice and equality for all people
- Lives each and every day with purpose; intently focused on, and driven by, what matters most
The list above may seem long to you; but honestly, I had to stop myself short.
As the empowered characteristics would have continued to flow had I allowed them to do so. Which is pretty amazing to me, given I have struggled with low self-esteem and self-doubt for much of my life.
This exercise encouraged me and created a longing within me to seek God even more diligently. For when I seek Him, He pulls me from any darkness in which I find myself and His love-light reveals the truth He desires me to see. As I seek Him more, He reveals to me how He sees me.
I must say: I like this list of attributes from God much better than that the self-doubt I had claimed and the long list of limiting beliefs that had enslaved me in years past.
Friend, I sincerely encourage you: give it a go for yourself.
With an open heart and open mind, envision your own True Self. Your Unmasked, beautiful True Self.
I think you may be pleasantly surprised by the beauty revealed and discovered as you seek to understand and meet your “True You.”