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Posts Tagged ‘Lessons’

What Love Really Means by JJ HellerI just got back from a trip to the Midwest for a family wedding and was happily surprised by the conversations I found myself engaged in.  The conversation that stood out to me was on topic of Who we are.  Who are we authentically and how do we live in that authenticity in every circumstance?  How does knowing who we are enrich our relationship with God?  It’s a big topic I know, but stay with me as we begin to put together a little piece of the puzzle.  Before reading on please click on the heart.

I’d like to share a bit of my story regarding this topic.  My hope is that it will be of help if you are also asking yourself, Who am I showing up as, who am I authentically and how does that affect my relationship with God, others and experiencing Joy in my life.

For me this journey began in my teens, however, I didn’t understand until my late 30’s.  Before then, I went through life in reactionary mode.   I knew God but felt I had to live up to a set of rules in order for Him to love me and find me acceptable.  I tried following those rules, but more times than not I ended up rebelling against them.  I was searching for who I was and for God to love me just as I was whether I followed the rules or not.  Little did I know that God did love me for me, I just didn’t love myself or know who that self was.

The turning point, for which I am eternally grateful for, was when my marriage began to fall apart.  I hit bottom and God felt very far away.  I was angry, hurt and confused.   I tried blaming my husband for the choices I made.  I tried blaming the church.  I tried blaming God.   Finally, I realized I had no one to blame but myself.  Therein lies a story of forgiveness that I will save for another time.

God showed me that I had no idea who I was (who He designed me to be) and in turn had a tremendously skewed perception of who He was.  Thus, because I didn’t know me, I didn’t know Him and my relationship with Him was based upon what others said it “should be,” what others said it “should look like.” 

I was the person who married at 19 and rode on the shirt tails of my husband.  I felt I had no identity, other than being the music and youth ministers’ wife.  I felt I was invisible and had no voice, a round peg in a square hole.  I felt nervous if someone asked me what I thought about a particular subject.  I didn’t feel safe telling them what I really thought.  I remember a dear friend asking me what I liked to do for fun and I struggled for an answer.  I couldn’t even answer this most basic question.  There is no one to blame here, everyone’s timing in “awakening” is different.

The paradox was, even though I had no idea who I was deep down, I knew how to be a master of disguise on the surface.  I was very good at showing up as the “ideal” role model, portraying the “picture perfect” marriage and the “pinnacle” of what a “good” Christian looks like.  Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t trying to purposely hurt others by acting this way.  But looking back from where I am now to what I was, I see how I was living a life that felt and looked phony.  I had no knowledge of how to be any other way and when the “red flags” came up I ignored them thinking they would magically go away, until the time came when I couldn’t ignore them any longer. 

After checking myself into the Meadows  for a week-long stint of group therapy, I started to see a tiny glimmer of light. God used this unconventional program to get me back onto the path that He designed. Through God’s grace and more deep work, Brian and I chose to reunite.  The following years were tough as we began to rebuild our marriage while trying to find who we were individually, as a couple and how God desired our relationship with Him to look like.

Several years later God led me to Coach Training.  Little did I know that this was not just a career change, but yet another path towards finding more of me and in turn finding a LOT more of God.  When my Coach  asked me the question,” Pam, who do you want to show up as?” I was speechless.  Did she mean I actually had a choice?  That I could actually be conscious enough to put it into words and feel safe in saying it out loud?  I pondered this question for weeks.  I began to journal and pray asking God who He wanted me to show up as.  Guess what, the awareness and words that He gave me were nothing more than what was already deep inside begging to be let out.

It’s fun to see that I still have this  list so that I can share it with you.  It’s been interesting to take it out again and see where I can honestly say, yes this is me and to also see areas that I need to keep practicing with and be mindful of.  Maybe you’d like to begin your journey of discovery by doing this exercise for yourself. 

Try this to get started…

Note:  This is about WHO you are, not your roles or what you do for a living.  Think of this as something like character traits.

Note:  Don’t get caught up in thoughts that might say, you could never be this, or it’s not my personality, or that’s too hard to change.  God is bigger than this!  All He asks is for a willing heart.

Ask yourself – What do I value?  What are my strengths?  You may see these character traits in someone close to you and each time those traits are showing up they speak to you. Take notice.  People are good mirrors for us.

There are many great books out there, here’s one that you might find helpful.  Strength Finders  

However, while books and taking notice of others are helpful I, I encourage you to try not to get caught up in the knowledge of it all and disregarding the heart and application of it.  The answers are within you just ask, listen and watch.

Here’s my list:  Who do I want to show up as?

I want to show up as a person who is:

Authentic:  In every area of my life- Spiritual, Career, Personal, Relationships.  I am confident in who I am. I am confident that God loves me for me.  I am responsible for my taking care of things that are keeping me from living the life that God wants me to live.  I am responsible for taking care of myself.  I honor God, myself and others.  I honor my values and beliefs.  I honor others’ values and beliefs.  I always tell the truth even if it is uncomfortable.  I am articulate and direct in a respectful, loving way. 

Integrity:  I am always honest, I will always do my best, I am diligent even when the journey gets tough. I take care of issues that pull me away from God and my family as quickly as possible.

Compassionate, Caring, Loving, Forgiving, Contributing: I am kind with myself and others.  I do not hold a grudge even with myself.  I respect and do not judge or criticize myself or others.  I value myself and others for where they are in their journey and who they are showing up as.  I am open to new ideas and new learning.  I am courageous and adventurous and want to follow God’s design for the purpose of showing His love.

As I said earlier, this is a big topic and there is much more that could be said.   My hope though is by knowing a little about my story and by sharing a few ways that helped me begin my journey that when the time is right, God will reveal your path. 

I encourage you to share your story when the time is right for you.

Peace,

Pam

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I began Yoga classes a few weeks ago.  It’s amazing & challenging & yes, I amSantosha sore!  Thanks Liz  for awesome classes on Tuesdays.  In our first class Liz taught us about Santosha, the Sanskrit word for Contentment, the second of the five niyamas, or observances. Here’s a little more on the subject if you are interested.

A succinct definition of Santosha is, being content with our actions, what we have, where we are, who we are and with one another. 

I’m grateful to be learning about Santosha, as it connects so well with what God has been teaching me over that past several months.  And, because I am sometimes not feeling so content in some of these yoga positions!  However, as I breathe through the discontentment and focus on being content in the position, I actually begin to feel more comfortable.  

It’s interesting to watch how the many layers of this practice, Santosha, come into play.  Just when I think I somewhat understand and find peace in one area of my life, another area of learning pops up.  The most recent lesson for me is in the area of being content with who I am.  I’m not talking about outward appearances, such as looks, body image or personality.  I’m talking about being unconventional, which sometimes leave me feeling as though I don’t fit in.  Do you ever feel this way? 

I’ve spent a big piece of my life “conforming,” being forced to stay “in the box”.  From outward appearance, to what to think, to what to believe, to how to act…  But thank God, He has shown me that I am uniquely and wonderfully designed.  And guess what?  I’m not the only one, we all are uniquely and wonderfully designed.  That means we get the opportunity to live fully in who we are.  And if we don’t feel like we “fit in,” that is perfect!  We can choose to be content, in a discontent world, because we each have unique purposes for being on this earth.  

So, my mantra for this area of my life is… Embrace it when I feel as though I don’t fit.  Embrace it when I am triggered by my past, my baggage of “conformity.”  Be grateful and talk to God about how He is working in my life and releasing me from the chains that sometimes drag me down.  Because we all know what happens when the chains are broken, we find more freedom! 

Isn’t it cool to see where God’s Truth shows up when we are mindful to seek Him in all things?

What area of your life is God teaching you Santosha? 

What is your mantra for embracing and being grateful in this area?

I invite you to share your story when the opportunity arises. Till next time…

Namaste,

Pam

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We live in a fast pace world where waiting is not well tolerated. I’ve even felt guilty when asked, “what did you do today” and I was not able to come up with a long list of things that filled my time. Wow, how sad is that? I think many people view waiting as a waste of time. How dare we have 2-3 hours in a row where we can just BE.

So, what does it really mean to wait, to wait on God? I think of it as following God’s promptings, and being present in each moment. Waiting on God photo by Brian Day, Monterosso Italy

The rub is, our culture and sadly many of our church cultures say do, do, do, that will show our success, our worth, and our significance. However, God says, Remain in Me, Rest in Me, Wait on Me, Trust Me, Listen for My voice, just BE you, that amazing person that I created.

So how do we wait, follow God’s promptings, and stay in the present moment?

In my last post I talked about letting go, being unattached. I think waiting, being present in each moment to follow God’s promptings is intertwined with letting go.

Here’s a true story, simple yet pretty amazing to me. It was November of last year, I had been talking to God about direction, and to show me clearly what that was. Of course, I was thinking big things, like my career or moving overseas, or something outrageous. I was putting my box around it, defining what I though it might look like.

So what do I hear? Crochet hats… Yep, you heard me right, crochet hats. I discounted it thinking it was just me trying to think of Christmas gift ideas. But the words kept coming back and oddly enough I was feeling really motivated to do it. The thought of going to the store and finding some fun yarn sounded exciting.

Then the thoughts came, you know the ones… Thoughts like, you don’t know how to crochet hats, who are you going to give them to, no one you know really wears hats. You don’t have the money to buy yarn, you don’t have the time, etc, etc. Thank God, the feeling of excitement the motivation outweighed the thoughts.

I wanted to crochet many hats, like 5 or 10. Again, thoughts ran across my mind, you are crazy, this is ridiculous to spend the time and money to crochet when you don’t even know why you are doing it. I thought, well half the time I feel crazy anyway, so why not go for it.

I went and bought some yarn, now to figure out how to create a hat. I did know how to crochet, so that was a bonus. I met with a friend and told her what I was doing, my friends love that I’m a little off kilter. She said, oh I’ve been wanting to learn and my daughter knows how to crochet hats. Hmmm, who knew! 🙂  Another friend said, “I have some yarn I’ll give you!”  I love it that God cares about the details.Waiting blog post www.pathsofdiscoverylifecoaching

I had made about 4 hats, when I got an email from a friend (I’ll call her Trish for confidentiality sake) who is in China . She wanted to put together a gift set full of hats, scarves, blankets, for some of the students that she and her husband works with.

I told her how God was prompting me to crochet hats but didn’t know why or for whom. I wondered if she would want these hats. She said yes, I’d like to have them by Christmas.  As we discussed logistics, – getting them there in time, shipping them, etc. it started to feel like it wasn’t’ going to happen. She said, “let’s keep waiting and talking to God about it. If it doesn’t work for the students Christmas gifts, I’ll give the hats to the beggars on the streets.”

I noticed that I had a familiar feeling inside (here comes the lesson in letting go/ being unattached again) of not really wanting the hats to go to beggars. I really wanted the students to have them. I started trying to figure out how I could get them there in time etc.

I realized at that moment I was allowing myself to be attached, and I wasn’t staying in the present moment. I was taking control, looking towards the future and how I could make it all happen.

Then I heard God’s voice, “this project wasn’t mine to begin with, but His.” I thought about that and I knew I needed to trust, and let it go so it could be completed in His way. I told Trish that I wasn’t attached to who the hats went to, and that I would continue to crochet and wait.

A few weeks later Trish wrote and said,” I know where your hats are going!” She had just met a lady that is developing relationships with prostitutes there in her town. She is there showing them unconditional love and care.

Side note: For those of you who don’t know, many girls in other countries are sold into sexual slavery. Many times, they have no alternative because they don’t have the education to get a job, or the means to get the education. Check out this link for an amazing organization that is helping these girls get out of slavery. 

Back to the story… the lady who works with these girls told Trish, that she wanted to put a care package together and the hats would be an incredible gift for them! We didn’t even have to worry about the logistics, it was all taken care of.

This was several months ago. Yesterday I got an email from Trish with a picture attached. The picture was of several beautiful girls (oh they were so young it broke my heart) all cuddled together holding up peace signs with their hands. Guess what was on their heads, the crotched hats! I wish I could show you this precious picture, but for their protection, I am not able to.

So what’s the moral of this crazy story? Give yourself permission to slow your mind, your life down so you can hear the very important things that God wants to do in your life.

Listen, wait, follow His prompting, stay in the moment and let go of the outcome. Our lives are a much bigger picture than the boxes we keep around them. We can be used in ways we have never thought or dreamed of, if we will trust and realize that God is working not only in our lives but also globally, and it takes our lives to touch someone that we might not even know.

What stories would you be willing to share that relates to waiting, following God’s promptings and being present in the moment?

What challenges do you have with waiting, letting go, or hearing God’s voice?

Would love to hear your thoughts.

Until next time,

Warmly,

Pam

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How to learn and put into practice the lesson of letting go, that’s been a theme running through my life this past year.  Being unattached from things, people, situations, even my own fears and thoughts. Release… 

Life and Spiritual Coaching www.pathsofdiscoverylifecoaching.com

Inspiration

I think I held on so tightly for so many years, that I became unconscious of it.   Yet, I always wondered why I felt so crazy; all those thoughts racing through my head making my body feel all wired and nutty. Running around doing things that distracted me, when all I really desired was to feel needed, purposeful, at peace and more deeply connected with God.  I was just talking with a friend this morning that is in this same process.  Can you relate too?

So how does letting go, being unattached help me in my Spiritual life and every day life?  How do they connect?  I mentioned in my last post about God getting my attention this past summer.  All I knew is that I had to stop what I was doing.  “STOP THE MADNESS!” Stop the striving, the anxiety, the stress, stop building the box that was crushing me.  All I could hear was wait, (stop), surrender, let go, trust Me (God).  So I did, not having a clue what it was really about, nor what the “end result” was going to be. 

What did “stopping the madness” do for me?  Well for one, it gave me a LOT of space in my physical and mental environment.  Also, much more time, so much so that it sometimes felt overwhelming.  By allowing and accepting it, and not running off to find a distraction, it deepened my relationship with God, and others.  It quieted my spirit. 

One by one, God showed me things I was attached to.  Things, thoughts and feelings that kept me anxious, things that kept me in that crazy mode, that box.  It’s like I had chains around me, wrapped around my entire body.  They were heavy, and that’s what my life felt like, heavy and constricted. 

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”  Matthew 11:28-30 NIV.

Things like my career, material things, things I felt that I “should” be doing and ways that I “should” be doing them.  Of course, they needed to be just right.  I’m pretty sure they call that perfectionism.  Then came the hard stuff, facing my fears.  Loneliness, failure, lack of money, lack of confidence, and the possibility of loosing people I love. 

Looking back, I see that God was and still is, stripping away the stuff that is holding me back from living more fully in His design. It reminds me of stripping wallpaper.  It’s not too hard to take off the top layer, but getting all the backing, the white paper underneath, is another story. It sometimes comes off in tiny strips.

As they say, life is a journey, a process.  It also takes a lot of practice, forgiveness of others and ourselves, and courage to step into change, into a new way of being.  I’m still practicing, that is what the painting  above, is about, that is what these words are about.

Practicing, releasing my attachment to how it “should” look and being grateful for the inspiration that came through the process of creating it, and now letting it go out to the world. 

Of course, I have to wonder, how come it always looks so different in my head than on paper?  I see that my personal “filter” is still very judgmental, I’m working on that.  As my friend Pepper says, “It’s not mine to begin with, it’s Gods.  It’s all God and it’s all perfect.”  Thanks for the reminder and the challenge Pepper.

In what areas of your life is God asking you to let go of and trust Him? 

How are you dealing with the fears and anxiety that come with letting go?

What do you do to practice releasing your attachment? 

Would love to hear your thoughts. 

Until next time, 

Warmly,

Pam

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