Family: It’s a Big Word

“Family” is the concept that looms largest in my personal horizon. I only realized it in terms of articulating it to myself in 2016. So, this is fairly new: to compose a complete view of why this idea of “family” is so central to my entire life.

I began to understand how it impacts so many of us, although in varying ways and  degrees.

Why Me, and Not You?

This is the place where I began to really think, rather than simply struggle.

First, I’m a sixty- something and have lived most of my allotted years. When it comes to family, I went big- I had ten children… and endured long – stayed married for 43 years as a stay-at-home-mom.

It is not an exaggeration to say that I have struggled in one way or another all that time. I never seemed to have really settled within myself. One perennial struggle was to have a cohesive family unit- when what I actually was part of was more like a “herding cats” scenario.

The Light of Dawn

This past year, as I found myself within that familiar cycle of trying to coordinate family get-togethers while everyone else was less than enthusiastic about making plans, I asked myself “Why?”

Why is it so vital to me that we gather together and build relationship, and the others (father and children) seem so indifferent, even resistant? It used to be couched in a “what is wrong with me?”/ “what is wrong with them?” emotional whirlpool, but a different perspective dawned on me.

What is different between us?

That I find the need central, while for them it is peripheral to the rest of their concerns. What explains this conflict of  priorities?

  • Because I am a woman, and a mom? No, that doesn’t explain it, others aren’t like this.
  • Because I made my life choices in that direction? No, it was the impetus, not the outcome.
  • Because I came from a broken home? Yes, that begins to explain it.

Not only did I come from a broken home, but I had no real place in my family of origin. I was a rejected black sheep. The reason is not important, but the effect was the key influence of my life. It colored everything.

My husband came from an intact family, as did my children. I believe they see that part of their life, being in a family unit, as a matter of course. It is settled for them.

My great struggle is seeing that such things aren’t settled by default, but must be grown and cultivated. I don’t apologize or dismiss the power of that insight. I do have one great flaw, however… what does such a family look like? How does it form, especially when given such poor soil?

I value family so greatly, because mine was lacking. I wanted to create family in my life.

I Don’t Have Answers, But I Get Inklings

In these big concept struggles of life, I move further from having the answers (as in “one size fits all”), but I get bigger inklings. And those help me. They create more peace and contentment, and make me much easier to get along with as they disconnect my need to fix the world from daily interactions with the people important to me.

10 Great Inklings

  1. We all have needs for acceptance and love, and it isn’t all about me.
  2. Keep trying to connect, and try to make the majority of connections loving, supportive, pleasant.
  3. Leave the past behind. Get to know the person that they are, now.
  4. Your needs, insights, and contributions are important, so are theirs. Blend, make recipes, value all the ingredients. Know when to leave certain things out of the mix.
  5. Be there. Be present. Be hospitable. Invite. Engage. Allow. Make clear boundaries.
  6. Choose to keep trying as long as fruit is possible. Know when to cut down the tree. This comes from Jesus’s parable of the fig tree. To pour yourself out into areas of life that don’t produce means that less is given to those that will. Be productive.
  7. Glean wisdom, but don’t compare.
  8. Stop the negativity habits; Encourage positive interactions, speech, attitude, gratefulness, and all things edifying.
  9. While oversight may be in your hands, control is not.
  10. You cannot change others, but you can change yourself. That may be the catalyst for circumstances or for others, but it is growth in your own life. It will result in true satisfaction.

My Contribution: A Sense that Family is Important

This lack that became driving force, struggle that became recognition, became what I contribute to the world. I gave it through defiance and by going to war against the norms of my generation. As a SAHM, with homeschooling, home birthing, attempts at homesteading, and having a big family on one (sometimes below average) income.

I don’t contribute the means or the goal, but the concept that a family has intrinsic value for everyone, in some way. That value is not dictated by method, numbers, or even culture.

If the value is dictated by anything, it would be a true understanding of love.

Regrets and the Future

To dwell on regrets is not useful or conducive to change. It only mires one in the past with a distorted filter. We have today, and that forms our future life… with family relationships or otherwise.

People give up on family. Too soon and too often, when it is the messy stuff of living that creates the full spectrum of being.

I believe this is why God has worded relationship with Himself in terms of family. There are many ways we relate to each other, but the closer we are the more we see it in familial connections.

Someone is a sister or mother to us, a father or brother, and a “significant other” is husband or wife. We can’t divorce ourselves from our need to belong. It remains, struggling and gasping for expression.

I want that expression to be a healthy one that promotes growth in each individual. I outlined what that means to me.

…So far…

 

 

 

Roadtrips

My life has changed.

While our children were little my husband rarely to never took vacations, and we couldn’t afford to travel anywhere, anyway. I centered my life around the home and gardening… then put lots of time into blogging. All those occupations were in sync with my intensive demands of homelife (raising ten children while homeschooling), allowing for creative expression while not requiring lots of money or absence from overseeing the needs of my family.

Now I find I am always on a trip somewhere.

It changed slowly with rare trips to places I never dreamed of seeing… I went to Hungary and Denmark, then to Brazil to attend my son and daughter in love’s wedding. With the advent of grandchildren, there have been increased trips to Georgia, mainly, but Florida and Phoenix were on the list as well.

In the past year we did something -twice- that had been on my husbands wishlist since I met him: a road trip across the nation, visiting the West. He still has the Badlands on his bucket list, but we checked off the others: Highway 1 and Mendocino, Bryce Canyon in Utah, America’s Loneliest Highway Rte 50 through Nevada.

I know some people blog while they travel, but I am an “in the moment experience” type of person. I don’t even like the distraction of taking photographs. I have moderated that and forced myself to take photos for the sake of memories and just because I want to capture some of the beauty that I see, but mostly I drink in the scenery, and let the atmosphere saturate my mind and heart.

The past few years have seen a great increase in travel for me… which may not be comparable to many others, but it is a huge change for me.

I find I like it.

I come back to loads of laundry to do, a marathon of weeding and neglected gardens, but it has been worth the exchange. Time spent by the ocean, seeing vast redwood forests, immense mountains of the Rocky ranges… these are mind opening, soul nourishing events.

So I don’t apologize that this season of my life leaves less room for the type of blogging I once did. My online life evolves and there is no pattern for the shape it will take. But, like all the rest of my life, I have shifted away from letting demands rule my life, and have created space for the simple act of living. Letting the flow of what creates an organic and vibrant participation of relationship and experience to take the forefront, to become my priority.

People figure more predominately in this way of life, and tasks become secondary. I don’t pretend to imply that it leads to being a successful blogger or to create worldly wealth. I do, however, feel richer, and may I say it? Happier. Or maybe happy is not the right word choice, I think the term “joie de vivre” is a more accurate term. The joy of life infuses this pathway.

My garden takes on a wild look, my blogs are temporarily neglected, but I have more to offer when following this roadtrip of life.

A few pictures seem in order here.

Colorado mountain stream by the highway
Dwarfed by the landscape.
lake tahoe
We fell in love with Lake Tahoe
photos
Mountainside Photo Op

My Legacy, True Grit

I was thinking about the legacy we leave our children. Not the type that is made up of stocks or bonds, or houses, but the kind that is a result of the DNA we passed to them and that more esoteric kind of legacy made up of passing on who we are. Some of my children want little that represents what I’m made of, and some highly regard it. But highly regard it or no, it is passed on to them in measures not of my making. Perhaps little of their making, for we do not choose what makes us, how we are arranged together or who we come from.

God makes all those choices and we can grow into what we are meant to be, called to be, best fitted for in life. I say that because another unchosen condition is the time and situation of the world we live within.

But of the qualities that I pass to my children, one of the foremost is my ability to withstand pain and endure. Built into me somewhere is the stubbornness and bravery of Scottish Highlanders and Hungarian Hussars. Faces of flint when needed. It sounds like a good thing until you realize one of the hardest things for such people is to remain open to others, especially those who seem bent on hurting and using you. I struggle to stay the course with people.

Grit is great sanding material, but not so good to get in your shoe in a long journey. A little oil of joy doesn’t hurt, and likely is necessary. I am learning to value joy for that reason.

I am courageous. I am a lightning rod.

I draw trouble and the wrath of the oppressor. It makes me a bit oppressive, myself.

I am giving and have a deep vein of compassion, but it is tempered with hard lessons.

I am easily misunderstood and most of the time I really don’t care about that.

I listen to my own inner convictions and keep my own counsel. It makes me strong, but also makes my mistakes big ones. I don’t have much emotional intelligence at times.

I feel others pain. Sometimes I find it crippling. Sometimes I am paralyzed by the sight of the consequences they must face.

I often want to give up and can’t. I don’t know if it is Sisu or just inflexibility.

I second-guess, and switch gears all too often. I lack consistency.

I have trouble being positive and affirming, and have all too often been in the habit of looking for the problems and faults. I am something of a control freak with a crushing sense of over responsibility which -oddly enough- contributes to the fact that I can be undependable.

I am firm in my convictions because it took me hard work to get there and lots of testing of the thinking and the truth of them. It is hard to convince me, and harder to make me let go of what I have become convinced of. The one place I am dependable, consistent, and steadfast is in standing in those convictions. A good thing for being the ballast in my relationships, because I don’t tend to trust people easily, but I will stand by them because it is the right thing to do. Some would say of my trust level in people, “not at all”. I am convinced of the depravity of man.

So it won’t surprise me how bad you are. And it is likewise the basis for my knowledge that I could just as easily be just as bad- or worse.

I keep turning towards God no matter how little I understand why things are the way they are and how difficult and fearful the choice looks. I stopped looking for other answers. What is clear to me might make it hard for me to see why you have your questions. But I don’t begrudge you your questions.

These are a few things I have passed on to my children by way of experiences, upbringing, relationship with them.
My language of love is more tough, pick yourself up, and learn to be self sufficient.

You can see how I am easily misunderstood (insert a laugh track here…cause no one is going to laugh at this “joke”).

But I love in a way that has your back even when I don’t believe in what you are doing or I see trouble in your chosen path. I’m good when all your fair weather friends have deserted you.

I don’t need you to tell me how “good…nice…wonderful” I am.

But I do need connection even when I don’t think so.

And this is all a part of my legacy to my children. Who I am, the impact and influence I leave, and how much I love them.

whether they like that or not.
funky white boy

I Made Plans Today

January is my number one planning month. I like to plan, but in the past I had more plan than execution which always translates into disappointment and frustration. In more recent years, I moved into an action-oriented way of doing things which then resulted in the type of LaLaland distraction which I have always been prone to. Come to think of it, I wonder if my love of planning had some of its origins in how well it worked to help me cope with the outside world and its demands.

Whatever… that is an example of the rabbit trail kind of thinking that dogs my life 🙂

Back to telling you what I did today that relates to you- my dear readers, or happenstance visitors…

I made plans today that incorporated two activities and goals that are at the top of what I would love to accomplish this year:
Get Ready!

Better Health Better Blogging

Which I am hoping will help to accomplish

Better Success

You might be disappointed in how cliched, how prosaic, those goals are, aren’t these the goals of 99.9% of the people out there? Maybe not the blogging, but some part of their life like that. Health and fitness always rate right up there for most people. But for me, I linked the two, and outlined them on paper.

There is a part of my brain that is convinced that uniting goals and making connections between dissimilar parts of our lives leads to a better balanced and successful overall life.

‘Blogging’ and ‘Health’ goals have been at opposite poles for me in the past few years. when I spent lots of time blogging, or making websites (the involvement with sitting long periods at the computer), the worse the effect on my physical well being. I became sedentary, I snacked on food I usually don’t even like (always unhealthy processed, fat-laden, sugar-infused foods), sat in awkward positions, just to name a few of the worse side effects of loving to blog.

When I exercised, gardened, took walks and hikes, cooked from scratch… interacted with people, you know, real life activities, I not only did not write or work on computer related website-making or graphics, or any of the many tasks linked with blogging… I lost my place. That’s right, I had no idea of what I wanted to do with the sites or blogs, and had problems with the software. Updating, using plugins for function, fixing things that go awry, became a giant learning curve again.

That also is very much my natural personality default. Long periods of focus sharpen my thinking, as well as create the logic and connections that my mind works well with.  If other activities take me far away from the thought and concentration and I sort of forget everything.

So, I have decided to harness the power of blogging to sort through and create accountability in some of my desired improvements, including taking ownership of health. It isn’t enough to know the requisite knowledge of what to eat or how to exercise, etc. I need to incorporate the actions, and in a way that I don’t lose sight of other important goals in my life, like communicating with people.

So, I made my map for a couple goals, and this long dormant blog is going to be a part of this experiment.

My experiment in this years resolutions, which I confessed to my family in our conversation time on January 2nd, that I have not even formulated yet. Until I wrote my plan for the health/blog/outline, I didn’t even have much of an idea that I was going to focus on health this year. At least not in a real, organized type of way.

And do you know what inspired it all? God works in mysterious ways, I tell you: a Sam’s Club Advertisement magazine. Yes.
I think it congealed with the Copyblogger articles I was reading which lead to an INC article and BOOM! There I was making my plan.

I remembered I joined the affiliate programs for these businesses, so in the spirit of integrating goals, plans, and actions I’ll post my affiliate banners here. Perhaps at some point I will know how to sync serving my posts linked with business affiliations etc.that will be of real value to the readers. For now, it is just sort of a non sequitor random banner posting… just because reading Sam;s club’s ads sparked a whole new direction of my thinking in a positive way.

47296_Shop at Samsclub.com (120x60)

Inspired Theme

Intermissions

I’ve taken long intermissions on this blog. This isn’t uncommon with the blogging world, and often it signals the eventual Sleeping Beauty death of many blogs. For me, the long intermissions are more of a type of contemplation. This blog was never primarily about popular topics, although that sometimes became the gist of posts when my eye turned that way, instead the TrueGrit blog remains a repository of my private thoughts and opinions posted in a public forum.

I don’t always want to expose my broken heart. I don’t always want to exhibit disappointments or explain causes for anger. There is often a feeling of responsibility to give something of value and, therefore, optimism or resolution. You have to be in a certain state of mind to write that way, to prevent falling into some sort of false and hypocritical form of writing. Personally, speaking, that is.

And the truth is that once one distances from a blog that is personal in nature, more and more of the posts become exercise of the imagination. I mean that I imagine the post I will write, but then let too much time pass and it never actually materializes. Like much of my life, at times.

I have moved away from the tolerance of living that way. Dreams are all well and good in their place, but then one awakes with an actual hunger in the pit of an actual stomach. I think that is where I am in life right now. If I can incorporate a blog (and there are now many tools to help a writer with that) with living a busy real life… since that is where more of my efforts are propelling me, then it will grow. Otherwise the idea of folding it into a past chapter of life will finally be decided.

I don’t want to end this chapter quite yet. I just want to change it into a better form, more in keeping with today’s realities.

Life has many intermissions. Some we call vacations, some we call sabbaticals, some we call other names, and they are bridges between our active choices, but never a timeout from life… since life marches on and recruits each intermission into its history. Very often, as I have on this blog, we simply stay in a state of indecision which is not an intermission at all, but a passive type of decision- allowing something other than our active choice take the helm.

All I know right now is that I don’t want to live within the intermission, but to direct, act, and produce as creatively as possible a cohesive whole. Is life a journey, a stage, a destination, a plan, a What? Perhaps a continuum that somehow encompasses bits of all those concepts.

A Planning Tool for Goals and Accomplishing Dreams

I came across an interesting concept, new to me, but not new. It is like making an idea board for your dreams, with the view of making them a reality in the coming year. It is called a vision board. It is a cross between idea maps and collage art which I find a fun idea, even if it doesn’t accomplish the original intent of inspiring motivation throughout the year. You can make your personal art and that is something quite accomplished in itself!

Magazine Photo Collage and Art Therapy are articles with helpful videos that explain the method of creating the boards.

Dream boards seemed to become popular with The Secret. Which is a book and subsequent movie I have neither read nor seen. But I am very interested in it now!

The thing about this kind of art is how easy and accessible it is. I used to regularly do collage in my childhood and pre-teen years. Looks like I may be reverting to childhood this year as I take a journey into creating a few of these boards for my own vision awareness. I already tried one just to begin (always a favorite way to incorporate a new activity into my life:jump right in!)

Getting Back To The Basics

:: repost from 8/22/08 ::
I’ve been told a lot of things. Pray for this. Fast for that. Attend this meeting. Give. Serve here.Take care of the nursery there. Be nice. Be strong.Spank your kids. Don’t spank your kids. Clean your house better. Be involved. Be smart. Take care of yourself. But not too much.

I could go on for quite some paragraphs if I really wanted to and put my mind to it… those were just off the top of my head. I have deadlines, I have demands. I have obligations. And so do you. The difference between you and me might be the number of years we have been at this… or it might be that one of us tries harder, certainly some of you are far more successful than I am at all of this, but I’m sitting here thinking: what is really important? What should I have spent my time doing, listening to, and giving myself to? It isn’t that I haven’t tried to do “the right thing”. I have, and I find that that is the case for most people I know: we are trying to do what is best in any given circumstance.

But this Olympics thing has stuck that thought in my mind: we all run the race, but one gets the prize. In life, it is not a singular “one”, it is the qualifying one. The one who has enough focus, wisdom, and sense to know the goal and to strive to attain it. Olympic gold is not won by scattered energies and diversions. It is won through measured effort. You can’t work too hard to gain it, or you might injure yourself, burn out, or otherwise disqualify. You have to utilize your own gifts and focus towards what they are best potentialed to accomplish.

There is this little mentioned portion of scripture in the Song of Solomon:

Song of Solomon 1:6

Do not stare at me because I am dark, because I am darkened by the sun. My mother’s sons were angry with me and made me take care of the vineyards; my own vineyard I have neglected.

and then much later in the book:

Song of Solomon 8:12

But my own vineyard is mine to give

Many of us have labored for others dreams and goals, supported others plans and met their demands while neglecting what was ours, our responsibilities, gifts, ministries, and potentials. We thought our time would come, and others would then support us, but it isn’t always that way. We have to realize, and take responsibility for our own vineyard. We have to own it. And then we may properly give it… while having something truly worthwhile and cultivated, cared for as something precious, to give away to others.

If we don’t value what we are and what we have to give…. why would we expect others to be capable of that? We must put a value on our giftings, and develop our own callings in life. So many of us, especially women, expect for others to do this for us. And then we wonder why things don’t work out.

A vineyard is an interesting thing.”Wine grapes are an agricultural product and it takes about four years before a newly planted vineyard comes into production” ~Jenny Heinzen, director of winery and vineyard sales for WineryX Real Estate in Napa Valley

Continue reading Getting Back To The Basics

Turning Straw Into Gold -Life Transformation

My husband took a book out of the library, and while reading it, said, “You really ought to read this book.”

Now let me tell you the backstory on this… it was a self-help book; I always read self-help books, not him; I always end up reading his books, which he never seems to finish- because I am more of a reader than he is; and, last but not least, I wasn’t in the mood for a self-help book at the moment. You are jumping ahead of me if you think I picked up the book and read it… you know I did, but let me tell you the rest of this, because there is a useful point to me telling you the tale. Because I wasn’t in the mood to read something I didn’t pick out for myself and was busy with some projects (not the least of which is getting back on track with de-cluttering) I resisted. For awhile.

Anyway, I’ve been struggling again with my friend, Procrastination. I try to shake her off, and give her the message that she is a nuisance and a burden, but it isn’t working, she loves me better for all that. So you see I’m set up to be interested in a self help book, if it is the right one. I’ve busied myself with creating valuable content for gardening readers – off on tangents to Squidoo pages and writing in the blogs, because this is an important goal of mine this year, and reading my husbands book didn’t fit with the plan… not that this has ever stopped me before. Procrastination was spending some time at my house, to delay me from making Dr. appointments, which I really hate and are the only reason I welcome friend Pro in for extended visits. So while she went in the other room, I thought, “I’ll just pick up this book and give a look.” You know where this is going, but I’m writing it down because there is something here for you, and I think it will help you as much as me, so stay with me just a little while more. Thanks [smiley face].

God has been doing some parallel things like rewriting my inner negative conversation, encouraging me to believe for good things in my life, and accepting how I was made and my unique experiences. So this set me up for the book, as well. By now you are impatient for the title, so here: ‘The Solution, Conquer Your Fear, Control Your Future‘. That title would not have been one I would have picked up, personally. I don’t consider myself fearful or fear-driven, and I need to relinquish control, not pursue more of it. At least that is what I think of myself, but I’ve been very wrong before…

As soon as I read the Foreword (as I always do), I was hooked. It was by Dr. Daniel Amen, who intrigued me on a PBS segment about changing your brain. He said the methods in this book help do the very things his research supported. OK, I’m in…. I want to change my brain and make my thinking healthier.

I picked up the book and started reading and the first concept was to start piecing together and understanding your own “Core Story”. I’ve done so much thinking about my past and problems that this was actually hard. Too much information. Still, I felt that it is worth going forward with, not in moments, but over some time during the first quarter of this year. That is the assignment for Day 1, so I spent some time with it. It was on the Day 2 assignment page that I saw something that stopped me and made me write this, because I am sure there are some people who could benefit from this as much as me, and this is the real take-away in this post. This is the quote:

You don’t need to apologize or make excuses for who you are “not”

That realization, alone, if that is all I ever get from this book is worth the price of purchase. It is worth gold, actually, because this is the chaff of my life. Inside and outside I apologize constantly for what I am “not”. To be free from that need is a goal , an attainment, real personal wealth.

It also works synchronously with what God is doing in my life. Faith can’t work on the basis of what we lack or are “not”. I need to renew my mind with the new nature that Christ has imprinted upon me, that comes from His spiritual DNA, that is built up from my experience in Him. God is very “can-do” if you don’t mind me saying. I need to shuck off the “I can’t”, the “I’m not”, which have nothing to do with my own path and possibilities.

When I saw that I saw what a time waster the apology making is, for a world of things that others might want or imaginary demands that I will never meet. Instead of owning who I am and what I have to offer and getting busy with giving others something real and valuable from what I really have to give. Not that ghost of what I imagine they want or need from me that I don’t have.

I can’t tell how freeing that one little sentence is. How it puts a whole new face on my thinking, and creates a space for me to accept who I am and get on with it: get on with living a life worth the time spent here on this earth.Believing that we have a purpose, we are a fit somewhere in the plan, and not a mistake of our own or anyone elses making.

Life is full of striving, “straw making”, and the gold is rare because so few possess it. Truth is like fine gold, and when we exchange a lie for truth we have transformed our straw into gold. There are times we see that as futile, and that we are doomed to our fate, which is why I want to give some real effort to changing my thinking, to going through the exercises in a self-help book that I didn’t even have an initial interest in reading. I use catalysts like self-help books, and PBS specials, and Beth Moore bible studies, then I share them with …whoever will listen. Today I hope you will take home the decision to no longer “apologize or make excuses for who you are “not””.

There is no time for starting like the present, even if the present is your fifth decade of life.

It is a start. January seems the appropriate time to initialize it.


If you want the book by Lucinda Bassett, you can order it from Amazon.

*straw photo by Sherle Curtice

Priorities for Next Year

Every year I make priorities with varied levels of success in implementing them. This year reconnecting with family, increasing garden efforts (including growing food again), seriousness about decluttering were all at the top of the list. I have made some successful progress in all of them, but in looking ahead at what I want to prioritize for the next year one will move to the top: decluttering. Next year, I have decided that a real effort in hospitality is going to take a new place in how I want to live my life. Decluttering is intrinsic to accomplishing that.

I once had numerous events and casual get-togethers here, but remodeling my old house and then the overwhelming efforts of helping my grandmother, mom, and dad intervened. It is now rare for me to have people come to share a meal at my house. Then coming across the Reluctant Entertainer, and reading what she had to say made me realize that I want this to be a part of my life again. It will take preparation and planning. So, if I start now, I can realize this in my life in 2011- I know it!

I also should edit this to add that a video from Gourmet.com was also influential. In part of a segment about the Gypsy culture of Andalusia, Spain… the sheer joy of their meal preparation and the vocalized importance of the social gathering around a meal ( ditto France, Italy, and other such cultures), caused me to realize that this is part of how we ought to live our lives. The fast food, eat-on-the-run way of getting our nutrition is a starved, insipid way to treat one of the major matters of both fueling and experiencing life.

see what I mean:
Flavor of Flamenco

The Best of Me

Do you ever think of what “the best of you” looks like? What really looks like you, and not some layering over or reflecting of another’s view of you? I was listening to a morning show interview of Brooke Shields, model and actress, and she was asked about her sense of fashion. She answered that she was dressed by others from such an early age (in a child career) that she didn’t have a sense of personal style until much later in her life and that now it revolved around what was “the best of her”. Reflecting her core self.

Of course when we talk style and fashion, precious little is “the best of me”, and we are always checking in with experts, mavens, and reactions of those around us. Kind of the opposite of “core self”, but the idea remains that at some point we recognize that there is a self that is unique from roles and reactions. What we do with that self is important.

stuff you are
stuff you are
There is a strange paradox in knowing what the best, core self consists of- while it isn’t defined by what others think it is, it is most revealed by the impact it makes on others. We often get that turned around. That is why we so often accept a view of ourselves as defined by others. Our true self, the person that we were made to be, will affect others because people best respond to what they discern as “real” and “honest”; it is that contact that will make the greatest impression. We, and everyone around us, will only end up confused if operating as if the words and views of others are to be taken as the true picture of who we are and what we may best accomplish. Just the psychological dynamic of “projecting”, alone, is an indication of how this is true.

“Projecting” is when we ascribe our own feelings, traits, and thoughts to someone other than ourselves. This happens so much that if we get the message that we are a certain type of person, we may well attract more of those same messages from others. Just because we have accepted that view of ourselves.

The one great lesson I am learning right now, at the end of life as I near my sixtieth decade, is that only the God who made and saved me can truthfully define me. He can describe my traits, outline my purpose, correct my faults… even to wiping them away with what actually is and was always meant to be “the best of me”.

Something that I meditate on as I try to grasp this way of thinking is “as He is , so are we in this world”

Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world. – 1 John 4:17

We have Christ’s nature in us, but how will that be recognizable if we don’t understand this about ourselves, and reflect it in our actions?

So much of what we do derives from the way in which we see ourselves. Whether we think we are smart or stupid, failures or successes, kind or cruel, strong or weak, emotional or intellectual, much of how we behave is acting out this inner picture.

That may well be a good part of why “positive thinking” or “visualization” works so well for many people. It is not a parlor trick, instead it is more of a self actualization or self-prophecy which we fulfill. Understanding your self, in your own unique expression of how you work, think, and relate best in this world allows God to show you both His and your own importance. Like the right tool for the job, or a fitting word in a situation, or anything where the nature is in harmony with the effort. We are not “things” but we do have substance, a disposition, and pre-dispositions. We come into this world with a specific set of DNA, inside a specific set of conditions, with which to work. That is why we make such efforts all our lives to understand how we fit (or try to understand how we don’t)…. we want to express the best, true self.

I think that is what God wants for us, and that our greatest advocate will always be Christ, Who understands us and what we go through. The best gift is to finally become comfortable in our own skin- not just plain comfortable. I believe that will lead me to the day when I can say, without delusion, that I have no regret. Finding my core self, at last.