Last night I attended a meeting for my church. There was a guest speaker who has had this rather remarkable list of challenges throughout her life. Without going into much detail, one of these trials would easily blow me down. Yet she stood in front of us with such confidence that I couldn't help but think "how is she getting on so well?"
She claimed to be blessed with the gift of joy. When people are described as "joyous despite their trials" my cynical, less tactful side registers "yea right, faker!" I did not get a typical "joyous" vibe from this woman. Don't get me wrong, she had energy, told some well-rehearsed anecdotes, but I could tell her laundry list of trials still wore on her. She later admitted that she no longer did these speeches but felt that she wanted to be with us last night. She'd been going through a tough time with a grand daughter who was born with 5 major heart problems. The baby is 5 months old now and is doing well.
I could tell the presentation was well scripted with bullet points and a power point presentation on "How To Stay Positive!" What I appreciated about this woman was not her presentation but her candor when talking about what was going on now. After a hardship I feel you truly can delight in the person you've become. But there is a certain beauty that comes to a person when they're sharing a hardship they are experiencing right now. This woman who has had so much adversity, who had achieved so much genuine joy in her life was still having to endure trials.
She talked a lot about leadership; being a personal mentor to someone. Leading someone in a positive direction. She strongly urged the fact that to become this leader and mentor you need to have a clear vision of who you are. This struck me. I'm definitely not a big self-help person. I enjoy improving myself but it irritates me when someone thinks they are the ones to tell me how to improve myself! Because of her genuine nature, I really took to this idea presented by this woman. I'm still thinking about what my vision is for myself and how this could benefit my life.
Once you have this vision you need to stay focused.
Okay, I'm a daydreamer, a wishful thinker, a dawdler, etc. I could visualize me in all sorts of scenarios! I think my problem is that I'm visioning myself as someone I am not. To really create a vision for myself I need to first find out about myself and accept who I am. This maybe incredibly easy for some because they know who they are. I struggle with this. Sometimes I'm too dependent on other people's views of me. I let others define me. For example, when I was 12 someone once told me that I was a very accepting person. I had no idea what that meant but for years I told myself (and others) that I was accepting. I just found it easier to go on what others thought of me...Thus illustrating my accepting nature! (ha, ha...cyber laughing is awkward, isn't it?)
The speaker suggested the dangers of losing focus of our vision. She encouraged us not to let the opinions of others get in the way.
Yikes! My vision is so in trouble! Leaving this meeting I knew what I need to work on. St. Francis de Sales once said, "Do not wish to be anything but what you are--and try to be that perfectly." I try to keep the spirit of that quote with me always. But it's a process for me.
Why is it so important for us to understand and accept who we are? Why would it be a good idea to spend some time developing a vision for ourselves? I just keep thinking about that laundry list of trials that this woman has been through. Without a clear vision of who we are how can we stay deeply rooted when the winds blow? Do we even stand a chance?
I know I'm not perfect in this area, and maybe I do depend on others sometimes when I just don't know who I am anymore. Luckily,...actually By divine design, I've been blessed with amazing people in my life who hold me up when my focus is gone. Because of the support system I so often use and depend on, I can't help but wonder that God really does know who I am and will help me on this road to self-discovery and acceptance. He knows that I need true friendships and that I can be a true friend to others. I know that he knows me. I know that he knows you. We really can lead each other into positive directions. Especially when it gets hard to walk alone.
1 hour ago