There Will Be Days

31 Days of Finding Self | Moving Peaces

There will be days when life seems to make sense. You feel like you know who you are, what is most important to you and what your best talents and skills are. Those days are sweet days with a certain ease to it. Your confidence is restored and you have a clarity of mind.

There will also be days when everything you thought you knew goes awry. You flounder about trying to understand why you feel the way you do and wonder what your purpose is in the world. There’s a difficulty and sometimes pain that comes with these days. It can lead to discovery or it can lead to doubt. Self-worth is questioned and positivity is often lost.

You will face both types of days. When you hit one of those days hard, it might seem unfathomable that things will swing back around in the other direction at some point. When that happens, we need to cling to the truths. We need to prepare for both days and acknowledge that they will happen as they are part of life. But then we need to keep moving forward.

 

This post is a part of the Finding Self series for the 31 Days of blogging in October.
To see the all posts in this series, check out the Finding Self page.

One of these things…

There are parts of my life that don’t seem to line up. Like, I’m not quite hip enough for all the shows I go to. Or don’t have kids hanging off my arms like most of the other women at church. Or I don’t look old enough to do the things I am capable of at work. Or maybe I’m not musical enough for what people expect in relation to my incredibly musically inclined husband.

It seems like I’m never quite what “they” wanted. Sometimes I want to shout in return saying, “I DON’T FIT IN HERE! I KNOW IT JUST AS MUCH AS YOU DO!” Yes, I get it, thanks. Because trust me, I feel even more awkward about it than you do. It feels as if my life is hanging in the balances, tinkering on the edge of total discord and absurdity.

So maybe we don’t have the same amount of money, number of kids, personal beliefs, musical talents, magnitude of eye makeup, years of experience or extensive vocabulary. No matter where I turn, I don’t seem to be matching everyone else there in some major life area. As uncomfortable as that can sometimes (often) be, I think there’s something incredibly valuable in it, too. Because instead of continuing on our own little paths, we get to learn from each other and grow from each other. That can’t happen if we all look, talk, act and think the same way. So maybe it will take a little more effort to bridge the gap. Maybe we’ll have to take those differences in stride and assume the best of each other. I’d much rather live amongst a crowd of differences than live a life removed from those who have different experiences and understandings than my own.

Sound familiar? Well, to be honest, this is a recycled post because I ran out of time to blog today and this seemed like it suited the topic fairly well. Being caught in the awkward stage and feeling like I don’t belong or fit in with others is not easy. But it has been in these moments that I have learned the most, both about others and about myself.

31 Days: Finding Self | Moving PeacesThis post is a part of the Finding Self series for the 31 Days of blogging in October.
To see the all posts in this series, check out the Finding Self page.

Hidden Dreams

I think we all have some untapped passions in us. There’s a side of us that we have that plays out from time to time, but we never see it until we go after something that almost falls into our laps.

If you had told me three years ago that thing would be women’s ministry at church I would have never believed you. But if you ask me to stop and consider it–how I love connecting women to each other, I love talking about real life and why our stories matter and how I care so deeply about the relationship between people and church–it starts to make more sense.

A little over a year ago, I jotted down some dreams for what women’s ministry could look like. In the middle of the night I wrote down all sorts of thoughts and ideas, never thinking it would amount to anything. I shoved that notebook back into a drawer and didn’t give it much thought. I didn’t think it was my thing or that I was the right person for the job. Months later I came across an opportunity that I had to bring up. I wanted to shake it and go on pretending it didn’t matter much to me, but it did.

I’m excited to tell you we are less than a week away from a women’s event that I’ve been helping plan at church. And oddly enough, a lot of it is in line with those hopes and dreams I wrote down ridiculously late that one night. There’s still a bit to do, but I’m eager to see how it might impact those that attend (if you’re reading this and local, please consider yourself invited)! While I might not have wanted to claim this part of me previously, I know now that it is a huge passion of mine. It may take a different form than others, but it is something I’m so glad I pursued.

 

IF Promo Video from Lifepointe Church.

I believe God gives us dreams and passions for a purpose. I’m still learning and discovering what mine are, but I know they are intended for use. So even though I didn’t realize this was something I would be involved in, I kept putting those different skills and loves into practice and tried to stay open to what that might mean down the line. Anyone else had a similar story? Found yourself in the midst of something you never would have imagined and then looked around and realized it all suddenly made sense?

 

31 Days: Finding Self | Moving Peaces

This post is a part of the Finding Self series for the 31 Days of blogging in October.
To see the all posts in this series, check out the Finding Self page.

Guest Post: What It Took

Guest Post: What It Took

Samantha’s Note: Writing for 31 days is a great challenge, but one I quickly realized I couldn’t keep. I had more than one dream and area of focus that needed my attention this month. I found myself with too much to do and realized there was some rearranging to do. Thankfully, within the blogging community there were more than a few people ready and willing to help, and I’m so glad to have a few guests posts now throughout the month. Finding self isn’t about just me. We all have a story to tell and hearing from others can help us with our own. Today’s post is by Natalie, and she’s got a great perspective to share.

 

I think we will find ourselves over and over again throughout life. New parts of ourselves, hidden parts of ourselves, sometimes painful parts of ourselves.

Natalie - Finding Self | Moving Peaces

The most significant transformation I’ve seen in myself brought out a new, hidden, painful part of me. It happened like this.

A few weeks after graduating from college, I packed up to fly over an ocean to live in a small house with seven other adults and twenty small babies. Each day, I did my best to give those little babies all I could. Downtime was infrequent, and trips to town were rare. I got poop on my hands more than a few times.

But it was a sweet time God used to confirm my belief that four years of journalism were going to be used, for sure, but social work — orphan care, foster care, adoption — was where He really wanted me. I felt like I had hit my stride. I poured out every inch of me to love and serve that summer. And I’m so thankful for that stride-hitting and confirmation-feeling, because the next few months were hard.

I came home after eight weeks and promptly moved to a new city for grad school. I knew no one. Not even my roommate. All the friends and streets and favorite spots of familiar Iowa were far away. I no longer had the physical closeness of friends with whom I had gone to middle school, high school, and college. I no longer had my familiar routines I played out for four years in a little college town in the middle of Iowa.

I started a social work graduate program. And I have to tell you, God felt distant. I struggled to find my groove in all the areas — church, friendships, and school. But He wasn’t distant by His own doing. The only times He is distant on our journey to find ourselves is when we let Him be distant.

He was there. He pursued me. And through His closeness, I felt comfortable to pursue a deeper faith, good friends, and all these new passions. I found a great church community, I found my niche in the social work program, and I found my husband.

So, what did it take to find those parts of myself I discovered in 2010? It took the removal of all that was familiar and the realization of a God who was always there freeing me to be shaped into this me.

 

Natalie | Moving Peaces - Guest PostNatalie is a part-time social worker and waiting adoptive mama. She lives with her husband and dog in Indianapolis, and she blogs about adoption, foster care, faith, marriage, and home at little things + big stuff.

This post is a part of the Finding Self series for the 31 Days of blogging in October. To see the all posts in this series, check out the Finding Self page.

That Thing You Do

That Thing You Do

That Thing You Do | Moving Peaces

There’s a reason I don’t usually blog on Fridays. By the end of the week, the last thing I want is to be tied down to something I have to do or manage. No one needs chores on a Friday. I’d rather sit on the porch to watch the rain or finally catch up on some reading or just have a good long conversation with my husband.

But I thought you loved writing? Oh, I do.

The thing is, we have different priorities and different interests. Just because I love writing doesn’t mean I always want to do it. Sometimes I have to force myself into keeping up with the discipline but other times, it’s worth pursuing another facet of my life.

I think it’s easy to get caught up in thinking “this is my THING!” and therefore pour all of ourselves into it. There’s a time and a place for that…but it’s not all the time and all the places.

Having a “thing” we do, whether it’s running a business or writing a book or playing music or climbing the corporate ladder or chasing a dream is not bad. But when it becomes our only thing, other areas in our life suffers. I’ve met so many incredibly talented musicians and painters and start-up company owners and otherwise who are crazy successful in their respective fields. But past that one thing, maybe their relationships with others are severely strained–be it in their marriage, with their children or with former friends. Or they find themselves with incredible debt because they became so focused or infatuated with a dream that they neglected to realize its cost. Or their health and mental/spiritual/physical well-being were simply out of control. Life was too far off balance.

They felt justified because someone was saying, follow your dreams with all your heart. But they misunderstood and followed only one dream without stopping to consider the consequences that one dream would have on all of the other ones.

So if you find yourself buried too deep into one thing, stop for a minute. Take a breath and take a look around. Is this really where you want to be going? Where is this ultimately going?

I’m constantly having to check myself to see where I’m actually putting my time, energy and resources to see where it leads. Sometimes it seems to be in the right direction and other times, it’s clear that it is completely out of line with who I want to be.

 

31 Days: Finding Self | Moving PeacesThis post is a part of the Finding Self series for the 31 Days of blogging in October.
To see the all posts in this series, check out the Finding Self page.

Big

Big

 

31 Days of Finding Self | Moving Peaces In the bustle and flurry of all that is happening, sometimes it’s easy to drown out the big. The big truths, big values, big goals. To be honest, sometimes I’m glad for it. I don’t want to be stuck with quiet and big thoughts looming. Those big things can lead to huge life change or coping with hurts I don’t know how to handle.

While being too busy can overwhelm me, being without enough to do often scares me more.

So then I fill my plate back up again. I ignore the signs that tell me to slow down. To rest. To realize when I’m taking on more than I need to without good reason. Then I’m running (figuratively speaking…I hate actual running) nonstop so that by the time I crawl into bed at night I’m too exhausted to think. Instead of finding self, I’m practically avoiding it.

The world is not about me. My own life isn’t even totally about me. Finding self is not supposed to be a selfish endeavor. I’m not trying to encourage a “me, me, me” culture. But knowing who you are is a starting point. You need to know your downfalls as well as your strengths. It helps you to understand why you do the things you do and why you react to certain things and how to take care of yourself.

As much as I sometimes try to avoid it, wrestling with thoughts and struggles has a certain value to it. It’s how you learn and grow. It’s when you resolve the inner turmoil that’s building and spilling out into your everyday life. It’s then that you realize you can’t do it all. You need the community of people around you. And it’s most when I realize I need God to get me through this life.

Find the time to work through these questions and thoughts and truths. Because these big things matter.

 

 

Mountain Talk

Mountain Talk

I don’t often sit still. If I am sitting still, it’s usually with a computer on my lap (and no less than six tabs open), some laundry running and a conversation happening all at once. I’m not the type that can just sit on the porch and ponder. I’ll read a book or maybe bring a notebook to jot down some form of a list…I think you get the idea.

Sometimes the lists and the planning and the thoughts all need to just slow down. We need to get to the place were we can just be without being someone or doing something. We need to simply exist and know that we still matter without all the extra stuff floating through our minds.

Blue Ridge Mountains | Moving Peaces

Over the weekend we hiked several miles up and down a mountain. As we hiked the first mile, we chatted about goals and plans for the future, despite running out of breath with the ever-increasing altitude. By the second mile we talked about the views we were seeing and what we would eat for dinner later that night. As we hiked and climbed higher, we didn’t focus on anything but just getting there. We were only hikers then.

If you encounter other hikers on the trail, no one asks what your day job is. Seldom do people ask where you’re from. Never do they ask what you do in your free time or if you’ve seen the latest blockbuster. No one knows if you make a lot of money or if you volunteer regularly in the community.

The Hike | Moving Peaces

There’s only one thing on their minds, too. The hike. Are we close? Does it get harder? Isn’t it a great view?

And as we got higher and then later descended, there was only one thing we could focus on. We could only take each step in front of us. It didn’t matter in that moment who we were. We just had to keep going.

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Sometimes in the journey to finding self, we need to stop thinking about ourselves. Stop thinking about the stuff going on or the possibilities. We get to be another human in the hike of life and just take a step at a time.

 

 

31 Days: Finding Self | Moving PeacesThis post is a part of the Finding Self series for the 31 Days of blogging in October.
To see the all posts in this series, check out the Finding Self page.