You know how you can hear the same thing time and time again, and then all of a sudden it just blows your mind and changes everything? I’ve recently had that experience.
I’m realizing that for so long I have been viewing the world with this lens of error identification. It’s not a bad thing, necessarily, and can be helpful in many ways, but when it colors nearly every interaction that you have and arrests your ability to trust in God, yourself, and others, then it has ceased to serve its purpose.
I am coming to notice that I live my life in anticipation of where things will go wrong, finding problems to be solved, identifying weaknesses that need to be addressed, and getting unraveled that things always seem to be going wrong. This has me living in a constant state of low level anxiety, dread, frustration at myself and those around me, and an utter lack of joy.
Now I didn’t know I was doing this. It wasn’t an intentional choice, but gradually, it became the way I looked at life and was my way to interpret the world. I decided it was safer to protect myself by guarding against the worst case scenario in advance, rather than do what I used to and “naively trust” that things would work out for the best. You see, neither is correct and neither leads to joy. Expecting the worst is cynicism and ultimately a rejection of who God tells us He is and the plans He has for us..that all things work for our good if we trust Him. To naively trust, is not a form of trust at all, but ignorance and is not something worthy of praise. Trust takes grit, trust takes knowledge of the possible outcomes and a decision of the will to keep your gaze on the horizon of Hope.
This negative lens through which I was unwittingly choosing to view the world got rocked recently. For me, it happened through finding the Clifton Strengths Finder Assessment…God can work through anything! The main theme and philosophy behind this psychology is simply this: that everyone is born with certain innate skills and traits that are natural to them and allow them to succeed in the world when they use them well. It is not good or bad to have one trait or not have another, you simply are the way you are; you either have a knack for it or you don’t, which makes you valuable in certain areas and shows you also where it is to your benefit to depend on others.
A strange sense of neutrality washed over the areas of my life that I struggle in, but also the areas I knew were easier for me, but saw as weak and useless – my empathy, my love of endless learning, my values – and for the first time, I started to take pride in the things that made me ME.
Now I’m not saying that anyone with self-worth issues would have the same experience as I have had this week. I’m sure it has been the result of a combination of years of actions and prayers, but all of a sudden, in learning the ins and outs about Strengths and taking the test for myself, I had this massive moment of clarity where I Stopped Judging Myself for all the areas where I see myself fall short, stopped being jealous for others who excel in areas I wished I did and could finally see all these different abilities as neutral ground. I could see my own strongest traits as evidence of God’s intentional, unique fingerprint on my entire being, and rest assured that they were there on purpose…it gave me permission to be myself, as cheesy as that sounds, instead of who I thought I should be.
This is the change of view that I have experienced recently – the gift to acknowledge the reality of who I am, the serenity to accept who I am not, the ability to appreciate in others what I do not have, and the freedom not to see any of it as something that has been kept from me. This has given me the space to focus my energies on what I do well. I can rest in a posture of gratitude and acceptance and finally start to move forward with who I am made to be. I feel like I can finally take this huge exhale and just breathe!
I think the reason why life always seemed so hard to me was that deep down, I harbored this conviction that I was made weak, that I didn’t have the skills I needed to advance, and that I just didn’t have what it takes to live life well. I had absolutely no trust in myself. I tried so hard to be what I thought I should be, what I admired in other people, that I ultimately rejected who I was actually made to be and in doing so, I lost myself. So here we are. Today’s a new day, and I plan to live in the beauty of what is. I plan to revel in the joy of knowing that I am good, that my personality is not the result of happy accidents or poorly handled trauma, that I was made to be the way I am completely on purpose, and that I can find the most joy seeing life through this lens. I am so happy, so grateful.
Let’s get started!
4 thoughts on “The Beauty of What IS”
What a lovely blog!! 🙂